Essentially the Policy of Appeasement did not succeed with the nations it was designed to protect: it failed to prevent war. The failure of the Policy was largely deemed on that Appeasement was misconceived; Hitler’s ambitions to increase Germany’s borders and to expand Lebensraum, stretched much further than the legitimate grievances of Versailles. For example, in 1936 Britain and France allowed the remilitarisation of the Rhineland without any nation intervening with the affairs that could easily be prevented.
Furthermore, it could be said that the real significance is not just that the Policy failed to prevent war, that Appeasement harmed the situation and actually assisted to bring out war. Failing to stop Hitler resulted in Hitler becoming so strong as to be unstoppable.
With Chamberlain following appeasement, this meant that no effort would be made until too late. Assuming he could be stopped at some point, but realistically speaking, it was clearly becoming more and more difficult to stop Hitler with each passing year.
This is shown in 1934 when Hitler was too weak to act over Austria in 1934; however, the Policy of Appeasement allowed Hitler to grow stronger and to later violate the treaty of Versailles when he introduced conscription in 1935.
The Policy of Appeasement eventually became recognized as short term fix when it was made clear that the Policy would not stop Hitler and war was inevitable. However, Britain and France failed to intervene when Hitler’s grievances stretched much further than the original legitimate plans.
By letting Hitler carry on strengthened him. Perhaps the clearest example came in 1936 when Hitler took the gamble to reoccupy the Rhineland. Following past experience, Great Britain appeased Germany, with the view “They are only going into their back garden; they have a right to defend their own territory.”
Yet France could have easily eliminated German forces on the justification of upholding Versailles, but of Locarno too in 1925 as well which Germany herself had agreed to. By choosing this option and appeasing Hitler, not only was the chance to stop Hitler lost, but Hitler became sensationally popular for having achieved an overturning of Versailles and could now dictate to his Generals.
However, the arising issue of the Sudetenland gave an opportunity to turn the tables. Yet Chamberlain chose to appease. Losing two possible allies doing so, the Czechs would clearly have made a significant ally and Stalin too was serious in his commitment from 1935 to aid the Czechs against Germany if France did so.
Alternatively, the Policy of Appeasement proved useful for one thing. Appeasement bought Nations time to rearm. When War was clearly inevitable, Chamberlain knew this was only a temporary fix from 1938 and believed that continuing with the Policy would buy as much time as possible, even if it was aiding Hitler in doing so. No other choice was available.
This proved to be exceptionally useful. Britain only had 128 AA guns in 1928, in September one year later, Britain had over 4,000 different AA guns. Again, Britain had no searchlights ready in 1938 but had over 4,000 in 1939.
Appeasement was unquestionably followed by Britain and France to avoid the horrors of another World War. The mood of pacifism was immensely strong and few could believe that another such conflict could ever be justified. However, if Chamberlain had perhaps realized that Appeasement was in fact aiding Hitler, he perhaps would have not followed the Policy entirely.
In fact, perhaps the Policy of Appeasement should have never been put into action at all. The only use it came to was the time it bought to rearm, yet they would have never have had to give away the Sudetenland and lose valuable allies if Appeasement had never been brought up, or at least to only follow legitimate grievances. In conclusion, the Policy of Appeasement failed. Not only that it didn’t prevent war is that it drew War closer.
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