According to one dictionary definition, the term means: “to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles”. Of course when one employs this term in a historical context, it is usually taken to refer to the ‘Appeasement’ by Great Britain of the Fascist powers during the 1930s. In this latest edition of ‘Arguing History’, Professor of History Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, discuss the historical nature of appeasement and endeavor to go beyond the reductionist and ahistorical picture so popular with some historians and much of the reading public. Going beyond the sloganeering that originated with Michael Foot’s The Guilty Men
, and more recent tomes like Tim Bouverie’s Appeasement,
this discussion of the topic endeavors to examine at length the underlying variables which factored into British policy in the 1930s.
Professor Jeremy Black
MBE, Is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. A graduate of Queens College, Cambridge, he is the author of well over one-hundred books. In 2008 he was awarded the “Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Lifetime Achievement.”
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.