Explain the Main Factors Which Led British Governments to Follow a Policy Of Appeasement in the Period 1931 – March 1938 Essay

In this easy I am going to explain why the British Governments followed a policy of appeasement. There are a number of reasons why the British Governments did this. These reasons consist of Britain’s fear of war, there economic problems, the public’s opinions and many more. I will explain each of these reasons and how they contribute to the British Governments to follow a policy of appeasement.

Britain was in no state to go to war because the state of Britain’s armed forces was poor. Although the navy was in massive size, the RAF and the Army were much smaller than Germanys so there was a risk of Britain being attacked at land as they where weak in the Army and RAF. It was viewed that if Britain went to war again, then it would the risk of splitting its empire due to the reason above. Not only that but there economic problems would play a major part in Britain being destroyed.

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The British government and public were obsessed with economic and social problems between the wars. As a result the problem of unemployment was a burning political issue in Britain between the wars. This financial crisis and unemployment soared, and a National Government was formed in 1931. Britain even abandoned free trade and adopted protective tariffs throughout the British Empire. As the economic problems grew, so did Britain chance of going to war with enemy countries i.e. Germany and so going to war was not possible and instead of war peace had to be arranged between Britain and Germany.

The British public opinion as expressed in general elections and opinion polls reveals strong opposition towards re-armament. In a by-election at East Fulham in October 1933 a pacifist labour candidate gained a seat from a Conservative candidate who campaigned for rearmament. But in 1935 there was a nationwide opinion poll organised by the Peace Pledge Union which showed how unpopular re-armament was with the British public. The crisis put Britain in a tough and dangerous spot as if one small problem was added then Britain would fall apart.

The poor state of Britain’s armed forces influenced the adoption of policy of appeasement. France, Britain’s only firm ally in the 1930s, suffered social and economic problems. On the days that Germany remilitarised the Rhineland in 1936, France was without a government and the French economy was much slower to recover than most other European powers. Unemployment was still rising at which it was falling elsewhere. French government had no leisure for a second world war and tended to wait for Britain to declare a position. Due to the Crisis of French Will Britain was alone at war. With France not to help Britain would split as Britain was too weak to fight against Germany and so Britain followed a policy of appeasement.

There was a widespread feeling in Britain that the Treaty of Versailles had punished Germany too harshly for starting and losing the First World War. This also encouraged German nationalist groups. There were also many provisions i.e. Germany must accept guilt for starting the war, Germany must agree to accept democratic constitution and German fuhrer banned from Rhineland cont. Britain felt guilty for Germany hard punishment and so they where emotional damaged. To stop this from growing the British Government followed a policy of appeasement.

The policy of appeasement offered to Neville Chamberlain was to solve German grievances by peaceful negotiation and save Europe from further death and destruction in a second world war. I have explained the main reasons in why the British Governments followed a policy of appeasement. Most of this was due to the fact that Britain was weak in war statues and another war could split its empire.

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