Post-war discussions of international developments in the 1930s were inevitably influenced by the knowledge that a major war did break out in Europe in 1939 and in Asia in 1941 and that in the early years of the fighting the Germans and the Japanese won massive military victories. As far as Europe was concerned, it was assumed that Hitler had planned and prepared for the war which came. The statesmen of Britain and France who had made concessions to Italy and Germany until the eve of war and allowed them to extend their control over much of continental Europe were roundly condemned. Appeasement, which had been seen as an honourable policy of seeking to reduce strife and achieve a general pacification amongst nations, was now viewed as a weak dishonourable policy of simply giving way to demands. If negotiations had been designed to buy time for the democracies to further their own military preparations, why, it was asked, were they so apparently unprepared for the German onslaught when it came?1 With the passage of time and with greater historical research, there have been a variety of answers to this question and a reassessment of the policies of all the major powers.
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