Modules for History Lessons
Edited By Uta Fenske, Daniel Groth, Klaus-Michael Guse and Bärbel P. Kuhn
Reasons for Appeasement: The British Empire
Introduction to the Module
Appeasement was the main feature of British foreign policy towards Hitler’s Germany between 1933 and 1939. Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940, was its main driving force. He believed that meeting some of Hitler’s territorial demands in Europe could prevent or at least delay another general European war. Appeasement has important connections with the decline of the British Empire. One reason why Chamberlain believed Appeasement could work was Hitler’s friendly stance towards Britain during the early to mid-1930s, a stance Hitler held partly because he admired the way the British ran their Empire. Chamberlain also believed, wrongly, that one way of appeasing Germany was to return some of the colonial territory it had lost following the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Finally, Chamberlain believed Appeasement could help ensure that Britain would not become committed to too many wars, and would thus be able to continue defending her empire. Appeasement also has important connections with decolonization. Governments in self-governing white-majority dominions demonstrated their increasingly independent attitude by adopting their own views on Appeasement rather than simply falling in line with the British government’s view. The growth of pro-German feeling among white South Africans further fuelled the British government’s fear that its grip on the Empire was weakening, and prompted it to increase its determination to pursue Appeasement. By contrast, Indian nationalists saw Appeasement as a betrayal of small countries, and a further reason to have nothing more to do with Britain...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.