BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 2480

Was appeasement a cowardly policy?

Was appeasement a cowardly policy?
Key Info
  • Was appeasement a cowardly policy?
  • Duration: 04:10
  • The film outlines the arguments for the policy of appeasement, using original footage and reconstructions to make points about fears of another war and memories of the First World War. It includes Chamberlain's speech about how incredible it was that Britons should be digging trenches because of a 'quarrel in a far away country'. The importance of the British Empire is highlighted, as is the role of the dominions in offering support (or otherwise) to Britain. French reluctance to help and US isolationism are also stated as reasons for not taking decisive action against Hitler, making many see appeasement as a reasonable and pragmatic policy.
  • Credits: BFI National Archive, British Movietone, British Pathe/ ITN Source, ITN Source/ Reuters,ITN Source
  • Subject:



    International Relations: 1918-1939

  • Keywords: Chamberlain, Churchill, policy of appeasement, Treaty of Versailles, British Empire, American isolationism
Ideas for use in class
  • Students could be asked to list the reasons why appeasement was seen as the best policy in the 1930s. They could then compare them to how people regard the possibility of foreign conflict today to draw parallels. Do they support action in Afghanistan? Iraq? Should Britain take action against Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe? A plenary could address whether appeasement was a reasonable and pragmatic policy, or whether it made war inevitable because Hitler thought he could do what he liked.
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

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