To What Extent Was the Policy of Appeasement the Main Cause for the Outbreak of War in Europe in 1939?

1111 Words Apr 6th, 2011 5 Pages
The policy of appeasement was widely pursued by Britain and France in the 1930s, when it referred to attempting to satisfy Germany's demands by negotiation and compromise, which would avoid war. However due to its failure the policy of appeasement, to a large extent was responsible for the outbreak of war in 1939. It is clear that if the Western Powers had retaliated against Hitler, war could have been avoided, it encouraged Hitler, Hitler could never be appeased, and that it prompted the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Despite large extent the policy of appeasement in the outbreak of war it is superseded by other factors such as the Treaty of Versailles.

The appeasement policy, contrary to its aim, encouraged aggression, because each time Hitler
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If Britain and France had abandoned their policy of appeasement and retaliated against Hitler's aggression war could have been averted. Appeasement was deeply embedded into British foreign policy, even to the the extent were they would not honor their military commitments to France under the Treaty of Locarno, that if Germany were to remilitarise the Rhineland, Britain would offer them support. So, when Hitler ordered armed cars to enter the Rhineland in March 1936, France failed to retaliate. This was the ideal time to have halted Hitler as Allan Bullock quotes Hitler saying “If the French had then marched into the Rhineland we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs”, because Germany was still militarily weak and war would have lasted six weeks rather than six years. However, the appeasers were determined to stop any violence, that they failed to see, according to Keith Eubank, had they “retaliated against the remilitarisation with force, the German military units would have withdrawn and perhaps Hitler would have been overthrown; the drift to war would have been halted and World War II averted”.

Appeasement was destined to fail because Hitler could never be satisfied and the appeasers did not understand they were dealing with an aggressive, unreasonable dictator. Hitler Nazi ideologies stated the future of the German people could
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