Was the Appeasement Policy the Primary Cause of Wwii?

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Was the Second World War primarily caused by the appeasement policy?

The appeasement policy is adopted first by the Britain and then by France to avoid war with the aggressors, namely Germany, Italy and Japan during the interwar period in 1930s. The policy is to give way and fulfill the aggressors’ demands as much as possible, like what historian Paul Kennedy defines: the appeasement is “a policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying the grievance through international negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody and possibly dangerous.”[1] In my opinion, the appeasement policy is not a primary cause of the Second World War, it can only be considered as a catalyst of the outbreak of war instead of a root cause. As comparing with other factors that leads to war like the rise of totalitarianism which is the Nazi party and the Fascist Party, the Great Depression and the failure of collective security that undermined world peace in the long period of late 1920s to 1930s, the appeasement policy is rather an immediate cause that sparkled off the outbreak of WWII.

On one hand, the appeasement policy indeed caused the outbreak of WWII by encouraging the growth of aggressors, which increased the possibility of war. For example, regarding the expansion of Fascist Italy, after the Abyssinian crisis in 1935, there was the Hoare-Laval pact which appeased Italy by giving it two-thirds of Abyssinia. This encouraged the desire for expansion of Italy. In 1934, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations, and launched its plan of aggression to the fullest by breaking free from the control of the League.

Another example to illustrate how the appeasement policy encouraged the growth of the aggressor was that of the Nazi Germany. The Italian success of annexing Abyssinia set an example for Hitler to carry out his expansion plans[2] and then after every territorial acquisition of



Bibliography: 1) Alan Farmer (2002), An introduction to Modern European History, 1890 – 1990, Hodder education 2) Brian Mimmack, Eunic Price, Daniela Senes (2009), History a comprehensive guide to paper 1, the Second World War, Pearson 6) Kennedy, Paul M. (1983). Strategy and Diplomacy, 1870-1945: Eight Studies. London: George Allen & Unwin ----------------------- [1] Kennedy, Paul M. (1983). Strategy and Diplomacy, 1870-1945 P. 23: Eight Studies. London: George Allen & Unwin [2] Norman Lowe (1988), Mastering modern world history P [3] Norman Lowe (1988), Mastering modern world history P.270, Macmillan Education Ltd 1988 [4] Norman Lowe (1988), Mastering modern world history P.271-272, Macmillan Education Ltd 1988 [5] Norman Lowe (1988), Mastering modern world history P.271, Macmillan Education Ltd 1988 [6] Alan Farmer (2002), An introduction to Modern European History, 1890 – 1990 p.212, Hodder education [7] Alan Farmer (2002), An introduction to Modern European History, 1890 – 1990 p.214, Hodder education [8] Norman Lowe (1988), Mastering modern world history P.269, Macmillan Education Ltd 1988

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