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To what extent was appeasement the most appropriate policy for the 1930's?

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Introduction

To what extent was appeasement the most appropriate policy for the 1930's? After the First World War most countries were determined to avoid any further conflicts and were willing to do anything. From this, the idea of collective security was formed and the League of Nations was set up including the countries who did not want war. However, the rise of Fascism showed the weakness of the League, so instead a new policy was formed. The idea of appeasement was that to avoid war Fascism powers must be pacified. This policy was mainly established out of fear of war and the weakness of the British army as it was thought that appeasement could buy time to re-arm. This essay will assess the reasons behind appeasement to ascertain whether it was the most appropriate policy at this time, or if in practice, was only encouraging Hitler to make further demands. ...read more.

Middle

Instead a new policy was to form. The failure of collective security was one of the main reasons for the development of appeasement. Appeasement was defined by Professor Keith Robbins as "a disposition to avoid conflict by judicious concession and negotiation". He also pointed out that the difficulty lay in deciding when concessions were well-judged and reasonable and what these concessions should be. The assumptions behind Hitler were that he was a reasonable man and that his demands had limits, but it was soon discovered that was not the case. The general feeling about the Treaty of Versailles from the British public was that it had been too severe, and because of this, allowances had started to be made. When Hitler started to make demands on the Rhineland, the Anschluss and Sudetenland, Britain was more than happy to accommodate this. ...read more.

Conclusion

This fear was strong as the horrors of the war were still fresh in everybody's mind and was shown by support of the Peace Pledge Union and other such similar organisations. As this anti-war feeling was so strong, the government thought it unwise to declare war on the Fascist powers and so resorted to appeasement. At this time Britain felt that Communism was a bigger threat than Hitler and Germany. In negotiations with Hitler in 1938, Chamberlain clearly showed that he distrusted Russia and felt that Germany could be "a strong bulwark against the spread of Bolshevism". Chamberlain liked Germany being in the way of Russia and was not willing to remove that obstacle. When war seemed imminent, Chamberlain appealed to the British Empire for help, only to find that it was reluctant to offer any kind of assistance. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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