To what extent was the policy of appeasement responsible for the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939? The policy of appeasement gave way to Hitler’s aggression and contributed to the cause of war. Appeasement meant that Hitler could grow in strength to the point where Nazi Germany became a threat. Britain and France The League of Nations became a false hope, which Britain placed their faith in. 111 Appeasement allowed Hitler to grow his strength to the point of being a major threat to Europe.
While the Nazi’s gained power through; the tearing up of the Versailles treaty, Remilitarisation of Rhineland, Conscription and Anschluss, Britain and France avoided involvement for numerous reasons. The League of Nations was unable to act in accordance to Hitler or Mussolini because for it to act there had to be a unanimous decision to take action. The league of Nations and the Principe of collective security was void, Abyssinia had proven this. The league of nations was unable to act in accordance to Hitler or Mussolini because for it to act there had to be a unanimous decision to take action.
Hitler actions were viewed sympathetically, Anglo-German navel agreement represented Britain’s attitude towards Germany. This directly contravened the Treaty of Versailles and also was done without the consulting of France and so weakened the Stresa Front. Britain had an attitude of appeasement towards Hitler because of Britain’s economic state and also the public opinion of going back to war. “The bomber will always get through” was stated by PM Baldwin, There was a popular dread of another war which was worsted by new technologies which made certain a another war would be even worse.
British Public opinion was undoubtable pacifist as seen in the 1933 Fulham By-election and peace ballot. Rallies and many youths who could not contemplate why anyone would want another war pushed the Anti-war opinion of many of the British. The longer Britain let Hitler continue with his aggressive foreign policy the more costly it became and with in there current economic state it was easier adopt a policy of appeasement. Britain’s armed forces had been let to run down, PM Chamberlain had hopes to create a better Britain, spending money on health and housing rather then ‘wasting’ it on defence forces.
The British believed that they were unable to take on Germany due to the lack of military at hand and that appeasement gave Britain a chance to rearm, although all did not share this opinion. The availability of resources to Britain was also one of the rationality behind the appeasement policy. “Britain lost 20% share in the coal export trade to Germany” . Britain was in economic debt mostly to the USA, to pay these debts back Britain was force to make cut backs to the armed forces, this inturn lead to the delayed rearmament. The league of Nations was ineffective because it relied on collective security and a unanimous decision to act.
The league of Nations failed in its major goal to achieve disarmament, which was a key part to collective security. The league relied upon ‘internationalism’, which meant that nations would give up personal gain for the common good, this was flawed because of how the previous war caused a rise in aggressive nationalist regimes in Europe. League success relied upon ‘Anglo-French’ cooperation although their interests where opposed; Britain wanted a flexible league whereas the French wanted a strong league to ensure security. The League Of Nations did not reflect the ‘true’ balance of power, it was only as powerful as it’s membership.