September 12, 2004

Appeasement: what is it good for?

Just a follow-up note to the last post. There's nothing inherently wrong with appeasement. Neville Chamberlain surrendering the Sudetenland to Hitler wasn't a bad move because it was cowardly and spineless. It was a bad move because Chamberlain badly misjudged Germany's military capabilities. The historical records generally show that Chamberlain had no illusions about Hitler, and wanted only to buy England more time until she could rebuild her military (which had suffered drastic cuts under defense minister Winston Churchill in the 1920s). Had the ploy worked, history would have judged Chamberlain a genius and Churchill a nobody. But, alas, Chamberlain got his intelligence horribly wrong and that was the problem. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with using appeasement as a means towards other, more strategic, ends.

-- Brad Plumer 7:47 PM || ||