GCSE History - Rate my answer! *urgent*Watch
I'm taking OCR GCSE Modern World History B - currently an A grade student and aiming for an A*. I answered this question at home using a past paper in around thirty minutes including a plan - is this the right amount of time to be spend on a 10-marker?
If you're an A* History student, a teacher, an expert, or whoever - just have a read and please tell me how I can improve it.
How far was the policy of appeasement justified? Explain your answer. (10 marks)
A strong reason for appeasement’s justness was the fact that Chamberlain, in 1939, prioritised the interests of the British public when negotiating with Hitler. The scathing effects of the four-year WW1 still resonated in Britain – leaving a £7 billion war debt and fear of further fighting. Plus the Depression put Britain into vulnerability as it did with many other areas of the world. Therefore the British thought, alongside Chamberlain, that the thought of keeping international peace was far more valuable than defying an aggressor on a situation which was ‘too far away’ in Europe for their concern anyway. Not only this but it gave Britain time to re-arm in preparation for war – 1937 saw the drafting of a National Register, etc. so we know that Chamberlain foresaw war anyway but here, like the public, he was fearful of a war. So appeasement was reasonable because Chamberlain was following the desires of most people in Britain.
However, some of France and Britain’s movements (or the lack of, even) from 1938-1939 were questionable and arguably unjust. Hitler’s militaristic wishes to put troops into the Sudetenland broke the Treaty of Versailles in 1938 – but this was not the first time. Hitler re-armed in 1936, for instance. Not only did this break the Versailles treaty, but the ostentatious ‘Freedom to Re-arm’ military rally humiliated the upholders of Versailles as Hitler was openly contravening the terms and it was obvious nothing was being done about it. The annexation of Austria also broke the Versailles treaty – so making a second demand to put troops into the Sudetenland after already have broken some rules to take it should’ve been the final straw. Yet nothing was done and appeasement continued when it shouldn’t have – it wasn’t deserved by Hitler. So appeasement was unjust in this sense.
Contrarily, the threat of Communism and fascism was an understandably powerful factor in the Allies’ appeasement policy. In the shadow of the 1917 Russian revolution, where the world had witnessed Russia fall under Communism, after many aggressive fascist conflicts such as Manchuria in 1931 and Abyssinia in 1935, war due to a host of many other factors was feared. At the time the fear of these ideologies spreading to Western Europe was larger than the fear of Hitler, whom with some Britons agreed with policy-wise at this point anyway. So the Allies trusted and wanted to appease Hitler in the hope of him providing a strong buffer against Communism – the Allies were so worried about Communism etc that they were willing to forget past disputes not directly involving them and rely on Nazi Germany for protection of their own countries. So I see a strong justifiable point for appeasement in the desperation of security from Communism and fascism.
However, the lack of action from Britain and France not only made Hitler unworthy of appeasement, but it also propelled Hitler forward. In 1934, Hitler tried to break the Treaty of Versailles by invading Austria, but was stopped by Mussolini who put troops on the border. This showed that Hitler would’ve probably been able to have been nipped in the bud if there was military force imposed on him at the beginnings of his expansionist agenda. Yet France and Britain failed to act in 1936 through to the Czech crisis happening at this point. Mussolini was growing in power – but Italy had not been as influential as France or Britain – so the fact that even Mussolini could’ve offset Hitler with real force proves that Hitler perhaps would’ve been permanently stopped or been forced to tone down his agenda if the great powers of France and Britain had acted to stop him. So Hitler’s advance evolved from a gamble in the Rhineland to a confident series of demands for non-abidance to the Versailles treaty – all fuelled by France and Britain’s indifference. So their lack of action here, synonymous with appeasement, was totally not justified as it let Hitler continue in confidence, provoking war eventually.
Yet Germany had not been the only side-steppers of the Versailles treaty. Britain and France had broken it too – for example, the 1921 Invasion of the Ruhr. The League of Nation’s aims were to discourage aggression, yet this was a direct breaking of the Treaty – yet nothing had been done to Britain and France. So perhaps the appeasement in 1938/9 was to compensate Germany for its past shortcomings, which was justifiable and perhaps a reason for why they were less harsh, to be understanding of Germany’s attitude.
Although appeasement was, for a large part, for the imperialist action of protecting Britain and France’s empire. Through WW1 it was obvious to see that imperialism was a recipe for disaster – yet France and Britain were fearful of their colonies (refusal to disarm in the 1925 conference, for instance) etc being threatened if Hitler decided to attack as a result of their aggression. If they had made it clear to Hitler that the mark was being outstepped, and prioritised European safety more than the freedom of their colonies and made an real attack as soon as possible (which were for the most part not self-determined anyway), perhaps Hitler would’ve been nipped in the bud. So this foolish value of empire on the Allies’ part made appeasement unjustified.
So, in conclusion, the policy of appeasement was not justified at the time because its aftermath could’ve only meant war, which it didn’t prevent anyway – and therefore was not a justifiable solution to the problem. People in Britain may have supported it – and it did give some short time to re-arm, but as we know with Britain and France appeasing aggressors (e.g. those involved in Manchuria and Abyssinia) was just bound to end in catastrophe. They foolishly trusted moral persuasion and valued their empires more, and also let Hitler confidently break the Versailles treaty – so naturally trusting of moral persuasion at such a late stage in Hitler’s agenda was useless in the face of a determined aggressor.
Are you sure you can write that much in exam conditions? It seems too detailed for the number of marks available and the time you have in the actual exam. Definitely 10/10 but I doubt you can write that much in the time you have.