Appeasement Essay Plan

Appeasement Essay

" Appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II." To what extent do you agree with the statement? Explain you answer.

The First World War ended in an Allied victory, but the economies of Britain and France were shattered. In order to rebuild their economies, they had to disarm rapidly. The First World War had also given rise to strong anti-war sentiments, especially in Britain and France. Germany, who was blamed entirely for the outbreak of the First World War, received harsh reparations and was forced to sign the unfair Treaty of Versailles, which made Germany lose territory, as well as limited her armaments. This sparked resentment in the Germans who felt injustice that the war was entirely blamed on them which was prominently evident in Adolf Hitler who rose to power as Fuhrer of Germany in 1933. The highly nationalistic Nazi leader came into power a goal: to make secure and to preserve the racial community and to enlarge it. He hated the Versailles settlement and wanted to destroy it, hence fore building up the army and recovering lost territories to preserve German race. Therefore the in contrast to the Allies, Germany under Adolf Hitler was aggressive and influenced by revisionism. In attempt to preserve peace and not start a war with Germany, Britain and France, the two great powers gave in to Germany instead of standing against the aggressive Hitler. Appeasement is a term often applied to the overly acquiescent foreign policy practiced by Neville Chamberlain when dealing with Hitler's Nazi regime. However, instead of preserving peace that Britain and France desperately wanted, it ironically allowed Hitler who did not have concrete plans on how to achieve his goals, to exploit their weakness and used situations in his advantage, which then resulted in the Second World War. While some may agree to this stand, others argue that Hitler intended a major war right from the beginning as seen from his book Mein Kampf and later on plans verbalized at the Hossbach conference. His aggression threatened to destroy the balance of power, which made the Second World War inevitable, whereby appeasement cannot be blamed as the creation of opportunity to start a war except that it made things easier for Hitler. However, the sources which supports the latter are not fully reliable and consistent, showing evidences that Hitler had no cut and dry views on how he was going to proceed but instead merely reacted to situations that occur. Therefore, I agree to the statement that appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II.

Indeed, appeasement created the opportunity for Hitler to start World War II; the opportunistic Hitler received encouragement from the passive Britain and France....

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Appeasement of Germany

After seizing power in Germany, Hitler set in place an ambitious foreign policy that aimed to undo the effects of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler wanted to:
  • re-take control of the territories that it had lost at Versailles, such as the Rhineland
  • re-arm its military forces - something forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles
  • expand its borders to provide Lebensraum (living space) for its population
  • unite all the German-speaking people of Europe under the control of Nazi Germany

Hitler was prepared to gamble that the other European powers would be reluctant to go to war to stop him.

What was appeasement?

After 10 million deaths in the First World War, many countries were determined to prevent any future conflict. In the 1920s the League of Nations tried to follow the idea of collective security: the idea that countries acting together could discourage aggression and, if necessary, act together to stop aggressors. This was not very successful as it proved hard for all the countries in the League to agree on a common policy. As a result a second idea was considered.

Appeasement was a policy adopted by Britain during the 1930s. This policy developed from the growing belief that some countries, especially Germany, had been unfairly treated in the peace settlement of 1918-1919. When they began to demand aggressively that some terms in the Versailles treaty be scrapped, some people argued that this was only right. If their grievances could be settled by negotiation, it would avoid the need for the aggression. Once they were "appeased" in this way, they would act in the same way as others in foreign affairs. This policy was used in the 1930s to try to prevent both Italy and Germany from going to war to achieve their respective objectives.

Some people, at the time and since, have described Appeasement as a policy of cowardice, but this is much too simple. The leaders who followed the policy believed they were overcoming real grievances and that it would help to create a settled, peaceful Europe as the causes of aggression were removed. They may have been wrong, but that does not mean that they were cowards.

Opponents of appeasement

Although the vast majority of British people agreed with the government and its policy of appeasement, there were some individuals who disagreed.

One of those individuals was Winston Churchill. Churchill believed that Hitler could not be dealt with because his aims and objectives were not rational. As such, no amount of appeasement would satisfy the man - he would always want more.

Churchill was not alone in voicing concern. British Communists and those on the left wing of the Labour Party were alarmed at German militarization and aggression and demanded action against Hitler.

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