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Int 2: Appeasement

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Alec Jessop

on 19 April 2013

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Transcript of Int 2: Appeasement

Why did Britain adopt the policy of appeasement?
How should the British policy of appeasement be viewed? Appeasement: REASONS
FOR APPEASEMENT: Definitions of Appeasement: Few historians have managed to come up with a concrete idea of what Hitler thought of the policy of appeasement. The closest we can possibly get is his reaction to being asked what he thought of British statesmen: Guilty Men? HATRED OF WAR Why did Chamberlain follow the policy of appeasement? How do these cartoonists view the policy of appeasement? What is appeasement? Working in pairs, list as many words as you can think of to describe appeasement.
From this list try and create your own definition of appeasement. "...historians a thousand years from now will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, let themselves be brought low, to cast away all that they had gained...Britain were the victors but are now defeated, and Germany, who threw down their arms in the field and sued for armistice are striding on to world mastery." 'An act of pacifying...making substantial concessions to preserve peace.'
Collins Oxford Dictionary 'to clear up all differences by discussion without armed conflict...by the exercise of friendliness, and understanding of what were the desires of others'
Neville Chamberlain Appeasement was not a silly idea, it was not held by simple men - it was a noble idea, rooted in Christianity, in courage and common sense'
Historian Martin Gilbert 'The soothing of threatening enemies by giving way to their demands'
PT Cuthbert 'A policy where you buy off your enemies by selling your friends'
Dr E. Ranson '...identifying the basic grievances of your enemies and attempting to remove them through reasonable negotitation.'
Professor William Rock 1. Which definition do you think is most accurate? Copy out the statement which you agree with and explain why you have chosen this.

2. If you were a supporter of appeasement, what would you say the benefits of the policy were?

3. If you were a critic of appeasement, what dangers of the policy would you stress? 'I have seen them, they are like worms.' The word appeasement can equally be a word of honour or a word of shame, depending on the context in which it is used. A famous article by Cato in 1940 suggested that Chamberlain's government were 'the Guilty Men' who did not have the guts to stand up to Hitler and therefore had brought about the Second World War.
Others have parodied Chamberlain as an incompetent fool who was all too easily tricked by Hitler. What is the correct assessment of Chamberlain?
Can his actions be defended?
Would another Prime Minister have acted differently? Locarno Pact 1925 - Britain accepted the re-negotiation of some of the terms of Versailles in a spirit of cooperation.
Ending of Reparations 1932 - Britain accepted that the demands of Germany were too great and cancelled the debt.
Geneva Disarmament Conference 1932-33 - Britain supported the idea of letting Germany have controlled re-armament.
Work for peace within the Covenant of the League of Nations - Britain stuck by the League of Nations as a peace keeper (up until the Abyssinian Crisis 1935)
Anglo-German Naval Deal 1935 - Britain accepted that Germany was going to do it anyway.
Hoare-Laval Pact over Abyssinain Crisis 1935 - Britain accepted that Mussolini could not be stopped, and tried to do a deal over Abyssinia to save going to war.
Rhineland 1936 - Britain accepted that Germany had a case and would not support France in any military action. A closer look at British foreign policy actions since 1919 shows that just about everyone of them has some aspect of appeasement in it.
Many of these seemed to be attempts to revise the Treaty of Versailles, which many in Britain had been uncomfortable with and viewed as too harsh. The British government and people more and more viewed the Treaty has one that had been aimed at revenge and sought to rectify that mistake. When this is considered, one can see that Chamberlain's actions were a natural continuation of this policy of concessions. 1. Why is it easy to make a personal criticism of Chamberlain when criticising appeasement?
2. What evidence could be put forward to suggest that appeasement was a policy started long before Chamberlain took office? BRITISH MILITARY READINESS SYMPATHY WITH GERMANY FRENCH WEAKNESS US NON-INTERVENTION DISTRUST OF RUSSIA EMPIRE WAS THE FIRST PRIORITY BRITISH POLITICAL INNOCENCE REASONS
FOR APPEASEMENT: HATRED OF WAR BRITISH MILITARY READINESS SYMPATHY WITH GERMANY FRENCH WEAKNESS US NON-INTERVENTION DISTRUST OF RUSSIA EMPIRE WAS THE FIRST PRIORITY BRITISH POLITICAL INNOCENCE Hatred of War: British Military Readiness: Read page 81-82.
Write a bullet point summary that explains:
Chamberlain's opposition to war.
Evidence that the British public also shared this view.
Evidence that Chamberlain had been misled about the potential impact of war on Britain. Read page 82-83.
Write a bullet point summary that explains:
Who CIGS were.
How CIGS influenced Chamberlain.
How the treasury influenced Chamberlain. Sympathy with Germany: Read page 83-84.
Write a bullet point summary that explains:
What was Britain's attitude towards Germany and the Treaty of Versailles
Chamberlain's view on Eastern Europe French Weakness: At the same time that Britain was growing increasingly sympathetic towards Germany, Britain was growing increasingly exasperated with France.
Throughout the 1930s, France appeared increasingly weak, internally unstable and unreliable as an ally.
Their reluctance to compromise with others appeared more of a threat to European stability than the actions of Germany herself. Chamberlain did not really like or trust the French. He said of the French that they:
'...can never keep a secret for more than half an hour or a government for more than nine months' 'Maginot Mentality' The British Government had seen the weakness and hesitancy of France's 'Maginot Mentality' during the Rhineland Crisis.
Generally France seemed to look to Britain for a lead before they would ever react.
Chamberlain was worried that if he gave the French too much support they would become too aggressive towards Germany. US Non-Intervention: Number these from 1-8 in order of most important to least important influence on the policy of appeasement. Throughout the 1920s America had made it clear that it had become 'isolationist' and wanted nothing more to do with Europe's problems.
The refusal of the US to join the League of Nations in 1920 was a clear sign of them turning their backs on Western Europe.
Two Neutrality Acts signed in 1935 and 1937 reinforced the message that they didn't feel that European problems were their business. Influence of Joe Kennedy: Joe Kennedy was the US ambassador to the UK during Chamberlain's tenure as PM.
Kennedy had implied that Britain had to do a deal with Germany because they could not rely at all on American assistance.
However, it is unlikely that American views were really as simple as this. 'It was always best and safest to count on nothing from the Americans except words.' Chamberlain on America: Chamberlain clearly felt that, as with the French, the Americans could not be depended upon for support. 1. What three events made it clear that America did not want to get involved in European political disputes?

2. Explain how Joe Kennedy helped to influence the British policy of appeasement.

3. How did Chamberlain view the Americans?

4. How did this view influence the policy of appeasement? Distrust of Russia: 1. Like all Conservatives, Chamberlain was fearful of the spread of Communism. 2. Chamberlain was not convinced that the Communists were strong enough to do anything. Stalin had purged the Russian Red Army in 1937-1938. it was thought that it would take Russia years to regain its military strength. 3. Chamberlain believed there was great danger in making an alliance with Russia and re-creating what looked like the Triple entente - making Germany feel trapped and 'encircled' The Importance of the Empire: Britain was well aware of the debt which it owed to Commonwealth forces in the First World War.
Would Britain's Commonwealth allies make the same commitment and sacrifice again?
If Britain had gone to war over Czechoslovakia would the Empire regard it as their business?
South Africa had already indicated that they would not help. Australia and New Zealand would not commit themselves, while only Canada had made an offer of support. Why might the size of the British Empire have influenced the policy of appeasement? 1. Explain why Britain would have felt reluctant to ask for military help from the Commonwealth during the 1930s?
2. What countries had indicated that they would not support Britain in war?
3. How do you think this influenced the policy of appeasement? British Political Innocence: There is a case for saying that the British government followed a policy of appeasement because they just did not know any better.
Chamberlain held a strictly conventional 'play the game' honest approach to diplomacy. He had a background in business and was used to making deals with men he felt he could trust. This gave him a slightly limited point of view and certainly did not give him the experience needed to deal with Hitler. 'The trouble with diplomacy in the 1930s was that you didn't know if you were dealing with clever men who were bluffing or maniacs who really meant it.' However, others at the time had noticed this problem, showing that Chamberlain should not be excused for his approach.
Many realised that Chamberlain's policy of appeasement was little more than wishful thinking. 1. What evidence is there to support the view that Chamberlain's attitudes made him unsuited to pursuing a policy of appeasement with someone like Hitler? 2. Looking back on the evidence, do you think that Chamberlain could have dealt with Hitler in a different manner? 3. How should Chamberlain be remembered? A guilty man whose incompetence led Britain to war or a noble and honest statesman doing all he could do avoid war? Essay Question: Why did Britain follow a policy of appeasement in the 1930s? Intro:
Context - what was appeasement?
Factors - what factors led to the the policy of appeasement?
Signpost - this essay will....

Main body:
Use mind map to develop 5 reasons why Britain followed the policy of appeasement.
Link these back to the question at the end of every paragraph.

Conclusion:
Sum up all the key points
Answer the question!
**Due Friday 26th April**
Full transcript