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What Was Wrong With The Appeasement Policy?

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Appeasement was the policy followed by the British, and later by the French, of avoiding war with aggressive powers such as Japan, Italy and Germany, by giving way to their demands, provided they were not too unreasonable.

My opinion is that the whole appeasement policy was wrong because it was applied to a wrong person. It might have worked with some German government, but with Hitler it was doomed to failure. During the period of the appeasement policy, Hitler was still exploring the terrain in order to see how far he can go. Britain and France should have taken a firm line with him before Germany had become too strong: an Anglo-French attack on western Germany in 1936 at the time Rhineland occupation would have taught Hitler and a lesson and might have toppled him from power.

There are many reasons why the appeasement policy failed. Big part takes the national self-interest, showed by all the big powers, especially by Britain. This showed Hitler two main things: first, that the West is not united and thus easy to deal or fight with; and second, that the West doesn't really care about the small eastern-European stated such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, which gives him a free way to get what he wants without making too much noise.

Britain had showed its self-interest many times, both directly, and indirectly. When Austen Chamberlain, the British Foreign Minister said at the time of Locarno that no British government would ever risk the bones of a single British grenadier in defence of the Polish Corridor, it seemed to Germany that Britain had turned her back on eastern counties. The British reaction on re-occupation of Rhineland was shocking: Lord Londonderry was reported to have sent Hitler a telegram congratulating him on his success. All this, together with the later pressure over Poland to surrender Danzig, showed that Britain is ready to sacrifice any country except from itself, just to satisfy Hitler and ensure its security. Britain was the first to break the Stresa Front by signing the naval agreement with Germany, which once again showed that the West can not unite its forces to oppose Hitler.

France did not always agree about the appeasement policy. Barthou, French Foreign Minister for a short time, aimed to build a strong anti-German group which will include Italy and the USSR. He insisted on the Versailles treaty, and opposed to Britain for legalizing German rearmament. Unfortunately, Barthou was assassinated in 1934. His successor, Laval, did not really trust communism, and thus any form of cooperation with Russia had failed.

The Munich conference was, I would say, the event which ended the period of the appeasement diplomacy. It showed that the whole concept of appeasement was just a way for the big powers to ensure their security and prevent their involvement in eventual



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