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Appeasement is a policy of accepting the imposed conditions of an aggressor in lieu of armed resistance, usually at the sacrifice of principles. Usually it means giving into demands of an aggressor in order to avoid war. Since World War II, the term has gained a negative connotation in the British government, in politics and in general, of weakness, cowardice and self-deception. A famous example is Neville Chamberlain's foreign policy during the inter-war period 1919-1939 when he used a policy of appeasement in order to prevent (in vain) another general European war. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article is about the British prime minister. ... A countrys foreign policy is a set of political goals that seeks to outline how that particular country will interact with other countries of the world and, to a lesser extent, non-state actors. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Appeasement. ...


Different views on Appeasement

The meaning of the "appeasement" has changed throughout the years. According to Paul Kennedy in his Strategy and Diplomacy, 1983, appeasement is "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be, expensive, bloody and possibly dangerous." It gained its negative reputation for its use in the build up to World War II. It had previously been employed by the British government successfully, see The Treaty with Ireland 1921. Paul Kennedy can refer to: Paul Kennedy a professor of history at Yale University who is known for his study of the history of international relations. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Signature page of the Anglo-Irish Treaty The Anglo-Irish Treaty, officially called the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was a treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and representatives of the extra-judicial Irish Republic that concluded the Irish War of Independence. ...

Further quotations:

"At bottom, the old appeasement was a mood of hope, Victorian in its optimism, Burkean in its belief that societies evolved from bad to good and that progress could only be for the better. The new appeasement was a mood of fear, Hobbesian in its insistence upon swallowing the bad in order to preserve some remnant of the good, pessimistic in its belief that Nazism was there to stay and, however horrible it might be, should be accepted as a way of life with which Britain ought to deal." Martin Gilbert, The Roots of Appeasement, 1968. Sir Martin John Gilbert, CBE (born October 25, 1936 in London) is a British historian and the author of over seventy books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

"Each course brought its share of disadvantages: there was only a choice of evils. The crisis in the British global position by this time was such that it was, in the last resort, insoluble, in the sense that there was no good or proper solution." Paul Kennedy, Strategy and Diplomacy, 1983. Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ...

"The word in its normal meaning connotes the Pacific settlement of disputes; in the meaning usually applied to the period of Chamberlain's premiership, it has come to indicate something sinister, the granting from fear or cowardice of unwarranted concessions in order to buy temporary peace at someone else's expense." D.N. DIlks, Appeasement Revisited, Journal of Contemporary History, 1972. This article is about the British prime minister. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The majority of the Conservative party in Britain in the late thirties were in favour of appeasement. This was mainly because they considered that Hitler would be satisfied with gaining control of parts of Central Europe. Churchill was relatively isolated in believing that Germany could be a threat for the British Empire.

However, appeasement has also been deemed successful by many historians, as with the 'bought' year of 1938-39, Britain rapidly increased military production and with the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia allowed the protection of the British Isles. [citation needed] It must, however, also be pointed out, that in turn, Nazi Germany was able to significantly boost its military power in the time thus granted, and quite possibly to a greater extent than the Allies[citation needed], particularly since the annexation of Czechoslovakia gave the third Reich access to well-developed Czech industrial resources and significantly improved its strategic standing, avoiding a conflict through the unfavorable terrain of the Czech-German border (even where this was unfortified) in comparison to Poland, which also suffered afterwards from a lengthened border with Germany.[citation needed]

As said by Winston Churchill[1]:

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.

Differing Perceptions of Appeasement In World War Two

Appeasement in modern day western society is often linked with Chamberlain and World War Two. This multifaceted debate over the relationship of appeasement in causing World War Two and Chamberlain’s use of appeasement is continually on going. Chamberlain did not architect appeasement until the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and before this appeasement had been a popular policy.

Orthodox ‘The Guilty Men’ written by Cato offered the British public an explanation towards the catastrophes of Dunkirk and why Britain again was forced into war. Cato defined appeasement as ‘the deliberate surrender of small nations in the face of Hitler's blatant bullying’. Cato were deliberately and unapologetically anti- appeasement, thus the negative association of appeasement with cowardice originates, by doing so they were able to condemn the policy makers after the treaty of Versailles for the predicament they were facing in the 1930’s, 1940s. Despite the fact a war weary Britain was faced with a population anti war, CATO suggests that appeasement was as much of a failure as the Treaty of Versailles in attempting to keep the peace. The book ‘enshrined the disillusion of a generation …. And set the tone of debate for the study of appeasement for twenty years after the war.’ Chamberlain was castrated for championing the policy of appeasement during a period when it appeared to have little chance of success. Appeasement to Cato was a policy of weakness, retreat and poor military planning.

Churchill used the policy of appeasement in his memories the ‘Gathering storm’ to heighten his heroic status in rescuing a country under political corruption and deceit. He appeared presumptuous that appeasement was chosen willingly and wrongly which would later be contradicted by revsionists. Churchill essentially damned appeasement due to its origins. His particular dislike for Chamberlain and his stubbornness deemed that appeasement itself was not the issue but the person whom was implementing it. For Churchill the origins of appeasement lay in the appeasers and their own individual choices rather than the structural constrains of Britain.

Revisionist This revisionism of orthodox views emerged in the 1950’s through historians no longer contextualised by war. Revisionist perspectives evaluated the role of appeasement considering the intentions of Hitler. Where orthodox historians had previously made the presumption that appeasement was inefficient due to a predictable mad man, historians such as AJP Taylor determined that appeasement could not be whole heartily blamed for WW2 as it was impossible to predict the nature of Hitler’s intentions. Through works such as ‘the Origins of World War Two’ in 1961 AJP Taylor debated weather the policy of appeasement was justified considering the possibility that Hitler may not have had a ‘blueprint’ for war. His perspective on appeasement allowed him to conclude that appeasement was an active policy and not a passive one. Rather than attempting to purely allow Hitler to consolidate himself the policy was implemented by ‘men confronted with real problems, doing their best in the circumstances of their time’. This area allowed the previous negative perspectives of appeasement to develop into a rational response to an unpredictable man (Hitler) that was diplomatically and politically suitable at the time.

1967 the legal documents are released about appeasement following the Thirty Year Rule. This allowed a mirand of people to pour over uncensored limitless sources. From here on revisionism develops essentially saving chamberlains reputation as a man whom did the best at the time possible. This historical rehabilitation of Chamberlain saved the reputation of appeasement.

Counter Revisionist The final stage seems to appear from 1990’s to the current day, where historians are evaluating the specific aspects of appeasement, its origins and how it was implemented. The views seem to be rationalised and balanced. It has been concluded that appeasement was in no fault a bad policy to adhere to in light of WW2 however it poorly implemented, it was implement too late, and not under enough control to constrain an opportunistic Hitler. Appeasement is seen as a viable policy to have been chosen considering the constraints of the once great empire to recuperate after WW1, and that ideally appeasement had offered all the solutions. It is from here that many argue that a decline in British national identity lead chamberlain and others to adopt a policy suitable to Britains cultural and political needs. McDonough is a great counter revisionist whom describes appeasement as a crisis management strategy that tried to encourage Hitler to solve his grievances peacefully and that in fact it was that “Chamberlains worst error was to believe that he could march Hitler on the yellow brick road to peace when in reality Hitler was marching very firmly on the road to war”.


  1. ^ Churchill Quote. Retrieved on April 07, 2007.

April 7 is the 97th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (98th in leap years). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ...


  • Alex Alexandroff and Richard Rosecrance, "Deterrence in 1939," World Politics, Vol. 29, No. 3. (Apr., 1977), pp. 404-424.
  • Robert J. Beck, "Munich's Lessons Reconsidered," International Security 14 (1989) in JSTOR
  • John Charmley, Chamberlain and the Lost Peace (1989)
  • Richard Cockett, Twilight of Truth: Chamberlain, Appeasement, and the Manipulation of the Press (1989).
  • Christopher Hill, Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, October 1938-June 1941 (1991)
  • James Levy. Appeasement and Rearmament: Britain, 1936-1939, (2006)
  • Frank McDonough, Richard Brown, and David Smith. Hitler, Chamberlain and Appeasement (2002)
  • Peter Neville. Hitler and Appeasement: The British Attempt to Prevent the Second World War (2005)
  • Gaines Post Jr.; Dilemmas of Appeasement: British Deterrence and Defense, 1934-1937 Cornell University Press. 1993
  • G. C. Peden, "A Matter of Timing: The Economic Background to British Foreign Policy, 1937-1939," History 69 (1984)
  • Stephen R. Rock. Appeasement in International Politics (2000)
  • Donald Cameron Watt, How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 1938-1939 (1989).
  • Robert Paul Shay, Jr., "British Rearmament in the Thirties: Politics and Profits" Princeton University Press" (1977).

See also

  • Appeasement of Hitler - one of the most significant and best-known cases of appeasement in history during the inter-war period of the 1930s
  • Danegeld - The term has come to be used as a warning and a criticism of paying any coercive payment whether in money or kind.
  • Finlandization - the influence that one neighboring powerful country can have on the policies of a smaller nearby country

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Appeasement. ... The Danegeld was an English tribute raised to pay off Viking raiders (usually led by the Danish king) to save the land from being ravaged by the raiders. ...

External links

This article is about the British prime minister. ... Churchill redirects here. ...

Further reading

  • British Politics and Foreign Policy in the Age Of Appeasement, 1935-1939 - R.J.Q. Adams
  • British Foreign and Imperial Affairs, 1919-39 - Alan Farmer (2nd Ed.)
  • British Foreign Policy 1919-39 - Paul W Doerr
  • British Appeasement in the 1930s - William R Rock
  • Churchill - Roy Jenkins
  • Baldwin - Roy Jenkins
  • Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation - David Dutton
  • Eden - D. R. Thorpe
  • Europe and the Czechs - Penguin Books Shiela Grant Duff, September 1938
  • Neville Chamberlain - David Dutton
  • The Fascist Challenge And The Policy Of Appeasement edited by Wolfgang J. Mommsen and Lothar Kettenacker, London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1983 ISBN 0-04-940068-1.
  • The Parting of Ways - A Personal Account of the Thirties. Peter Owen, 1982, ISBN 0-7206-0586-5
  • Munich : Prologue to Tragedy - Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, New York : Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1948.

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Appeasement and War on Iran by Michael S. Rozeff (2025 words)
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