Why did Chamberlain's Policy of Appeasement fail to prevent the outbreak of war in 1939?


GCSE History B Modern World History B International Relations: Conflict and Peace in the 20th Century. Part 2 of the 'Steps to War' unit
Leah Firmstone
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Leah Firmstone
Created by Leah Firmstone over 9 years ago

Resource summary

Why did Chamberlain's Policy of Appeasement fail to prevent the outbreak of war in 1939?
  1. Chamberlain's Policy of Appeasement
    1. The Policy of Appeasement was the policy that Chamberlain adopted in his relations with Hitler
      1. Appeasement of Hitler after 1937 involved negotiating with Germany, giving way to reasonable demands in return for concessions from Hitler
        1. Chamberlain and his Foreign Secretary from 1938, Lord Halifax, were prepared to accept promises and reassurances as 'concessions'
          1. After the failures of the League, Chamberlain decided the only way to prevent war was to negotiate directly.
            1. Chamberlain gave way on things he felt did not matter to Britain (eg the Sudetenland) in return for assurances about things he felt did matter to Britain.
              1. His failure was not that Hitler frightened and bullied him, but that Hitler failed to follow the promises he has made during his negotiations with Chamberlain
              2. Hitler Overturns Apeasement
                1. Czechoslovakia, 1938
                  1. Czechoslovakia had a large army and strong military defences in the Sudetenland.
                    1. They also had skoda armaments factories, large deposits of coal and defence agreements with the USSR and Fr
                      1. Hitler wanted Cze for Lebensraum and hated the country due to democracy and reminder of post-WW1 peace settlements
                        1. Population inc. 3 million Ge Speakers
                          1. most of whom lived in the Sudetenland
                          2. Hitler urged Henlein to demand that the Cze Gov. make concessions to the Sudeten Germans
                            1. was clear that improved rights would not be enough.
                            2. April 1938 Ge troops massed on the Sudetenland border
                              1. Benes mobilised troops to resist
                              2. 12 Sept 1938, Sud Nazis rioted, encouraged by Hitler, but were crushed by Cze Gov
                                1. Hitler threatened war.
                              3. Appeasement in Action
                                1. 15 Sept 1938, Chamberlain met Hitler at Berchtesgaden.
                                  1. After discussion with Hitler, Chamberlain then persuaded the Cze to agree to transfer to Ge the parts of Sud where the majority of the population was Ge
                                    1. 22 Sept Chamberlain met Hitler at Godesburg and told him of the Cze agreement.
                                      1. Hitler told Chamberlain that he wanted the whole of the Sudetenland and threatened to go to war.
                                        1. Chamberlain refused his final demand and war looked inevitable
                                    2. Munich, September 1938
                                      1. Mussolini persuaded Hitler to attend a four-power conference in Munich on 29 Sept
                                        1. Representatives
                                          1. France
                                            1. Daladier
                                            2. Germany
                                              1. Hitler
                                              2. Britain
                                                1. Chamberlain
                                                2. Italy
                                                  1. Mussolini
                                                  2. Czechoslovakia was not invited
                                                  3. It was agreed that the Sud would become part of Germany
                                                    1. The Cze were then forced to accept this.
                                                      1. German forces occupied the Sudetenland on 1st Oct
                                                        1. And that Br and Fr would guarantee Cze's new borders
                                                          1. It also said that Cze must give up its military treaties with Fr and the USSR
                                                          2. Peace had been obtained. The day after the Munich Agreement, Chamberlain signed a separate deal with Hitler where the two countries promised never to go to war against each other and that future disagreements would be solved by consultation.
                                                            1. Chamberlain was considered a hero
                                                        2. Key People
                                                          1. Neville Chamberlain
                                                            1. British Prime Minister from 1937
                                                            2. Adolf Hitler
                                                              1. Chancellor of Germany
                                                              2. Anthony Eden
                                                                1. Chamberlain's first Foreign Secretary
                                                                  1. believed that concessions ought to be 'tangible actions'
                                                                  2. Lord Halifax
                                                                    1. Foreign Secretary from 1938
                                                                    2. Edvard Benes
                                                                      1. President of Czechoslovakia
                                                                      2. Konras Henlein
                                                                        1. Leader of the Czech Nazis
                                                                        2. Mussolini
                                                                          1. Dictator of Italy, persuaded Hitler to go to Four-Power conference
                                                                          2. Edouard Daladier
                                                                            1. Represented France at the Four-Power conference
                                                                          3. The collapse of Czechoslovakia
                                                                            1. Territory was lost to Poland and Hungary, as well as the loss of the Sud to Germany.
                                                                              1. Czechoslovakia had lost its defensive border at Munich
                                                                              2. Slovaks began to press for more rights and independence, encouraged by the Nazis
                                                                                1. In March 1939 the Czechoslovakian President Emil Hacha, appealed to Hitler for help
                                                                                  1. He eventually had no choice but to invite in the Germans
                                                                                  2. The occupation of Prague on 15 March marked the end of appeasement and changed Chamberlain's attitude towards Hitler as he could not justify this action and had broken the promises he made.
                                                                                    1. Britain introduced conscription for the first time during peace time.
                                                                                      1. The British Government expect Poland to be Hitler's next target so they make a promise with the help of France that they knew they were unable to fulfill
                                                                                      2. For and Against Appeasement
                                                                                        1. FOR
                                                                                          1. It was a genuine attempt to keep peace
                                                                                            1. People thought Hitler was right as ToV was 'unfair'
                                                                                              1. Saarlanders, Rhine & Austrians wanted to be part of Germany
                                                                                              2. Br Politicians feared communist USSR and wanted a strong Germany as a barrier to expanding Communism
                                                                                                1. Br was economically weak and had not rearmed in peacetime so appeasement gave them time to rearm
                                                                                                  1. gave a moral advantage
                                                                                                    1. Concessions among enemies cannot be mistaken or politics would be nothing more than fighting.
                                                                                                    2. AGAINST
                                                                                                      1. Appeasement encouraged Hitler to dismiss Britain and France and increased his confidence in victories against them, therefore propelling Europe into war.
                                                                                                        1. Lost opportunities to stop Hitler while weak
                                                                                                          1. Described as defeat and humiliation by Churchill, as Hitler made Chamberlain look a fool and sent him off with a meaningless promise.
                                                                                                            1. It allowed Hitler to rebuild the German military as appeasement was just a system of yields, compromises and offerings.
                                                                                                          2. The Nazi Soviet Pact
                                                                                                            1. On 23 August 1939 Germany and the USSR signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
                                                                                                              1. Foreign Ministers Molotov (USSR) and Ribbentrop (Germany) struck the deal
                                                                                                                1. Publicly, it was a non-aggression pact
                                                                                                                  1. Secretly, they agreed to divide Poland and the Baltic States between them.
                                                                                                                2. Br & USSR discussed an alliance over the summer of 1939
                                                                                                                  1. The pact was surprising because....
                                                                                                                    1. Lebensraum involved conquering land in the east
                                                                                                                      1. Hitler's hatred of communism made an attack on the USSR almost inevitable
                                                                                                                      2. Stalin signed because....
                                                                                                                        1. He lost patience with the British
                                                                                                                          1. He suspected that the main objective of British foreign policy was to encourage Hitler to head east rather than west.
                                                                                                                            1. He also thought Britain's rejection meant that they were in alliance with Germany
                                                                                                                              1. By making a pact with Hitler, Stalin gained not only half of Poland but time to rearm against a German attack when it came.
                                                                                                                            2. The Outbreak of War
                                                                                                                              1. They had agreed to invade Poland
                                                                                                                                1. Hitler was certain that Br & Fr would fail to defend Poland
                                                                                                                                2. Germany Invaded Poland on 1 Sept 1939
                                                                                                                                  1. Br signed a formal alliance with Poland
                                                                                                                                    1. When Germany ignored Britain's ultimatum to call off the attack, Britain declared war on 3 Sept
                                                                                                                                      1. The USSR invaded Poland on 17 Sept, revealing true reason for N-S Pact
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