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Why Great Britain Followed a Policy of Appeasement Toward Germany in the 1930s?

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The appeasement policy, which can be defined as a diplomatic policy that hopes of preventing war by making concessions to an aggressor, was displayed by Great Britain towards Germany in the preface to World War II. However, it proved to be a spectacular failure, because leaders of the countries that were being appeased were taking advantages of these policies and were building up their own power since other world leaders would not take any decisive action. Numerous factors consisting social, economical and political aspects formed the basis for the pursuing appeasement in the aftermath of World War I. At the Paris Peace Conferences, Britain, under the leadership of George Wilson had a hidden agenda. Britain have felt that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on the Germans, and considered appeasement as a method of correcting the wrongs that German had been dealt in the aftermath of World War I. Wilson did not want full-scale reparations imposed on Germany, because they were still valued as a significant trading partner. Such views continued until the end of Chamberlain’s rule in office.

As many countries were trying to recover from the depression, Britain saw Germany as a valuable trading partner to get the economy going. When examining the policy of appeasement, one has to understand the conditions and pressures of which the allied powers faced in the inter-war period. At the time, Russia was under the rule and authority of Communism. As a result, it was undergoing a complete re-vamp of its industrial sector and economy. Because of such rigorous change, the allies feared that communism would eventually grow and spread into their various spheres of influence. The allied powers thought that Germany would serve as a good buffer zone. The reasoning behind that was that it was better to have a fascist Germany act as a divider between them and Russia than to have a communist-controlled Germany. Before Hitler came into full power, communists held a significantly large portion of the seats within the parliament, which meant a large communist influence. The rise of Hitler meant it would both deter the rise of communism in the east, and also quell the internal communism influence. During the 1930s, a new concept of “Balance of Power” was coming into play as Germany was attempting to restore its former self. A new school of thought had been developed within the British population.

The belief of which that Hitler was simply restoring Europe to its former state, and fixing problems that should have never occurred in the first place. The general British population was also extremely tired of war. The public did not want to wage another war, costing millions of lives. In essence, a repeat of World War I would be the worst possible outcome, and that the only way to prevent Europe from falling into another massive tragedy like World War I was to follow the policy of appeasement World War I had been considered the Great War, and the War to End All Wars. It was the most destructive event that had happened and should not be brought upon humanity again. In today’s world the policy of appeasement that Britain undertook can be easily interpreted as a failure in retrospect. Had Britain not taken such a passive foreign policy perhaps the world would be much different than it is today. A Second World War may have been possible to prevent. However, because of the social, political, and economic situation at the time, Britain made what was considered the best decision at the time.

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