British Policy of Appeasement at the Beginning of World War Two
The First World War was the beginning of a new era in fighting. Weapons and fighting technique had drastically changed, making war much more dangerous. With the predictions for the new weapons including poisonous gas and bigger bombs, Great Britain was very much afraid for its citizens, especially men and women of fighting age. The country wished to avoid war at any cost. The choices of Neville Chamberlain and The Parliament favoring appeasement affected the decisions of other European leaders, such as French Premier Daladier, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and Winston Churchill, and those choices helped Britain enter the war.
Many believe that with the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War One, the prelude to World War Two was put in motion. At the time many Europeans, who were still hurting from the war, were not concerned that the restrictions put upon Germany were too stringent. But it gave Germans a reason to elect Hitler to the Chancellorship of Germany in 1933. While Britain tried to ignore the new leader of Germany, they could not ignore him any longer when the Saar Basin voted to return to Germany. As part of its World War I repatriations, the Saar Basin had been given to France because of the territory’s natural resources and such.1
Since Germany had now violated the Treaty of Versailles, Britain, France, and Italy gathered at Strea in Italy to discuss a course of action. Britain and France’s main concern was to keep Italy in opposition to the Germans. When Italy decided to attack Ethiopia, Britain was torn between avoiding war or endorsing the unprovoked attack. They left it up to the League of Nations to make the decision. In this decision, Britain decided to remain inactive and use a phrase called "collective security" which enabled them to retreat to the compromise of the League of Nations.2
When Hitler violated the Treaty again, by taking the Rhineland, Britain allied with France, a country that had given up on foreign affairs. Later that year, Italy and Germany both supported the revolutionaries of Spain. France had a policy of nonintervention and Britain had forbidden the sale of arms to either side. Even when the Spanish government fell, because of the inability to buy arms, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to recreate a friendship with Italy. Chamberlain was also interested in a general settlement that would include Germany. His beliefs were that Germany had been treated unfairly and self-determination should be allowed for countries wanting to reunite with Germany.3
Chamberlain was for appeasement at any cost. Avoiding war was most important to him. He wanted to make Germany happy and avoid war; unfortunately, he misjudged Hitler. He believed that Hitler only wanted to rebuild Germany and so because of his previous mentioned sympathies he believed he was working with Hitler to reconnect Germany. But instead he was working to...