The Appeasement Policy -1-

I will examine the main differences between the Containment Policy and the Appeasement Policy. The first one is Appeasement and Britain.

The concept of Appeasement is a policy aimed at ensuring negotiations in foreign policy. Different definitions have also been made due to differences of opinion among historians. For example, Gordon Craig and Alexander George saw Appeasement policy as a methodological method. According to them, this policy is a methodological minimization of the causes of disputes between the two states  (Rock, 2014). Historian Paul Kenedy, who examined how Appeasement policy followed the path in the historical process, said at the beginning that this strategy was a more positive, solution-oriented, and goodwill-based definition. But, he explained after examples where this strategy was implemented and ended in failure, there were also changes in the definition of this concept (Kennedy, 1976).

However, Hans Morgenthau also considered the Appeasement policy from an unsuccessful perspective. According to him, this strategy is that the state renounces its very important national interests without almost any positive returns for reaching a solution. This also does not make political sense (Morgenthau, 1982). For Possony and Strauz-Hupé, on the other hand, the Appeasement Policy is a strategy in which states compromise their own interests to prevent war. This strategy is no different from any strategy made in the name of reconciliation (Strausz-Hupé & Possony, 1950).


The broad definition of Appeasement policy is given in the book “The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy”. Accordingly, this strategy is a method of making a reasonable level of concessions to correct foreign policy wrongs. This method, which arises from the desire to maintain peace, is aimed to provide the necessary environment for peace in the international arena. This policy was especially implemented against Hitler by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930s. In England, this Appeasement Policy, which actually started with Baldwin, continued with Chamberlain, who would almost identify with his name in the future (Berridge & Lloyd, 2012).

Adolf Hitler had become chancellor of Germany in January 1933. From this point on, Hitler's policies gradually began to take effect. Hitler did not first participate in the disarmament agreements organized by the League of Nations on behalf of Germany. Thus, Britain, based on Germany's rhetoric and movements, announced Germany as an enemy of Britain in the long term (Rock, 2014). But before all this, the process of Germany being considered a threat can be dated back to 1919. In those years, after the conclusion of the first World War, steps were taken to create a new world order. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, signed by Germany, imposed heavy obligations on the country. The number of the German army was considerably reduced and the strength of the Navy was limited. Along with these, the winning States put the state under a huge debt in order to weaken Germany (McDonough, 1998).

Since it was quite clear that Germany could not meet the terms of this heavy treaty, Britain actually began to lay the foundations of the Appeasement Policy during this period. Because it is clear that Germany, which cannot meet the terms of the treaty, will pose a threat to the international order that is wanted to be established. During this period, Britain did not take a stand against Germany when the Dawes and Young plans were discussed in 1924 and 1929 on the restructuring of Germany's debts. On the contrary, he took steps in favor of Germany and brought an end to the occupation in the Ruhr region. He also supported Germany's membership in the League of Nations (Embel, 2019).

Despite all this, especially the “Great Depression", which had an impact in 1929 and along with fascism, which began to manifest itself in world politics, the first steps taken by Britain for appeasement policy were not enough. Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922, is one of the greatest examples of this fascism. Hitler also began to ignore the provisions of the Versailles Treaty in this chaotic environment of world politics. Hitler's attitude, which did not first participate in the League of Nations disarmament meetings, was eventually replaced by the armament program, which came into force in 1935. Britain has already signed the British-German Naval (Forces) Agreement in 1935 to fix Germany's armament to a certain level, in line with the appeasement policy it has laid the foundations for (Thornton, 2011).

Although Britain continued to make concessions in line with the policy of Appeasement, Germany also continued its goal of getting rid of the Versailles agreement. Although Germany unfairly occupied the Rhineland region in 1936, France and Britain, which did not want war, did not react. In the face of this policy, Hitler turned his direction to Austria, although it was forbidden with Versailles, in order to unite the Germans. Perhaps taking power from the Appeasement Policy, Hitler first invaded the territory of Austria and then Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia suddenly found itself alone against Germany, and Chamberlain even agreed to leave the Sudetenland region to Germany (Embel, 2019).

Despite all the concessions Chamberlain made, diplomatic paths were also tried before the start of the war, but the war seemed inevitable. On September 30, 1938, Chamberlain returned from his meeting with Hitler in Munich, even heralding a new peace to the crowd waiting for him. The British prime minister believed that peace would be restored when Germany formalized its annexation permit to the Sudetenland region. But on the contrary, shortly after this negotiation, Germany invaded both Czechoslovakia and Poland. With these developments, despite Chamberlain's policies and all the concessions he made, the war began again (Rock, 2014).



Berridge, G., & Lloyd, L. (2012). The Palgrave Macmillan dictionary of diplomacy: Springer.

Embel, E. (2019). Yatıştırma Politikası. Retrieved from

Kennedy, P. M. (1976). The tradition of appeasement in British foreign policy 1865-1939. British Journal of International Studies, 2(3), 195-215. 

McDonough, F. (1998). Neville Chamberlain, appeasement, and the British road to war: Manchester University Press.

Morgenthau, H. J. (1982). In Defense of the National Interest: A Critical Examination of American Foreign Policy: University Press of America.

Rock, S. R. (2014). Appeasement in international politics: University Press of Kentucky.

Strausz-Hupé, R., & Possony, S. T. (1950). International Relations in the Age of the Conflict between Democracy and Dictatorship: McGraw-Hill.

Thornton, B. S. (2011). The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama's America: Encounter Books.