How Did Pacifism Influence The Policy Of Appeasement?

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During the 1930s successive British governments adopted appeasement as their policy for dealing with Germany in the hope that it would prevent another war on the scale of the Great War. Pacifist attitudes among the British public was one reasons for this policy, however there were other reasons such as the fact that Britain implemented appeasement as Hitler’s demands appeared justifiable, the British military was not ready for war and Britain was lacking in reliable allies that would support them should war breakout. Finally, a fear of Communism spreading from Russia also prompted Britain’s policy of appeasement. This essay will argue that while pacifism did influence the government, it is more realistic to argue that it was these factors combined …show more content…
The results of the Fulham East by-election in 1933, the Peace Pledge Union’s popularity and the support for pacifism highlighted in the League of Nations Peace Ballots in 1935 and 19377 signalled to the government that the public were overwhelmingly in favour of peace. The bomber developed in the 1930s also convinced both the public and the government that there was a necessity for the maintaining of peace by avoiding war at all costs. This came after Stanley Baldwin stated in the Commons in 1933 that, ‘the bomber will always get through’ which resulted in the government’s acknowledgment of the threats of modern warfare and the destruction they could cause, showing that appeasement was the best option to avoid a war with unprecedented devastation. Similarly, the attacks on Guernica shown in the press and newsreels contributed to this fear of modern warfare by showing visually the true extent of damage and loss of lives which bombing could cause. Overall, it is arguable that the overwhelming support for pacifism throughout Britain influenced politicians as they understood that if they ignored the views of the electorate they could face being voted out of Parliament. Pacifism’s importance is clear in the fact that 71% of those balloted by the League of Nations in 1937 believed that they were the best method of keeping peace within Britain showing its importance as a reason for Britain’s adoption of the …show more content…
The fear of Communism spread throughout Europe in the 1930s after the Russian Revolution resulted in Russia becoming a Communist country. However, by allowing Germany to regain their strength Britain would be protected from Communist ideologies reaching the UK. The threat of Communism’s importance as a reason is clear when historian Ian Kershaw stated, ‘Germany was seen as the best hope of preventing the spread of Bolshevism.’ Therefore, highlighting that Germany’s strength was imperative to Britain if they wanted the security of their democracy ensured. In 1933 Lord Rothermere expressed in the Daily Mail that, ‘Sturdy young Nazis’ were Europe’s guardian against the Communist danger’ emphasising that not only was it important for Britain that Germany regained their strength so that they could combat communism before it reached the UK, but also that during this time Nazism was more favourably than Communism. Overall, it is arguable that the fear of Communism influenced the government into adopting a policy of appeasement as Britain would then be protected from the spread of Bolshevism. However, it also shows that had the demands of Hitler not appeared justifiable and the overwhelming support for peace spreading throughout the UK, then the government may have acted more forcefully against the developments in Germany leaving them open to the threat of

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