A gripping new history of the British appeasement of the Third Reich in the lead up to World War II
On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain stepped off a plane and prepared to address the crowd of journalists, Cabinet Ministers and well-wishers waiting at Heston airfield. Chamberlain had just returned from Munich, where he had averted the greatest crisis of the century. Under his leadership, Britain and France had conceded the German-speaking fringe of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, after which the FUhrer was persuaded to sign a joing declaration symbolizing "the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again." The cost had been high, but Chamberlain's eleventh-hour gamble had, the Prime Minister boasted, secured "peace for our time." Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the deadliest conflict in human history began.
Appeasement is a groundbreaking history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Hitler's domination of Europe. Drawing on deep archival research and sources not previously seen by historians, Tim Bouverie has created an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, dukes and debutantes who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe.
Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, we embark on a fascinating journey from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us inside the 10 Downing Street of Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin and into the backrooms of Parliament—where an unusual coalition of Conservative rebels, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, and opposition MPs were among the few to realize that the only real choice was between "war now or war later." And as German troops enter the demilitarized Rhineland, march into Austria and threaten to invade Czechoslovakia, he takes us into the drawing rooms and dinner clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even members of the Royal Family.
Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasement is not only an eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing against authoritarianism—and the calamity that results from failing.
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