How Did Pacifism Influence The Policy Of Appeasement?

Good Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Since the Treaty was enforced by nuclear powers in our scenario, and rational leaders would be deterred by this fact before violating the Treaty. However, due to Hitler’s ambition for empire, he can be categorized as an irrational leader, so I don’t believe he would be deterred by nuclear weapons. For Hitler, undoing the Treaty was the first step in accomplishing his desire for empire. Besides, at a times when Germany started violating the Treaty, countries worldwide were suffering from Great Depression, France and Britain were still recovering from WWI. From Hitler’s point of view, the French and British were too weak to enforce the Treaty.…

    • 1047 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Britain also controlled a powerful fleet which had set up an economic blockade of Germany. Because trade no longer existed with Germany at the time, war-related goods escalated greatly which would be able to pull America’s economy out of their current dilemma. Roosevelt, on the other hand, wanted to be included in the war. With the United States still trying to climb out of the depression, he wanted to protect his investments he had with Britain. One part of the Neutrality Act of 1937, allowed nations to acquire any items by having them pay and carry them away.…

    • 763 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The United States’ decision to enter World War I was initially met with negative public opinion. The sheer diversity of the U.S. population made it impossible to support the effort. President Woodrow Wilson, who also wanted to be “neutral in fact as well as in name”, originally hoped to influence the postwar arrangements between the belligerents. However, he was compelled by German attacks on American people and the country’s integrity, leading him to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. The Germans had dishonored previous agreements and they had provoked the United States with threats to take away land the country had rightfully gained.…

    • 1194 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Resolving disputes without the bloodshed of war, may not always be the best option for humanity. Winston Churchill, a member of Parliament, claimed that Chamberlain made a major mistake when it came to the Munich settlement. He argued that Britain’s decision to not go to war against Germany would have serious repercussions on all of Europe. By settling the dispute peacefully with the Nazi’s, this would only encourage Hitler to claim more territory in Europe. Churchill’s speech to Parliament proved to be significant in the twentieth century as he was right in the fact that Britain should have gone to war against Germany.…

    • 1092 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Soviets were trying to expand their empire and the U.S. was trying to destroy communism. The Soviet Union started the Cold War and the U.S.’s response to the threat was to spread capitalism. Though one could argue that the U.S.’s interest in parts of the world far from the States caused the Soviets to protect their beliefs, the United States was trying to defend freedom of the individual. This was seen as a way to avoid future armed conflicts. The Cold War was a response to the effects communism was having on the world.…

    • 1443 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    During the years 1933-37 Britain’s foreign policy was to appease potential enemies to sustain peace. This policy was particularly emphasised when Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 and began to reverse the Treaty of Versailles. It was also highlighted by Neville Chamberlain becoming Prime Minister in 1937, as he believed strongly in appeasement. This policy can be seen to be weak and ineffective because of the way that the British dealt with the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935 and Hitler’s early moves when he first came to power. However if the context is taken in to account, it may seem understandable that the British would want to avoid war at all costs because of their limited armed forces and strong anti-war feelings amongst the general public.…

    • 1221 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Cold War began after World War II between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both had different beliefs because the Soviet Union is communist and the United States is capitalist. Each side wanted to dominate the world by forcing other countries to become either communist or capitalist. Because each side had different beliefs, Americans viewed communism as evil and it had an impact on American religion. The Cold War shaped American religious ideals because it elicited a stronger Christian faith, influenced civil religion and linked them to other countries such as Israel, Iran and Afghanistan.…

    • 1159 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Kaiser’s argument that Britain would not risk war with its ‘contemptibly small army’ over a little scrap of paper’ to defend Belgium neutrality was naive at best. Germany wanted a war and Germany engineered the situation to provoke war. The Kaiser’s long held ambitions for imperial, military and political dominance provided the coals for war and the Balkan crisis of 1914 provided the spark. Therefore Austria, Russia and Serbia should some responsibility for causing a localised regional war but Germany shoulders the most responsibility for a European wide conflict we know as the Great war/ First World…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    If this was the case, appeasement failed. The second possible way Chamberlain used appeasement would have been to stall long enough to be in a position to go to war against Hitler. Chamberlain’s motivation for this may have come from a possible realization that war was inevitable as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, and from the knowledge that with time the British military, navy, and air force could be made ready to fight again. None of this, however, was ready by the time Hitler began to break clauses from the Treaty of Versailles, and so Chamberlain may have adopted this policy to buy time for the military to prepare. If this was how Chamberlain used appeasement, the policy ultimately succeed when the Allies won WWII.…

    • 1131 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They both had a good argument for each stance. Churchill wanted to keep Germany from thinking they could do whatever they wanted, he felt it would have been better to show Germany that they couldn’t just do whatever they wanted. Chamberlain believed that to start another war was not in the best intentions of Europe. Many nations were still rebuilding from the last war and no one was ready for another devastating conflict like the last one. I believe that these arguments of both men can be related to today’s time.…

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays