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

Why did Britain go to war in 1939?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did Britain go to war in 1939? In 1939, Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. There were of course many different reasons for this, both in the long term and in the short term. In the long term, The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the end of World War One had succeeded only in angering Germany, as it made her feel weak and powerless, in addition to economically ruining her with the expense of rearmament. This allowed the rise of Hitler and therefore Nazism in Germany as a solution to the problems, without which the Second World War would almost certainly have been avoided. Secondly, Britain had not been strong enough to prevent this rise of Hitler, or to prevent him taking over Europe. They had not prevented Hitler from breaking the Treaty, which in itself eventually led to War. Chamberlain's policy of Appeasement had failed dismally, only succeeding in allowing Hitler to think that he could do as he pleased with Europe. ...read more.

Middle

By contrast, the Americans faced no immediate threat from Germany, and also had no territorial or economic aims, therefore the USA was keen not for revenge, but to build a lasting system of International relations, which became known as the League of Nations. The British people wanted to punish the Germans, whilst Lloyd George wanted to destroy German Militarianism, but was cautious of driving Germany to Communism. The result was a Treaty consisting of large German territorial losses such as Alsace and Lorraine, and the German colonies. The Rhineland was de-militarised, and put under Allied occupation for 15 years, and reparations to the sum of �6,600 million were to be paid to the World War One victors. The treaty left Germany bankrupt and weak, as well as angry and disillusioned. Hitler used the Treaty to gain popularity throughout his rise to dictator by gradually disobeying it, breaking the terms much to the nations delight. ...read more.

Conclusion

At first it was believed that by appeasing Hitler, i.e. allowing him to have what he wanted, it would satisfy him without the need for war, however as time progressed it emerged that this was not the case. Hitler was not satiable, the more he was allowed, the more he wanted, and the more he believed he could get away with taking. The case for appeasement can be justified by the fact that the only other option was war, for which Britain was completely unprepared after the losses of the First World War. Chamberlain believed that Germany's grievances were legitimate despite the fact that he did not trust Hitler. At Munich, although he sacrificed the support of Czechoslovakia, by ceding areas of Czechoslovakia with majority Germans to Hitler, he avoided a war for which in 1938 Britain was unprepared and may very well have lost. In Austria, Chamberlain allowed an Anschluss, a joining between Germany and Austria, which was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. The Austrians welcomed Hitler, so Chamberlain was reluctant to interfere. Coupled with this, Britain was too weak to interfere. ...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 Germany 1918-1939 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 Germany 1918-1939 essays

  1. Why did Europe go to war in 1939

    Germany had to admit full responsibility for starting the war. Germany, as she was responsible for starting the war, was therefore responsible for all the war damage caused by the First World War. Therefore, she had to pay reparations, the bulk of which would go to France and Belgium to

  2. Why did Britain go to war over Poland in September 1939?

    Also if Hitler got his way this time over Poland, he though this would have been a green light for him to take the rest of east Europe. However when Britain declared war he was astonished and furious that his plan hadn't worked.

  1. Why had international Peace Collapsed by 1939?

    The Pact helped Stalin because he thought it would make Hitler happy. He did not believe Hitler would keep his word but he hoped for time to build up forces against an attack he knew would come. The Pact would help Hitler because it cleared the way for Hitler's invasion of Poland.

  2. Why Did Britain Go To War Over Poland?

    Now there was the threat of Germany attacking from the West and the Russians from the East, which would leave Poland to be caught in the middle. On the 24th August 1939, the Nazi-Soviet Pact or Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed and this meant that Germany would only have to fight

  1. The treaty of Versailles was signed between Britain, France and USA. Lloyd-George, Clemencau and ...

    'living-space.'6 In 1948 Winston Churchill published the first volume of his Second World War memoirs, The Gathering Storm. In which he endorsed the judgements made by the authors of Guilty Men - 'there was never a war more easy to stop;' it was an 'unnecessary war' brought about by the failure to stop Hitler rearming.

  2. Why Did War Break-Out in Europein 1939?

    Hitler wrote a book entitled 'Mein Kampf' (My Struggle) in which he fully stated his feelings towards Germany at present, and his future plans if the Nazis ever gained power in Germany -"We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations and abolition of the peace treaty of Versailles" - Mein Kampf, 1923-1924.

  1. Why did Britain go to war in 1940?

    In my opinion, the Second World War would not have happened if the league had made this civilised agreement with Germany, instead of taking away their rich parts of land, wealth and dignity. If these three things were taken away from any country I expect that eventually they will want

  2. Why had international peace collapsed by 1939?

    refused to do so. China appealed to the league for help; however, Japan claimed that it was acting in self-defence and not as an aggressor, since China was in a state of such disorder that Japan had to resort to militarism to settle this 'local' dispute.

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