Appeasement: Source Material

Appeasement was the policy adopted in the 1930s with the aim of preventing the outbreak of a conflict with Nazi Germany. The policy was contentious at the time but received support from many who remembered the horrors of the First World War and were willing to be as flexible as possible in the hope of avoiding a repeat. The policy can be traced to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor. It is best remembered for the 1938 Munich Agreement, after which the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, famously promised ‘Peace in our time’. Appeasement came to an abrupt end when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The policy has been defended by those who note that the Treaty of Versailles had been harsh and that many of the demands made by the German state were based on the principles of self-determination or aimed at improving German the economy. It is also defended on the basis that the Western Powers of Britain and France knew in the mid-1930s that they were not prepared to engage in war: nor was the Wehrmacht. Opponents at the time and historians since have stated that the policy played into Hitler’s hands. Far from reducing the risk of war, it increased it by making the German Reich ever more confident. 

Sources on Appeasement and attitudes towards Hitler’s Regime

Political Organisations and Appeasement

Image 1

Conservative Christmas Card Cover, 1938
Believe it or not, this photograph appeared on the front of Christmas Cards sent out by Conservative Party Associations in 1938. Whether it was officially sanctioned or not is unclear but it is held in the party archives. It illustrates the pride that the authorities had in achieving the Munich Agreement and significance of Appeasement as a policy.

Sudetenland

Image 2

Inside of the 1938 Christmas Card, signed by R G Rosie
The inside of one of the Christmas Cards. In this case signed by R. G. Rosie. One blog suggests that this may have been the Kings physician, though we can not verify that.

Image 3

Swastika was raised over Cardiff City Hall on the orders of the Lord Mayor. This was following the Munich Agreement. The British, French and Italian flags were also flown.
A swastika was raised over Cardiff City Hall on the orders of the Lord Mayor. This was following the Munich Agreement. The British, French and Italian flags were also flown.

Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement

Sports and Appeasement

Image 4

The England Football Team were told to give the Nazi Salute for diplomatic reasons when they played Germany in 1938. The players had objected but were convinced that politically it was a sensible move.
The England Football Team were told to give the Nazi Salute for diplomatic reasons when they played Germany in 1938. The players had objected but were convinced that politically it was a sensible move. It shows that it was not just politicians expected to undertake policies of Appeasement.

International Relations in the Inter-War Years

Image 5

Derby County players were asked to perform the Nazi Salute on a tour of Germany in 1934. As you can see in the photograph, the goalkeeper, Jack Kirby, refused.
Derby County players were asked to perform the Nazi Salute on a tour of Germany in 1934. As you can see in the photograph, the goalkeeper, Jack Kirby, refused.

Image 6

In 1938 the German National team played in Ireland. They and many dignitaries performed the Nazi Salute during the anthems. At the return fixture in 1939, the Republic of Ireland team also performed the Nazi Salute.
In 1938 the German National team played in Ireland. They and many dignitaries performed the Nazi Salute during the anthems. At the return fixture in 1939, the Republic of Ireland team also performed the Nazi Salute.

Image 7

Helene Mayer on the podium at the Berlin Olympics, 1936. Helene was a German Jew. The authorities wanted to present a positive image of themselves to the world and Helene's participation was one way of doing that. She had little choice but to salute, the ramifications for her family would have been huge had she refused.
Helene Mayer on the podium at the Berlin Olympics, 1936. Helene was a German Jew. The authorities wanted to present a positive image of themselves to the world and Helene’s participation was one way of doing that. She had little choice but to salute, the ramifications for her family would have been huge had she refused.

Persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany

Edward, Duke of Windsor

Image 8

Edward, Duke of Windsor, on an unofficial visit to Germany in 1937.
Edward, Duke of Windsor, on an unofficial visit to Germany in 1937.

Image 9

Edward, Duke of Windsor
Another photograph of Edward, Duke of Windsor’s unofficial visit to Germany.

Image 10

Edward, Duke of Windsor, with Nazi dignitaries whilst on his 1937 visit.
Edward, Duke of Windsor, with Nazi dignitaries whilst on his 1937 visit.

Image 11

Edward, Duke of Windsor
Edward, Duke of Windsor, 1937 visit to Germany.

Anti-Nazi Sentiment in the Western Press

Image 12

Anti-Nazi caricature of Wilhelm II and Hitler. Titled "I laughed at that in 1914, too" and published by the New York Times on 20 November 1938.
Anti-Nazi caricature of Wilhelm II and Hitler. Titled “I laughed at that in 1914, too” and published by the New York Times on 20 November 1938.

Image 13

Anti-Nazi caricature of Hitler, Göring and Goebbels, commenting on the November Pogrom of 1938. Titled "And Pharaoh hardened his heart, he and his servants" and published in London’s The Bulletin on 14 November 1938.
Anti-Nazi caricature of Hitler, Göring and Goebbels, commenting on the November Pogrom of 1938. Titled “And Pharaoh hardened his heart, he and his servants” and published in London’s The Bulletin on 14 November 1938.

Image 14

Anti-Nazi cartoon depicting a German Jew carrying the swastika on his back. Titled “The Cross” and published by New Zealand Herald on 17 November 1938.
Anti-Nazi cartoon depicting a German Jew carrying the swastika on his back. Titled “The Cross” and published by New Zealand Herald on 17 November 1938.

Do you want to find other Primary Sources for use in your lessons, or for research purposes? Visit our Primary Sources page to see which areas we currently have a range of sources for.

Weimar and Nazi Germany

Knowledge Rich History Resources

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.