Timely History: Appeasement

Ever heard the word “appeasement”? If you haven’t yet, I have a feeling it will be coming up quite often.

Let’s do the totally dorky but necessary first step in talking about a big idea and define it! I am going to go with the Cambridge Dictionary because it sounds fancy. “Appeasement” is the act of giving the opposing side in an argument or war an advantage that they have demanded, in order to prevent further disagreement. It’s the equivalent of giving your kid that lollipop that they neither earned nor deserved, but you just want the little terrorist to shut up.

In actual history though, this policy was the prelude to World War II. Now, there are literally thousands upon thousands of books on the seeds of World War II and appeasement. Many countries have a hand in how this all went down. In order to streamline it (because no one wants me to write books), we will focus on Adolf Hitler (who you may know) and Neville Chamberlain (who you probably don’t). Chamberlain was the prime minister of the UK when Hitler came to power, and he is tagged as being the poster boy for the disaster of appeasement.

Hitler eyed a piece of Czechoslovakia known as the “Sudetenland.” There were some ethnic Germans in the area, and he felt he was entitled in bringing them back to Germany (because of course he did). Hitler orchestrated numerous public relations ploys and lied about a bunch of things to drum up his case for taking it over. Luckily, we don’t fall for things like this anymore.

Chamberlain and the UK wanted nothing to do with hostilities after World War I. Chamberlain went ahead and agreed to give Hitler the Sudetenland. Yes, a British Prime Minister gave a dictator territory in another country without talking to them. Chamberlain would pronounce that he secured, “peace for our time.” And it totally worked!

Just kidding, of course it didn’t work. A year later, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and the deadliest war of all time began.   

You can’t hand a megalomaniac free rein and expect him to stop.

My sources:










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