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

Was appeasement the only option open to Britain in 1938-1939?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was appeasement the only option open to Britain in 1938-1939? In answering the question of whether appeasement was the only option open to Britain in 1938-1939 we must consider that the policy could have taken a number of routes and that the path chosen by Chamberlain was an extreme of a policy which had massive backing, both from the public and his fellow MPs and Lords. It was widely felt that the treaty of Versailles had been unreasonably harsh on Germany and was of no advantage to the other European states and therefore was open to reform. The isolationism of the USA from European affairs was an important factor in the nature of the appeasement policy as, with the unwillingness of Britain to work with Communist Russia, this lead to a policy which although reasonable in its approach, essentially became less and less so as Hitler's demands became harder to sympathise with. It has often been suggested that without a clear intention to back up their concessions, the great powers of Europe were only increasing the "appetite of the tiger" with their concessions to the Nazi government. This lack of co-operation with Russia was the source of much discontent in the houses as recorded in Harold Nicolson's diary "Winston says (and we all agree) ...read more.

Middle

This fear again seemed to confirm the British politicians belief that appeasement was the only option. There was also a common belief that appeasement would allow the British army to re-arm itself against the might of the German army so that when the unavoidable did happen Britain would be in a better place to defend itself. Indeed polls from 1938-1939 show almost half the British public supporting the policy for exactly this reason, although again this was a misconception, as in Sept 1938 the German air strength numbered 2 847 with 1 6692 immediate reserves and France and Britain had between them 3 436 with 1 642 immediate reserves. Had the British public and politicians known this, would they have preferred a more assertive foreign policy? By Sept 1939 however Germany had increased its force to 3 609 first-line strength aircraft and 2 893 immediate reserves while Britain and France had, between them, 3 703 first-line strength and 1 600 immediate reserves, with much of its force out dated 3 800 out dated reserves. This would obviously lead to the conclusion that Britain was in a better position to fight Germany in 1938 than in '39, something contradictory to public opinion of the time. Because of this neither the British nor French governments made any real attempt to threaten Hitler with the consequences of non-compliance and he was therefore able to use their appeasement as a means of continuing his path to European dominance. ...read more.

Conclusion

In both cases the League failed to take appropriate action, only calling for a "moral sanction" against Japan for its invasion of Manchuria. Although it did impose economic sanctions against Italy after it's invasion of Abyssinia including arms sales, it also imposed arms bans against Abyssinia weakening it severely. In 1935 an agreement was then signed allowing Mussolini most of Abyssinia. Those in favour of the policy of appeasement cited the inactivity of the League in dealing with these disputes as clear signals that Britain would have to solve the problems of the Nazi state through its own diplomatic means. The league was most harshly effected by it's lack of a coalition army to back up its mandates and without the force of the Americans behind them both Mussolini and Hitler effectively chose to ignore them. In light of this it would appear that by 1938 Appeasement really was the only option in the face of a crippling World War to protect a state and people of whom the British policy makers appeared to care little. Had there not been a massive public support for the avoidance of war and had some politicians not actually admired Hitler for his ruthless destruction of the "Red menace" then perhaps Britain would have carried out this policy with a different manner but as it was they seemed, in general, more than happy to give Hitler what he wanted, when he wanted, a fatal mistake if ever there was one. ...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. Assess the view that the failures of the Congress of Vienna outweighed the successes.

    absence of a general war, there was still plenty of fighting as wars broke out in Spain, Italy and Greece during this period, involving the intervention of France Austria and Russia, and ultimately Britain and Turkey.32 Moreover, many of the terms of the Vienna Settlement were short lived.

  2. How far were the policies of Chamberlain in facing the challenges from Nazi Germany ...

    Here, Chamberlain appeased Hitler, and in doing so theoretically gained an extra year to build up the British military forces. Chamberlain also believed that Munich wasn't reason enough to fight; in a radio broadcast addressed to the nation on the evening of Tuesday 27 September, Chamberlain spoke of Czechoslovakia: "How

  1. Why was the league so ineffective in dealing with the Abyssinian Crisis?

    Although both Italy and Abyssinia were supposed to do as the league told them to do, if Italy didn't agree with the leagues decision then they weren't going to listen to it as the Italian leader Mussolini was quite prepared to go to war with Abyssinia.

  2. Hitlers Germany

    A ripple went through the crowds. Around the speaker's platform one could see hands raised in the Hitler salute. A speaker opened the meeting, . . . A second speaker welcomed Hitler and made way for the man who had drawn 120,000 people of all classes and ages.

  1. "Mussolini was an all powerful dictator" - How accurate is this statement?

    control over people's whereabouts as internal migration had to be approved Forced any political opponents not exile, or sent Fascist agents to assassinate them, e.g. Rosselli brothers King signed nearly all decrees, even if eh didn't agree with them Mussolini ruled by decree, didn't need support of anybody else Was

  2. Even after the German occupation of Prague in March 1939, Neville Chamberlain was reluctant ...

    It seemed that based upon the context of Versailles, appeasement in Chamberlain?s opinion was a logical solution. Source 7 also supports this view by stating that even after Hitler?s invasion of Prague, Chamberlain remained deluded by him and still held the belief that it was not his aggression that motivated

  1. Was the Munich Settlement a disaster for Britain in 1938?

    the sheer amount that was taken from Czech and later used to reinforce the German army ? a third of Germany?s modern tanks used in the invasion of France in 1940 came from Czechoslovakia. Along with this, the Skoda Works ?the second most important arsenal in central Europe? was now

  2. Why had Internatioanl Peace Collapsed by 1939?

    in one country.[6] Also many Austrians supported this idea of a union with Germany, as their country was economically weak, while Germany was strong.[7] In 1936 Hitler began his policy of reclaiming lost German territory, this policy became known as Appeasement.

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