To what extent was the policy of appeasement justified?

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  • Publicado : 8 de noviembre de 2011
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In the year 1935, Britain and Germany signed a naval agreement in which Germany’s naval forces were allowed to be increased up to a 35% of that of the British navy’s size. After this event, during the following 3 years, Britain and France followed a policy in which the German Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, was granted what he demanded for his country, in order to satisfy Hitler’s goal of abolishing theterms of the Treaty of Versailles against Germany, expanding German territory and defeating Communism in Russia, trying to prevent a Second World War. This policy was called the Appeasement. Neville Chamberlain, who became British Prime Minister in 1937, is the politician who was the main supporter of the Appeasement policy. The reasons why such people supported the policy of Appeasement in thesecond half of the 1930’s, plus the reasons why most of the French and British public opinion disagreed towards implementing the policy of appeasement will be analyzed to determine to what extent was the policy of Appeasement was justified during the 1930’s.
Firstly, one of the main reasons that appeasement was supported and thus justified as a correct policy, was that many people throughout Europe,especially Britain and France, wanted to avoid another World War at all costs, as the death and destruction caused by the First World War was still remembered by vast numbers of people both in Britain and France, and therefore, many people and politicians, including Neville Chamberlain were determined to prevent an equal or worse conflict through appeasement. Another point, which could havejustified utilizing appeasement, was that many British people thought that Germany deserved a fair deal towards the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. They thought that it was Germany’s and Hitler’s right to reclaim some of the land lost by Germany in 1919, such as the Polish corridor to give Poland access to the sea, which separated German main territory in half, leaving the German territory ofEast Prussia apart from western German territory; or Anchluss with Austria in early 1938, which prevented German annexation with German speaking people in Austria, or the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, in which mostly all of the population in this area were German speaking peoples. Treating Germany fairly, regarding the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, was believed to cause Hitler stopthreatening European countries, and most important of all avoiding a Second World War. Another factor that justified appeasement as the right policy against the outbreak of war was that Britain’s army needed time to prepare its armed forces, if a war was to occur. British Generals advised Chamberlain that if war was inevitable, appeasement would be the perfect way to buy time for British armed forces toprepare and rearm. Between 1938 and 1939 Britain spent a massive amount of money on armaments, especially on new warfare technology, while Hitler was being granted Anchluss with Austria and Czechoslovakian Sudetenland annexation. Military rearmament, aircraft production and newest technology investments for the British army could be achieved by Appeasement, but also preparation of the Britishpopulation for a possible war. This meant gaining the support from British people towards a war. In 1938 British people were not ready to fight a war over Czechoslovakia, as they thought of it as a ‘far away’ country and not worthy of defending it, hence the Munich Agreement of 1938, in which it was agreed to grant Hitler the Sudetenland, without any opposition from France or Britain. Other reasonsas to why appeasement could be justified, from British point of view, was that a strong and influential Germany would be a great defence against communist expansion from Russia towards western Europe, and Britain’s concerns being set closer into Bolshevism and the dangers it would pose towards Britain’s government caused Britain to keep Hitler satisfied to have him as an ally against a possible...
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