Notes on Appeasement

Slide 2 – Appeasement Appeasement characterises British Foreign Policy for all 20th Century e. g. modifying of treaty of Versailles. Appeasement now associated with weakness (dirty word) but in 1900s was seen as honourable. CATO – ‘guilty men’ – published by left wing journalists analysed why appeasement failed, the guilty men were seen as moral cowards… people supported this until the opening of the National Archives. WHO you are trying to appease is the problem. Doomed to fail from the start? Trying to appease the unappeasable?

Slide 4 – Anglo – German Act of revenge on part of previous warfare against Ethiopia Inferiority complex often shown by Italy as it had no Empire League put economic sanctions but did not shut the Suez Canal- showing they did not want to provoke Italy and Britain wants Italy as Ally against Hitler Therefore there is a need for Appeasement, Britain and France were put to shame, angered Mussolini and therefore joins Hitler in taking over Austria. Diplomatic allegiance that threatens Britain’s security due to disarmament. (Japan, Italy and Germany)

Collective security completely discredited – League plays no role at all in any of succeeding crises – everyone for themselves. Slide 5 – Re- Occupation of Rhineland Hitler sees world is distracted and takes the opportunity and invades Rhineland and re arms it. Gamble by Hitler – Army was not sent in just a few infantry. Britain wants him to get away with it. Public opinion – Pacifist against war v no interest in foreign affairs This was last chance to stop Hitler. Slide 6 – Spanish Civil War Representative of ideological struggle in Europe as whole: Communists and socialists vs.

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Wanted to take back land that was originally German But part of little entente, so makes a seperatist movement e. g. propaganda against each other Slide 13 – Appeasement If you don’t negotiate with Hitler? What do you do? League of Nations a ‘busted flush’ Any collective security via Empire? Empire a source of weakness, give commitments and responsibilities but not necessarily the strength to deal with those responsibility? Possibility of an alliance system against Germany? – potential of a front against Hitler, Poland hates Russia and Vice Versa and czechs, not easy to form.

Likliehood of provoking a war becomes increasingly more apparent Slide 14 – Defence Weaknesses Red. Britain’s defences 1934 – penny drops, DRC formed because thought that world is no longer a peaceful place. Specifically look at defence requirements – 15yrs of cuts left britain with very small army, air force not good, navy only thing that was useful. Not useful on mainland Europe. Slide 15 – Defence Weaknesses cont. Fear of German bombing was rife, need a strong air force. Even though not consistent but still at heart. 1938 rearmament really begins to take place

RAF slower than bombers they needed to intercept. Needed a modern defensive. 1935 – 1939 Britain manages to create a modern air defence system, RAF more effective now. Makes Appeasement seem logical Slide 16 – Economic weakness Economic Consequences of going into war, just emerging out of Great depression don’t want involvement in war for 2nd time in 20 yrs. Munitions are now very expensive, cost of rearmament begins to bite 40% of total govt expenditure- treasury had to borrow money, weakens the pound. Could Britain plunge back into depression? Appeasement looks like a good idea now!

Slide17 – European commitments Britain has too many commitments but not enough power to keep to them. External threats to the empire are possible so do not want to exhaust all resources on Germany. Internal threats within the Empire are also rife. All hostile to any European entanglements. Specific memory of disastorious consequences of involvement in Gallipole (Austrailia and New Zealand) Slide 18 – Absence of allies No real allies within Europe in 1930s Retreatment of USA – legal neutral and isolate Soviet Union? – Communism worse than Nazism.

Fundamentally unreliable – change in govt every 6 months. (politically unstable) shocked by consequences of ww1 not willing to go out on a limb against Hitler. Slide 19 – Domestic calculation Students of Oxford Union vote that they will NOT serve King and Country. Score points for more outrageous policy – score of political debate within UNI Some evidence of pacifism but not as strong as people believe. Housing led to socialists being elected and nearly unseating current Mayor. Chamberlain confident public not enthusiastic about War. In order to win war impetus for appeasement.

Slide 21- failure of appeasement Lebensraum – key German policy goes way beyond re taking german territory. Wants to create a german empire. Apeasement led to demand for more territory on behalf of Hitler? Kristallnacht! Horrified people, persecution of Jewish people of Germany made them feel guilty of betraying Jewish people. Slovak nationalist Seperatism – allowed Hitler to invade the remains of Czechoslovakia Slide 22- Abandonment of Hitler could not be trusted and was willing to use force when necessary! 1st time in peace time introduction of limited conscription (more spending? Announces that Britain would give cast Iron gurantees to Poland etc. guarantees security. But all efforts too little too late. Chamberlain still believes that Hitler would not have guts to risk a European war. Hitler expected a short campaign. Slide 23 – Franco Russian talks Spurred on by German Italian axis. Britain’s Lack of common sense. British Naval conservation goes to …… head of mission to be greeted by Soviets, wore medal for fighting against soviet union. Stalin has own agenda, wants russian troops in Poland, but neither can agree.

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