• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Guilty men" - how responsible were Chamberlain et.al for World War Two?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Guilty men Neville Chamberlain was 68 years old when he succeeded Baldwin as PM on 28th May 1937. It was a post for which he would never fight a general election. As he was being groomed as future PM, he became more critical of policy decisions, sure that he could do better on foreign matters, and his diary recorded a constant lament. He felt that Hitler was the 'bully of Europe', and decided to hope for the best, and plan for the worst. Chamberlain embarked on a policy of deterrence and appeasement, searching for 'decency even in dictators'. Chamberlain saw war as the ultimate absurdity, and he desired peace at all costs. However, he believed in the principle of the 'vital cause', one which if you went to war for, and won you could say 'that cause is safe'. Chamberlain's view that Britain was 'a very rich and a very vulnerable empire' was supported by the idea that Europe was divided between two ideologies. ...read more.

Middle

Chamberlain's honeymoon period was spent chasing indifferent Germans and Italians, and despite putting out numerous feelers, very little emerged from it. Relations between the foreign office and Chamberlain were not the best, Chamberlain branding them as having 'no imagination and no courage'. He wanted to try and forge good relations with Mussolini in order to provide a buffer against Germany, even though if he could get Germany on side, he would have no need to entertain Mussolini. Chamberlain's opening finally came in Autumn 1937, after he had admitted 'The Germans and Italians are as exasperating as they can be'. The opening was an invitation to Berchtesgaden. This went ahead and included meetings with Hitler and other senior Nazis, and Chamberlain felt it had been 'a great success'. He then made one of his many inaccurate statements of faith, believing Hitler and Goering when they claimed to have no desire for war. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also felt that 'our resources will be more profitably employed in the air, and on the sea, than in building up great armies'. Chamberlain's other priorities were to maintain fiscal stability, provide defensive forces at home and in the empire, and to oppose the construction of a great 1914 style army. The general consensus was to invest in the most technologically advanced force, which for a long time was the navy, but now it was the air force, and it was decided to accelerate fighter production, a decision that would pay off during the war. Chamberlain was quoted at times as saying 'production has begun in earnest' and 'the almost terrifying power that Britain is building up has a sobering effect on the opinion of the world'. 'Cato' however believed that Hitler was anything but terrified. Chamberlain's greatest priority was to neutralise the German threat, but the road to that was closed, and so Chamberlain decided to work on agreements with Italy and France. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Hitlers Germany

    German policies toward the Jews were standard in world history because societies always tend toward biological ethnic homogeneity and are therefore justified in removing alien forces. In this view, ethnic cleansing is a necessary measure in order to maintain public health and hygiene.

  2. Vietnam war

    troop morale and discipline (which provided additional impetus to U.S. troop withdrawals), and promoted congressional legislation that severed U.S. funds for the war. Rise to power of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia + some background of Cambodia The Geneva Accords of 1954 gave King Sihanouk (after his abdication in 1955, Prince Sihanouk)

  1. Explain the role of Czechoslovakia in the appeasement story.

    But the problem was that he was not trained in foreign policy and he had the misfortune to deal with one of the most ruthless dictators ever. His view was that if you can discuss the problem you will be able to come to an agreement.

  2. To What Extent Was a War Between Nazism and Bolshevism Inevitable?

    on foreign policy following the dearth of interest from Britain after the Naval Pact of 1935, "Hitler had fixed ideas in the sphere of foreign policy...above all conquest of the soviet union". Hitler's personal war was against the Jew, Rosenburg had convinced him of the Jew's complete responsibility for Marxism,

  1. To what extent does Chamberlain deserve the title of one of the Guilty Men?

    Every time that Hitler got away with acts of aggression, he became surer that Britain and France would never act upon him. There is evidence that Hitler was unsure whether marching his soldiers into the Rhineland was the right idea as he said that if they were challenged in any

  2. To What Extent did Commandos contribute to final victory in World War Two

    It is important to remember that the aims and reactions to Commandos were different depending from which point of view one adopted. While the newly formed Army Press Unit was satisfied because they were able to exploit the idea of the 'super soldier' hitting back at the Germans, Winston Churchill

  1. Did the policy of appeasement go to any great lengths toward stopping the outbreak ...

    by the fact that Britain and France were to preoccupied with the Abyssinian crisis to pay much attention to his actions, the remilitarisation also took place on a Saturday which meant limited resistance. Hitler Reckoned that by the time those who were in a position to take any action were back at work it would all be over.

  2. "The Wannsee Conference was entirely responsible for the Holocaust" How valid is this assessment ...

    the Ghettos and extermination camps already housed hundreds of thousands of ?undesirables?, making the establishments extremely over-crowded, especially the Ghettos in particular. Huge numbers of people were being moved in order to suit the needs of the Nazi party. This again, is an important factor in the history of the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work