Historically, foreign policy has been seen as a sphere shaped and determined by the concerns of men alone. In ‘Guilty Women’: Foreign Policy and...

Historically, foreign policy has been seen as a sphere shaped and determined by the concerns of men alone. InGuilty Women’: Foreign Policy and Appeasement in Inter-War Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Julie Gottlieb demonstrates the fallacy of such a view when applied to understanding how Britain responded to the growing aggressiveness of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. By highlighting the activities of politically-engaged women from across the ideological spectrum, she details the range of efforts they undertook from hosting social engagements with politically prominent individuals to lobbying on key issues in their efforts to sway the development of foreign policy. As she reveals, much of the debate over appeasement was framed in gendered terms, often citing the concerns of women as justification for concessions to avoid war. Gottlieb also assesses the attitudes of British women generally towards appeasement, drawing upon the fledgling efforts of public opinion polling to identify their positions on the issues and the influence they exerted politically. The result is a nuanced reassessment of the development of appeasement and the debates that took place over it, both in the years prior to the war and in the months that followed Britain’s entry into it.

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