Was Appeasement the right policy for Britain in 1938?
Jeremy Matthew [NO] - I think Appeasement policy was not the right policy that Britain had taken in 1938. Britain and France, along with the support from other nations, would have been able to be enough of a formidable force to deter Germany from taking further aggressive actions had they taken a stand and made it apparent that they do not condone such actions.
You have a point, but they would not have been able to know that they can overpower Germany since Hitler was already in the process of his aggressive Expansionist Policy. Another point is that the British did not want to go to war, therefore if Britain had went to war, they would not receive much backing from the people.
While it is true that they had no idea whether or not they could overcome Hitler, they still could have been more convicted in their stance instead of constantly bending to his will. They need not go to war, they need only make their presence more evident. Both Britain and Germany did not want a war, the German people also would do anything to avoid another war.
A credible network of alliances might have ensured a cheaper and quicker victory over Hitler, had war come. On the other hand, what would have been happened if this only deterred Hitler? Would a Europe divided among democrats, fascists, and communists, and possessing jet aircrafts, nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles, be more inviting than that one that emerged after 1945?
Even if the German forces were very strong, had Britain stood by Czechoslovakia, which had one of the best armies in the world at that time, they had a big chance of defeating Germany. Had they realised that they needed more men, Britain would be able to turn to France for support as France supported Britain. Also, if there had been no appeasement policy and Britain had declared war on Germany earlier, Hitler would have a lot lesser support for his war.
Also, if the British had not adopted a policy of appeasement, Hitler would either have backed down or begun the war with much less support from his people. In this circumstance, if the British had also put in more effort to convince the French to resist the Nazi regime, Hitler would not have prevailed. Even if they went to war, the war would have ended much earlier and the British might not have suffered such drastic losses.
Appeasement was not necessary in the first place, as Britain could challenge Hitler immediately at that time and Hitler will be forced to back down because he has to keep his promise of not starting a war that early, or he will start a war with far less support behind him, and Britain could have easily won.
I disagreee. Appeasement was the right policy. Appeasement gave the British more time to rearm their embarrassingly unprepared military for the future onslaught of the German Attack. While many would say that the British and French could have seized the moment and stood firm during the Czechosovakia crisis, one forgets the fact that both the French and British were VERY unprepared for war. This is evident during the German invasion of Poland, when the British and French did declare war on Germany, they took 7 months to actually mobilise and conduct military operations against the Germans, and even that was effortlessly decisively defeated by the Germans. Thus, appeasement was the right policy, for it gave time for the British to rearm against a superior German military, whereas declaring war on Germany to defend Czechoslovakian Honour would have resulted in disaster.
In my opinion, appeasement was the right policy for Britain in 1938.
In 1938, Britain was still recovering from WWI after losing many soldiers and the military was weak. Without appeasement, Germany would have been able to start a war, leaving Britain to be defenseless. Therefore, appeasement would allow Britain to buy time and strengthen her defenses.
Another reason is that the British were low on morale and did not want to go to war. With appeasement, time can be bought and it would have shown the people that the government had tried many methods to prevent the war from happening. Therefore, the British would be more willing to fight for their country and help out during the war.
I would like to agree with your opinion, however I would like to point out that you did not include one thing.
It is exactly because of Chamberlain's appeasement policy that Germany grew stronger and caused the amount of damage it did during World War II. An example is the surrender of Sudetenland (and eventually Czechoslovakia) to Germany, and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. This area gave Germany many modern weapons stored there and also many Germans who would join the army, contributing even more to the rearmament of Germany. As someone mentioned, even at the end appeasement was a failure as it ended up with war.
However, due to appeasement, the citizens did get more prepared for war. They knew that they had tried everything to stop war and the only thing left was to fight, which united the country to fight and defend the nation. The extra 6 months provided because of the appeasement policy allowed not just Britain but other Allied countries to prepare for war. The overall effect of the appeasement policy would be that they would fare better in the war.
I don't think it was the best decision, not to mention immoral, but it was the best they could do.
Firstly, and this isn't part of my argument, they threw Poland and Czechoslovakia to the dogs, which was a dick move.
Now, appeasement of Germany was a good thing for Britain and France because it allowed them to start rearming after their dearming after the Great War (WWI). However, I'm fairly sure that if they bluffed they could gain the same amount of time, if not more, to rearm. If the Brits used the inflatable tanks and boats they're so fond of early on, they could lie through their teeth to Germany to keep them at bay long enough to rearm. Keep the bluff up as long as possible, per se. I think that would've worked long enough.
Not to mention reconnaissance against the British would be risky, as the Spitfire was superior to the Messerschmitt-109, and if caught could bring Britain into Hitler's plan too early for the Blitzkrieg. There's a reason Hitler went over most of Europe before taking France, thus forcing Britains hand.
At least that's what I believe could've worked if my memory of the pre-war is correct.
I know hindsight is 20 20, and also that the lesson from history is appeasement didn't work in that case, and I haven't read anything recently on this to have a fresh perspective. But, I completely understand why Britain tried appeasement first.
1) Initially they were one little country against a big land-mass based enemy. The smaller country usually needs to tread lightly and try diplomacy first.
2) There is always a mix of rhetoric on both sides and many differing voices on what to do. It isn't just a cut and dry do it or don't. And it usually takes agreement among many on what the plan of action will be.
3) There was no guarantee the US or anyone else would come to their aid, or even if aid did come, if it would be enough to succeed.
4) It's not unreasonable to believe other battle fronts would be sufficient to keep the enemy occupied, or simply that the enemy would stop and rest on what they had gained so far.
Shreyas Yes, Britain tried their best to prevent or at the least delay another war from happening. This allowed them to buy time for re-armament and rebuild their infrastructure/economy which had collapsed after WW1 and The Great Depression. Also, this policy was being carried out at a point of time where there was a slight chance of peace. Therefore, Britain tried their best to prevent a second world war, while allowing themselves to be more prepared in-case there is one. Almost no country was able to afford to go to war at that point of time as they were rebuilding their infrastructure and economy which fell after The Great Depression and WW1.
The appeasement policy was the right and one of the best policy in 1938. Even though Chamberlain had helped Hitler in his expansionist policy, it gave the other countries the time to rearm and expand their military capabilities. It also gave them time to bring up their economy which was needed during a war. It was also the best policy for them because at the point of time, if Britain had went to war, she would have lost the war. This was because Britain was still suffering from the experience of WW1 and they were trying to rearm properly.
It is true that the appeasement did not prevent the war from breaking out, however the appeasement did allow them to buy more time to rearm and have a stronger opposing army to oppose Germany. Having the time to rearm, there may be less casualties resulting from WW2 as compared to having no time to rearm at all. The people are sick of war, if Britain is to jump straight into war and without appeasement, Britain will lose the majority of the support from the British. Chamberlain did state that: "I cannot help feeling that if, after all, war had come upon us...record their readiness to serve their Country,where-ever or however their services could be more useful...". By signing the appeasement, not only they can buy more time to rearm, it will also gain support from the masses.
Although time was bought via appeasement (estimated 6 months), Germany made use of that time to rearm as well. War was inevitable but delaying it was the correct move to prepare both the country and the people for war. Rebuilding a strong economy was also necessary to survive the oncoming war to allow themselves to rebuild and rearm post-war. The attempt to prevent war was there, just unsuccessful.
Although in hindsight, war could have been prevented should the countries were more united and mobilised their armies to stop Germany's invasion of czechoslovakia.
Kian Shiong - Yes. Chamberlain did not know the true intentions of Hitler at that time, and after the Sudetenland incident, Hitler promised that it was the last request for territory expansion. The British people at that time were also not willing to go to war, hence trying every possible methods including Appeasement to avoid war. Many people also admired how Hitler wanted to make Germany stronger and Chamberlain thought that a strong Germany can serve as a barrier against expansion from communist Russia.
It was clear to everyone, even Churchill, that Hitler's true intentions was to expand aggressively. His expansionist policies could be seen taking place right in front of British eyes, but their politicians were so paranoid about war that they did not do anything about it.
The British people were unwilling to go to war, but that could be easily changed if the media and propaganda started portraying Hitler as an aggressive person trying to take over Europe.
A strong Germany can indeed serve as a buffer to the spread of Communism, but after the Franco-Soviet pact put Germany in a position where it was against both the Eastern and Western European powers. Germany as such distrusted both sides and thought both sides sought to undermine its survival. Just like how there was no confirmation that Hitler would side against the Western European powers, there was no guarantee that Hitler would side against the Soviets either.
Even though appeasement did not work in the end, they had no way of knowing that Hitler would not keep to his promise. Had they known about Hitler's tactics, they would not have tried appeasement. However, since they did not know what Hitler was going to do, they were right to try appeasement to try to avoid starting a war.
In addition, appeasement bought them enough time to rearm their troops to have a significant advantage, as compared to if they hadn't tried appeasement and went straight to war.
Appeasement was right in 1938 as this proved to the people of Britain that the government had tried every method before resorting to war. The people were wary of another war and if they had not tried appeasement, the government would not have the full support of the people if a war broke out. Knowing that they had tried every other method would also result in higher morale, as the people would know that they were going to war as a last resort.
I think it was the best policy at that time in Britain despite the many failures after the appeasement because the fact that even if they were to deploy their army at that point in time in retaliation, there was a slim chance that they could have won against Germany who had air forces which were very devastating as shown during the Spanish civil war. And if they were to lose, they would suffer more losses such as manpower than which if they did the Appeasement and took the time to prepare. I do agree that the Appeasement that they had executed could have been better, however, it was the best decision at that time. This can also can be shown where Hitler was also useful to them in removing communism.
Yes. I think that the appeasement was the right policy for Britain in 1938 as this allowed Britain to build up its industrial capabilities in preparation for war. The policy of appeasement also showed the British public that its government had tried all measures to have peace with Germany and to avert war. This enabled Britain to rally its people and ensured that they were convinced that fighting was the only option and unified Britain in wartime.
Minh - Yes, it was the right policy. Appeasement helped to build up national unity and not let people believe the British government has done everything they can to try to prevent war. This also helped to avoid Germany from having naval superiority which helped to prevent a naval invasion of Britain.
HEW ZI HENG [Wrong]
I feel that the appeasement policy of the British was not justified in 1938 because at that time, Hitler had clear plans of expanding and it was evident that Hitler wouldn't back down and slow down his aggression towards his European neighbours. In the early 1930s, it was not so clear what Hitler as the leader of Nazi Germany would do, so maybe pursuing a foreign policy of appeasement was still justifiable, but by 1938, it was clear that it was no longer the case.
Hitler blatantly violated the Treaty of Versailles, had an Anschluss with Austria which clearly showed that Hitler's interests was in the expansion and strengthening of Germany and re-militarized (which was clearly a challenge to Britain's position in Europe). British politicians were so paranoid about war that they forgot to defend their own country's interests. They had to wait till Germany was so strong and had an non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union before they made any action, but by then it was too late.
Therefore this shows that appeasement was not the right policy for Britain in 1938.
Yes, indeed Hitler did have plans to go expand. However, even if Britain were to go to war immediately, they would not have the financial capabilities to do so. Even if they somehow manage to go to war with their sheer lack of resources, the low morale will be detrimental to their campaign
In my opinion, appeasement was the right policy for Britain in 1938.
During the Spanish civil war, the British realised that Germany had a far superior army than theirs. They needed time to rearm themselves, or they would be overrun by the German army. This would cost them time as rearmament is fairly expensive, which is why they needed to buy more time with appeasement.
Appeasement was the correct path for Britain at the time. Although, we now know that in hindsight, it was perhaps a bad move as it egged on Hitler to persue a much more aggressive policy, at the time it was the correct choice. This is supported by the fact that the British had low moral due to WW1 and did not have the spirit to start another war, the Great depression had hit and a war was expensive, and the fact that nobody in general wanted ti start another war due to the memories of the first WW
(agree) Based on the assessment of political will and military power if the other countries back in 1938, Britain and France were simply not ready for a war, and were unwilling to fight a war. Britain's army was too small and too weak. Moreover Great Britain was a democratic country, Chamberlain was not a dictator with the right to start a war if he pleased. He could not go to war without the support of the people – and until 1939 most people wanted peace, almost at any price.
In my opinion, appeasement was the right policy. I would seek to expound on this concept further below.
Appeasement was the right policy considering the people's attitude to war. At that point of time, people were extremely disheartened post WWI and going into a new war will have a significant impact on civilians. Appeasement was justified as going to war was the last resort for countries. By taking on a policy of appeasement, it would justify to the people that all options have been exhausted before going to war. Thus appeasement was the right policy for Britain as it did not deteriorate Britain's morale as quick when compared to the point where Britain went to war straight away.
Another justification was because Britain did not have the Financial Resources to launch another war. Appeasement policy bought time for the British Government to rebuild its financial capabilities. Even though not substantial, the small increments helped the British war effort in a significant way as the government had more resources at their disposal
The third justification for the appeasement was the singular common ground Britain and Germany had which was the fight against communism. Germany pursued the narrative that they were fighting against communism when they aid the Spanish Nationalist Forces.
Germany was seen as to push forward and in line with British national interest. Germany for this case was seen as an ally. Therefore appeasement bought time for Britain in the sense that Communist forces were weaken to a certain extent and would prevent substantial damage if Britain was to engage in a 2 front war ( ie. Germany and Soviet union)
Yes, appeasement of the Axis powers was the right policy for Britain in 1938.
To Chamberlain, who came into office in 1937, appeasement meant maintaining European international stability by means of redressing the grievances of those states that could challenge that stability. The people wanted peace more than anything else. The British, after seeing the devastating effects of war, prioritised peace more than anything else, thus the people felt that appeasement was better than war.
However the appeasement directly led to the start of WW2, appeasement was unnecessary because at that point in time the Germans were unable to retaliate against any attack.
I feel that Appeasement was the Right Policy for Britain but they should have controlled the amount of power they were willing to give. It was the right policy as at that point of time, Britain was still reeling from the Great Depression. Thou they had weapons, they may not have the finance to protect their people or recover from the war.They also would not have the support of the people as many lives were lost in the previous world war, and were not willing to step into another. Therefore they also needed time to rally the support of the People. However, instead of throwing Germany the whole meal, assuring them that they can take as much as they want, Britain should have only fed them Scraps. Furthermore, when Hitler's Demands were getting more and more bizarre and demanding, such as control over Sudetenland, Chamberlain should have refused. In the first place, Chamberlain should not have gone as himself, but as the Prime Minister of Britain. In a nutshell, the appeasement policy was done with a good intention, but was poorly executed.
Appeasement was not the right policy for Britain, because it did give Britain some time to rearm and strengthen themselves, however appeasement was what caused World War 2, which put many others in danger. Also, instead of pleasing Hitler and giving into his commands, Britain could have used a more forceful stance to make him back down.
Even though Britain could have had a more forceful stand, but they would not be able to predict that appeasement would cause WWII. A forceful stand could also aggravate the situation and Hilter may be more willing to fight Britain, which at that time had a weak military after WWI.
The LON was weak (having proven to be ineffective in solving disputes)and so was Britain's army, therefore this would not have been enough to intimidate Hitler into backing down. The people of Britain and France would also be very unhappy had their government dare to oppose Hitler (which would increase to possibility of a war)
Did appeasement work?
1. Britain and France was able to have time to rearm.
2. They prevented powerful germany from taking over their country
3.They needed Germany to fight against communism.
1. They emboldened Hitler to pursue his aggressive foreign policy.
2. It failed to prevent another great world war
3. They betrayed a lot of countries in the process
but they failed the overall goal of appeasement, which was to prevent war. Eventually they led Hitler to be more aggressive and start world war 2 by invading poland, thinking britian would give them poland.
If they had been more aggresive against Hitler, they would have prevented war
If they had been more aggressive, the war would have begun before Britain was even close to having a good defence to stop anyone from invading them.Also, at that point of time, Britain was trying their best to avoid a second world war altogether This would easily have led to the fall of Britain, and in the process, demolish all possibilities of not having a second world war.