The appeasement policy was adopted by Britain and France, meaning to pacify the aggressors, like Germany and Italy, by satisfying their wants. They believed that by satisfying the aggressors’ limited wants, they could eliminate the possibility of wars. It was their mild attitude that caused the aggressive countries to start expanding their territories. In 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France finally dropped the policy as they thought they could not neglect the German invasion. Hence, the Second World War started.
In fact, the appeasement policy only led the aggressors to expand their spheres of influence. It did not directly lead to war. If the policy continued, the war might not start. Therefore, the appeasement policy did not make the Second World War inevitable. It purely made the war more likely to happen. The appeasement policy made the Second World War more likely to happen as it encouraged German and Italian aggression. In 1923, Italy occupied the Greek island of Corfu. Britain and France did not intervene in the issue. Later, as Italy succeeded in occupying Corfu, Italian aggression grew stronger.
In 1935, Italy invaded Abyssinia. The League of Nations condemned her action and imposed economic sanctions on Italy. However, the sanctions did not stop the US and Germany from trading with Italy. Furthermore, Britain and France did not support the sanctions. They made a plan to give two-thirds of Abyssinia to Italy to prevent her from starting war. Still, Italy did not accept the plan and conquered Abyssinia. Britain and France could do nothing but satisfy the wants of Italy. The mild attitude of Britain and France was due to the appeasement policy. It strongly stimulated German expansion.
In 1935, Germany started to rearm its army. Violating the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler introduced conscription. As Germany had withdrawn from the League of Nations, the League could not condemn the action of Germany. Yet, Britain and France also did not impose any sanctions on Germany. Then, Germany started the remilitarization of Rhineland, repudiating the Treaty of Versailles. Britain and France did not take any action against the German aggression. Therefore, Germany grew more aggressive. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria. Britain and France did not step into the issue.
Later, Germany annexed Sudetenland. In the Munich Conference, on account of the appeasement policy, France and Britain agreed to cede Sudetenland to Germany. The concession of the two countries further encouraged Germany. Germany then annexed the whole of Czechoslovakia and turned to Poland. The invasion of Poland by Germany finally forced Britain and France to abandon the appeasement policy since it failed to check Mussolini and Hitler’s ambition. Thus, WWII started. The Second World War started because Britain and France could not stand the aggression of Germany.
Although the appeasement policy did encourage the aggressors to expand their territories, it did not make the war inevitable. The abandonment of the policy was what started the war. The abandonment of the appeasement policy symbolized the end of pacifying the aggressors. If the appeasement policy ended earlier, Britain and France would start war on Germany earlier to stop her burning ambition. On the contrary, if the appeasement policy continued, the Second World War may not start as Britain and France would continue the tolerance of Germany.
After the invasion of Poland, Germany would continue to expand her territory. If the appeasement policy would continue, Britain and France would still concede and not intervene in any of Hitler’s or Mussolini’s expansion. The Second World War would be evitable on condition that Britain and France would tolerate German and Italian ambition. Therefore, it cannot be said that the policy made the Second World War inevitable. On the one hand, it encouraged the aggression of Italy and Germany, made Britain and France more likely to declare war.
On the other hand, it prevented the two countries from starting war as long as Britain and France would not prevent them from occupying or annexing other lands. All in all, the appeasement policy did not make the Second World War inevitable. It purely facilitated German and Italian aggression but did not let the war happen. In fact, it somehow delayed the start of the Second World War since Britain and France did not try to stop the aggressors through any military means. What truly made the war start was the dropping of the policy, marking the end of the tolerance of Britain and France.