Appeasement Essay Research Paper At the end
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Appeasement Essay, Research Paper At the end of The First World War, Europe was in economic, political and social peril. Many people believed that the War had been unnecessary. Thousands of families had lost husbands, fathers or sons and the war seemed more of a loss than a gain. Following the war, appeasement, the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, became popular amongst nations and there were many reasons why the policy could be justified. This policy, however, was stretched to it’s limits until countries, such as Great Britain, were giving into the belligerent demands of Germany in order to avoid a substantial clash. Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany through the 1930’s, got what he wanted by way of this policy. Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, put appeasement into full force when he came into power in May 1937. This policy, consequently, contributed profoundly to the outbreak of the Second World War. Following World War I, Britain felt that it was crucial to avoid war at almost any cost. She was unprepared economically and militarily. The American stock market crash in October 1929 had caused foreign trade to decrease and unemployment to increase rapidly. Overproduction had reduced product demand and traditional industries and business practices were going out of style and were being surpassed by other more efficient ways of production. The value of the British pound had also been decreasing since the beginning of the 1930’s. As a result, the British Minister of National Defence told Chamberlain that Britain could not afford to go to war or get involved in a military conflict because Britain did not have the resources to provide and execute a full scale offense or defence. The politicians of the time felt that the longer that they avoided aggression the more time they would have to gain strength in case a conflict became unavoidable. The British Battle fleet and other military armaments had been reduced significantly, without public protest, because of a developing ideology that a war would not be fought within the next ten years. Britain was also prepared to give in to the demands of Germany and Hitler because the country feared the spreading threat of Communism. Nazism acted as a shield against Communism. Prime Minister Chamberlain was more afraid of Communist Russia than he was of Nazi Germany and Hitler. He also hoped that Nazism and Communism would balance each other and hoped that there would not be a conflict between the two ideologies. A strong pacifist movement had also swung through Britain in the 1930’s. In 1933, an influential group known as the Oxford Union voted not to fight for Britain because the members believed that violence was not an answer. The Labour Party, which tended to represent the middle class, was also predominantly pacifist because of the massive losses from the working classes during World War I. Britain and the allied forces had also been helped greatly by the United States of America in World War I. The United States had, however, returned to a policy of isolationism, and Britain felt unsure of it’s ability to win a conflict knowing that the USA would not volunteer it’s services should another European War start. By resorting to appeasement as a political alternative to conflict, Britain let Germany break the Treaty of Versailles. Germany took advantage of the policy by annexing Austria in March 1938. Chamberlain accepted the German Anschluss because he believed in uniting German people in adjacent lands. Chamberlain feared war and was very reluctant to show any disagreement or challenge to the aggression of Hitler. When Germany officially annexed Austria, a direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Britain merely uttered feeble protests. This revealed a weakness in the British to the Germans.