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Essay on Responsibility for WW II


FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Nov 1, 2007   #1
Hello,

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback? Thank you very much!

The prompt is:

After 1934, Prime Minister of Britain Neville Chamberlain and French Premier Edouard Daladier followed a policy of appeasement. They believed that Adolf Hitler had legitimate and reasonable changes to the Treaty of Versailles--rearmament in 1934, the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the political union with Austria, and so on. They strove to satisfy Hitler's demands by allowing these changes although they were blatant violations of the 1919 peace settlement. Despite allowing Hitler to make these changes, Europe was again at war in Sep 1939, signifying the failure of the appeasement policy. In response address two related questions: were Chamberlain and Daladier correct in acquiescing to Hitler's demands? Why did the policy fail to prevent war in Sep 1939?

Thank you in advance
Frederic


Despite all the efforts deployed by nations that had fought during WW I because they did not want to reiterate such a bloody experience, once more, a global conflict broke out in September 1939. The policy of appeasement initiated by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier are often cited as the main cause of the outbreak of WW II. However, before condemning those political leaders as scapegoats, one should reconsider the situation between the two World Wars and the protagonists' aims in those days. Although no one could assert that Chamberlain and Daladier were correct in acquiescing to Hitler's demands, they had strong arguments to advocate a policy of appeasement during the 1930s, despite it proved a failure to prevent WW II.

The assessment of the appropriateness of Chamberlain and Daladier's acquiescence to Hitler's demands is at the heart of a highly controversial debate, nonetheless, some historical elements can shed light on the underlying reasons that incited those political leaders to act this way. First, reminiscences of the carnages of WW I battlefields prevented Chamberlain and Daladier from considering aggressive foreign policies that could trigger off a bloody global conflict. The European population had been decimated during the Great War and the survivors had had to suffer from the Great Depression during the 1930s. Consequently, Europeans had not voted to be leaded by belligerent political leaders and they would have not backed Chamberlain and Daladier if they had wanted to wage war once more. Europeans wanted to benefit from durable peace and democratic political systems. Moreover, Chamberlain and Daladier might have noticed that industrialization had not only permitted to improve the quality of the military arsenal but that mass production had also greatly augmented the quantity of that military hardware. Accordingly, Chamberlain and Daladier might have feared that another war could have annihilated civilization. Furthermore, Europeans, who so deeply cherished peace, feared Russia more than Germany. On the one hand, Stalin had never hidden his desire to propagate communism all over the world and the European populations knew that that spread could only happen through revolution, namely at least political confrontations or at worst war. On the other hand, Hitler had always firmly taken a firm stand against communism and Europeans, especially Great Britain and France, which might have thought that Germany could act as a buffer in case the Soviets would have desired to launch an attack against western European countries. Subsequently, for Europeans and their political leaders, Hitler might have appeared as a lesser evil. Finally, one could argue that such a policy was an incentive to Hitler's desires of military and political expansion and that more coercive policies could have been implemented. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that during the 1930s, Germany carried out a fierce economic competition with Great Britain and France and was on the verge of becoming the economic European leader thanks to its domestic policy. Therefore, Chamberlain and Daladier might have deemed that it would be more advantageous at first to agree to Hitler's requirements. Actually, the rearmament of Great Britain and France with large amounts of state-of-the-art weaponries would have allowed Chamberlain and Daladier to utilize those deterrents to thwart Hitler's political greed.

The causes of the failure of Chamberlain and Daladier's policy of appeasement in the 1930s might be rooted in Hitler's three main objectives. First, Hitler wanted to abolish the Treaty of Versailles because he considered that Germany was not responsible for initiating WW I (as specified in the War Guilt clause). Furthermore, he thought that the pecuniary reparations that Germany was required to pay for the damage caused by the war were disproportionate. Moreover, Hitler deemed that the extreme reduction of the German army added to the demilitarisation of the Rhineland were excessive requests. Besides, Hitler estimated that the interdiction of an Anschluss with another country (especially Austria) was an unbearable demand, as well. Consequently, the policy of appeasement was unable to hamper Hitler's desire to put an end to the Treaty of Versailles because it was an intolerable reminder to Hitler of the Germans' humiliation caused by the Triple Entente. Second, Hitler had to face practical considerations such as the growing German population, which needed new territories to live comfortably. Hitler felt that if the expansion of the German national territory failed to happen he could not be in a position to satisfy Germans' needs and, thus, he could not be backed by a sufficiently substantial political basis to wage war against its enemies. Hitler knew that the achievement of his political future was based on its ability to integrate his people's needs into his political agenda; and those two requirements could be fulfilled through the conquest of lands in Eastern Europe. Subsequently, the policy of appeasement was not efficient to stop Hitler's desire to fulfil his people's wishes, especially since this promoted the pursuit of his political rise. Third, Hitler was determined to obliterate communism, which was exactly his opposite political belief, through a war against the Soviets. Hitler was so resolute in his actions that he was clever enough to sign a German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact on August 23, 1939, while he had already planned to invade Russia. Hitler was in no way deprived of political acumen. In case Chamberlain and Daladier had managed to entail Hitler to sign a peace agreement, this accord would have remained a bogus document for the Führer.

Finally, it appears that Hitler's ambitions had been largely minimized by European political leaders. Europeans also failed to assess Hitler's true political determination for reaching his objectives. However, only armed with their benevolence, European leaders completely came to naught with estimating the Führer's actual political aspirations and, above all, the fact he went to a lot of trouble to achieve his goals, at all costs. Instead of asking whether the appeasement policy failed to prevent war in September 1939, one should better ask whether any policy could have stopped Hitler. Consequently, instead of heaping reproaches on Chamberlain and Daladier for their alleged inefficiency, one should bear in mind that they have done their best to preserve peace and prevent a global conflict whereas Hitler was firmly determined to enter war; he has been the sole person to blame for WW II.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Nov 1, 2007   #2
Greetings!

I'm happy to provide feedback on your excellent essay!

they had strong arguments to advocate a policy of appeasement during the 1930s, despite it proved a failure to prevent WW II. - You could say "despite its proving to be a failure at preventing WWII" or or "despite the fact that it proved to be a failure" or "despite its failure to prevent WWII" [that would be my choice].

Consequently, Europeans had not voted to be led by belligerent political leaders

Moreover, Chamberlain and Daladier might have noticed that industrialization had not only permitted improvement in the quality of the military arsenal

Hitler had always firmly taken a firm stand against communism, and Europeans, especially Great Britain and France, [delete "which"] might have thought that Germany could act as a buffer

Subsequently, the policy of appeasement was not efficient to stop Hitler's desire to fulfill his people's wishes,

one should bear in mind that they did their best to preserve peace and prevent a global conflict whereas Hitler was firmly determined to enter war; he is the sole person to blame for WW II.

Great work!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com


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