The Treaty of Versailles sought to make Germany pay reparations for their part in causing World War I. The humiliation engendered by such reparations caused so much resentment on the part of the German populace at the time that Adolf Hitler was able to ascend politically to the point that he became Chancellor in 1933 (Germany’s Chancellorship is that country’s version of Canada’s office of Prime Minister).
However, another reason for Hitler’s rise to power and ability to create the issues that led to World War II was the policy of appeasement that prevailed in Britain in the years leading up to 1939. Appeasement basically means to let people walk all over you. Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Britain in 1939, said there would be ‘peace in our time’ due to the ratification of the Munich Agreement. Winston Churchill saw this for the drivel it was. He knew that Britain had to take a hard line with Hitler and built up the navy and weaponry accordingly. Churchill was not perfect, and Chamberlain was not the devil, but Churchill had a markedly superior understanding of the realities behind what Hitler was doing.
Originally, Hitler pretended that he just wanted control over states that had previously been under German control. However, as time went on, it became evident that his plans of domination far exceeded what he had originally pretended. My political satire, Melisande’s Lingerie Closet, mocks the idea of appeasement so if you would like to read the introduction to that book, please click on My Writing.
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