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To What Extent Can The Policy Of Appeasement Be Described As An Attempt To Right The Wrongs Of The Treaty Of Versailles?

2110 words - 8 pages

To what extent can the policy of appeasement be described as an attempt to right the wrongs of the Treaty of Versailles?The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919, which was enforced on Germany by the Allied forces. The Treaty constituted of a series of economic, military and territorial clauses, designed to punish Germany for 'starting' the Great War. The unjust harshness of this Treaty has been put at the forefront by many for the reason why Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler during the late 1930s. However it must be said that the Treaty of Versailles was one factor out of a series which dictated Chamberlain's appeasement strategy. Britain was faced with large economic problems at the time and her army was far from the force it has been during World War One, compounded by a general public opinion that was vehemently against another devastating war and no immediate allies that would stop Hitler by force.The terms of the Treaty of Versailles meant that Germany had to pay exorbitant reparations of up to £6,600 million which was an unrealistic figure, especially due to the fact that Germany lost so much land and man power due to clauses in the treaty. The League of Nations was to take control of Germany's colonies, Alsace-Lorraine was given back to France and Czechoslovakia and Poland also gained land. Furthermore, 'Anschluss' was imposed which forbid Germany and Austria uniting and forming something like a German Empire. The Treaty of Versailles also crippled Germany's military with the army being reduced to only 100,000 men, the navy were only allowed six battleships and no air force personnel were allowed. These clauses combined left Germany extremely weak and vulnerable to enemy attack. To add further insult to German pride, Germany had to accept blame for starting the war. Looking at these harsh stipulations it is hard to assess why Germany would sign such a treaty, however Germany was in no such state to abstain, with the threat of further military action against a crippled Germany if the treaty was not signed which was compounded by an Allied blockade at German ports, effectively starving the country until the treaty was signed.Soon after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933 he started to re-arm Germany. Hitler saw the rebuilding of the German military as a fundamental policy to restore German pride which had been stripped away by the Treaty of Versailles but also stimulate the economy and be able to defend herself. Many saw these actions by Hitler as justifiable for how was it fair that the rest of the European powers remained armed but Germany remained vulnerable with limited armed forces. Furthermore, although Britain was fully aware of Hitler re-militarising Germany, the USSR was more of a primary concern and it was thought that a stronger Germany would provide a barrier against the Spread of Communism into Western Europe. It was a firm view at the time, which is encapsulated by R.A.C Parker, that...

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