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

To what extent did British public opinion deter British Governments from standing up to Hitler and Mussolini in the years 1933-37?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent did British public opinion deter British Governments from standing up to Hitler and Mussolini in the years 1933-37? In the years 1933-37 both Germany and Italy became more aggressive in their foreign policy. Hitler, who came to power in Germany 1933, was set on destroying the Treaty of Versailles; this was clear from passages of his book 'Mein Kampf' and in October 1933 Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and then from the League. Hitler then went on to announce the reintroduction of conscription in March 1935 and she soon had an army of 500,000 and an air force, both of which were forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. Italy was also in a similar position; In October 1935 Italy invaded Abyssinia. In this period we see Britain take up the policy of appeasement; maintaining the peace by making concessions to the aggressors. All of the British Governments at this time opted for appeasement. In their Manifestos at the General Election they all state the importance of the League and all comment that the League and the use of collective security should be used to deal with any future problems. British opinion had a large impact on the policies taken up by the British Governments, we can see from events such as the East Fulham by-election of October 1933 where a Conservative ...read more.


However these were not the only factors affecting the British Governments decision to uptake a policy of appeasement. The military were weak; the 10-year rule established in August 1919 that stated that defence spending would be based on the prediction that there wouldn't be another war for 10 years had led to a progressive reduction in defence spending. The Treasury had also advised that a large increase in defence spending would divert an already insufficient supply of skilled industrial workers into the armaments industry, damage the revival of important export and consumer industries and increase inflation. They suggested that to maintain a stable domestic economy defence spending would be set on specific priorities. Therefore the suggestions made by the Treasury supported the policy of appeasement. As well as not being able to increase their defences it was also found that the defence they currently had was not adequate; the British Government commissioned a secret report on the British National defence and found that the Royal Navy was incapable of defending the Empire and British trade, the Army was too small and poorly equipped to help France against a German attack and that the Royal Air Force had few bombers or fighter planes and inadequate air defence systems. ...read more.


This meant that Britain was essentially on her own and it was clear her defences on their own could not stop Germany and Italy. In conclusion although we can see that public opinion did have an influence on the British Government's decision to appease Germany and Italy it is difficult to assess how much influence it had as it was difficult to understand the public's opinion. At this time as public polls were only just starting during the 1930's and those which were held show that the public opinion wasn't in favour of appeasement, it was actually in support of dealing with issues through collective security and the League of Nations. We also see public opinion changing from March 1939 when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia as the majority of the British public now supported the creation of a military alliance between Britain, France and the USSR to stop Germany. Therefore I feel that public opinion was only a small factor which deterred British Governments from standing up to Hitler and Mussolini in the years 1933-1937. I feel a more influential issue was the weakness of the military as this produced doubt as to whether we could stand up to Germany and Italy. No Government would take their country into War if they felt they could not win and therefore we had little alternative but to appease Germany if we wanted to avoid conflict. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 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 GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Explain the Main Factors Which Led British Governments to Follow a Policy of Appeasement ...

    The poor state of Britain's armed forces influenced the adoption of policy of appeasement. France, Britain's only firm ally in the 1930s, suffered social and economic problems. On the days that Germany remilitarised the Rhineland in 1936, France was without a government and the French economy was much slower to recover than most other European powers.

  2. The hitler years was it all bad

    The government made money available to fund public work projects so that the young men could improve Germany by building a network of motorways (autobahns), railways, roads and also public building such as the Reich Chancellery and also the stadium which held the 1936 Olympic Games.

  1. "Was the treaty of Versailles fair?"

    Germany however had not been invited and was not told about the conference. Germany had not been invited to the conference because England and France wanted to blame someone for the war, i.e. Germany. So if Germany was not there they could not defend themselves against the British and the

  2. How significant was the Night of the Long Knives in enabling Hitler to consolidate ...

    and Georgi Dimitrov (of the Soviet Comintern) were charged. Because of this, Hitler was able to claim that a communist revolution was imminent, and President Hindenburg (who was going senile) granted Hitler emergency powers. These were of vast importance in Hitler's rise to total power. In the short term, the arrest of the Communist leaders and the

  1. "A study of British foreign policy in the 1920's suggests that British governments increasingly ...

    Also in the treaty the allies agreed that German military power should be severely reduced. Germany was to have no heavy artillery, tanks or aeroplanes and her army was limited to 100,000 men. She was to have no capital ships or submarines, which was one of Britain's main priorities (no navy).

  2. Free essay

    To what extent did repression play as a role in consolidating Mussolini

    A very effective use of propaganda was Mussolini's cult of personality, which was intended to build popular support for the 'Duce' and prevent potential opposition from raising by stressing his superhuman talents. As A.J.P Tailor said "there was not a sport he did not excel at".

  1. Explain the Main Factors Which Led British Governments to Follow a Policy Of

    Britain even abandoned free trade and adopted protective tariffs throughout the British Empire. As the economic problems grew, so did Britain chance of going to war with enemy countries i.e.

  2. Identify and discuss cases for and against conscription in Australia in the period 1916-1918?

    For example if we sent an extra 5000 men because of conscription the enemy would send 10000 then we would send 15000 and it would keep escalating from there until we both ran out of men. It can be seen that if we introduced conscription we would be extending the

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