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Why did Britain adopt a policy of appeasement? There were many reasons why Britain adopted a policy of appeasement!

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Presentation on theme: "Why did Britain adopt a policy of appeasement? There were many reasons why Britain adopted a policy of appeasement!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why did Britain adopt a policy of appeasement? There were many reasons why Britain adopted a policy of appeasement!

2 Economic Reasons The economy during this period was too weak The Great War and depression in 1929 had damaged Britain’s economy The Government of Britain felt it was not able to cope with another war whilst. Which may last many years again Propaganda manly by Germany, highlighted the economic achievements of European dictators Therefore, due to a weak economy appeasement seemed the best policy.

3 Public Opinion against war Horrors of WW1 still fresh in people’s minds In the East Fulham by-election, a Conservative candidate in favour of rearmament lost his 3000 majority to a Labour candidate in favour of appeasement – this showed public against war British were reliant on the League of Nations doing its job.

4 British propaganda also promoted appeasement 9 million homes had wireless (radio) and people attended cinemas at least weekly These means of reaching the bigger audiences were used to the full to promote pacifism. Britain’s 2 major newspapers, the Times and Mail were pro appeasement

5 Governments attitude to Versailles British Government had always felt the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany Many of Hitler’s request were seen as not too unreasonable. The remilitarisation of Rhineland was seen as Hitler “going into his own back yard” His taking of Austria was, after the plebiscite “what the people wanted” Britain had also made agreements with Hitler (anti- naval) It seemed there was no real reasons to confront Hitler’s actions and start war.

6 A lack of reliable allies In order to go to war Britain would have to rely on her allies, this she could not do! There seemed no alternative to appeasement as collective security had failed miserably France was divided by internal politics and was not viewed as a reliable ally ‘she can never keep a secret for more than half an hour or a government for more than 9 months’

7 America had retreated into isolation and had made it quite clear she did not wish to become embroiled in “European Wars” Russia had become Communist and this was far more concerning than Germany and Hitler. Italy and Japan under Fascist governments, had embarked on dangerous careers of aggression Britain therefore without suitable allies had no option but to promote a policy of appeasement.

8 Weakness of the armed forces After the “Great Depression” of 1929 and the costs of the Great War, British military spending had been reduced Chiefs of Staff had regularly informed government of their military weaknesses Only had 120 aircraft after WW1 Rearmament would be very costly Hitler it was believed, after his successful propaganda campaigns, had rebuilt his armed forces to a strong level To fight Hitler’s Germany with a weakened army would have frightening consequences Appeasement, therefore seemed the best policy

9 Fear of the rise of Communism Communism in the 20s and 30s was seen as a bigger threat to world peace than Germany Chamberlain wanted to come to terms with Germany to provide ‘a strong bulwark against the spread of Bolshevism’ (Communist rulers Bolsheviks) Many people felt less threatened by Hitler than the threat from the spread of Communism Mussolini and Franco viewed as helping to attack Communism Overall there was a belief that the Nazi regime would become less brutal and racist when they were secure in power General feeling that it was “better Hitlerism than Communism”

10 Concern for her Empire Many of the arguments in favour of non intervention were based around the belief that much of the trouble was too far away and why get involved. Neville Chamberlain was an ardent supporter of appeasement. He was appalled by the prospect of the British Empire having to fight a war against the Japanese in the Far East, the Italians in Africa and the Germans in Europe, effectively a war on 3 fronts

11 He saw little chance of help from America which was invaluable in WW1 or from Dominion Prime Ministers in South Africa who had previously stated there reluctance to become involved, Australia and Canada There help was essential and recognised in WW1 and British efforts would be futile without them

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