Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Appeasement has Never Worked and It Never Will

"You may gain temporary appeasement by a policy of concession to violence, but you do not gain lasting peace that way." - Anthony Eden

"However much we may sympathize with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbour, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in a war simply on her account." - Neville Chamberlain

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense." - Winston Churchill

"All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach." - Adolf Hitler

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it." - Adolf Hitler

"I don't want to make American whole again, I want to make American great again." - Donald Trump

"When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis


"My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep." - Neville Chamberlain

Appeasement as a foreign policy, at least in the context of the late 1930’s and Adolf Hitler, was a failure. The policy allowed two nations, Austria and Czechoslovakia, to be completely wiped off the map of Europe in the name of keeping the peace, and furthermore, this was done without their consent. Britain and France, led by Neville Chamberlain, had their reasons for engaging in the policy of appeasement with Hitler and his Germany, as did Stalin when he approved the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Treaty. Both England and France, especially after the rearmament of Germany, post 1934, feared the resumption of hostilities with Germany, looking back to the devastation of WW I, also known as the 'War to End All Wars,' or 'The Great War.'  They also hoped that giving Hitler everything that he wanted would eliminate any pretext for war that he may have had. England, however, also felt that the Treaty of Versailles had perhaps been too harsh. Stalin wanted to avoid such a vast conflict with Germany as well, because the memories of the massive loss of life in WWI were also still very much alive in Russia; however, he also justified appeasing Hitler because he felt that the English and French were intentionally directing Hitler eastward to save their own necks in the west. A fear that many believe was more than justified.

One cannot blame England, France, or Stalin for fearing the resumption of the violence of the Great War. World War I was devastating for Europe, from England all the way to Russia; nearly forty million people died, and Russia even experienced a revolution, ending an empire that lasted nearly one thousand years, from the earliest Muscovite Kings to the violent and mysterious death of Nicholas II. This may have been avoided had the war not broken out. One can also not blame the English for believing that Versailles had been too harsh because it was. Had the Treaty of Versailles been more conciliatory instead of punishing, the appeasement of Hitler would not have been necessary because Hitler and his extremist policies would have been much less likely to take root in an economically stable Germany. Versailles was punishing, though, and Hitler did rise to power. Thus, these men did find it necessary to appease Hitler, in the hopes that they could achieve a lasting peace with him. Their mistake, however, was to believe that a man like Hitler could be reasoned with. He did not care to reason with these men. He, instead, took advantage of the appeasement policy for as long as he could in order to achieve his own goals, for example, the gaining of “Living Space.” Therefore, by using the National Socialist German Worker's Party's (NSDAP), or the Nazi Party, 25 Point Program, Mein Kampf, a group of Hitler’s speeches, and some excerpts from news reports published in the London Times, the oldest surviving news publication in England, it will be argued here that the men that enabled Hitler should have had more than sufficient evidence available to them to justify the formation of a more aggressive foreign policy towards Adolf Hitler. One that nipped him in the bud early, rather than allowing him to bring Europe's whole reality to the brink of destruction.

None of the efforts to stop Hitler by giving into to him worked, but rather, backfired to the effect of fifty to eighty million dead, depending on who is doing the estimates. Unfortunately, it would seem that coming into the early parts of the Twenty-First Century, appeasement seems to still be in use. This can be seen, very clearly, in five present day contexts. First, most recently, one can see it in how people are reacting to the election of Donald Trump to the office of the Presidency of the United States. Second, and probably much more effectively, it can be seen in how nations are responding to the use of Terrorism and violence. Third, it can be seen in how the American government responded to the latest banking crisis, the collapse of the traditional automotive market, and the last massive dip in the housing market. Fourth, it can also be seen clear as day in the recent supposed electoral seizure of the Crimea, from the sovereign control of the nation of Ukraine, by Vladimir Putin's Russia. Finally, it can also be viewed in how the Western powers have reacted to China's handling of the Tibetan independence movement. However, in order to understand the present and predict the future, one must first understand the past. Otherwise, none of the present problems will really make all that much sense. It would also be prudent to gain a brief, but proper, understanding of what appeasement actually is as a policy; however, it is also important to reiterate that as a policy, appeasement has been and always will be an epic failure.

The Definition of Appeasement

"An appeaser is someone that feeds an alligator, hoping it will eat him last." - Winston Churchill

Before examining the evidence against appeasing Hitler that was glaring the leaders of Europe in the face, it would be proper to examine the meaning of appeasement. The definition of appeasement has not remained the same since the policy was first put into practice. What has happened, interestingly enough, is that the definition has actually come full circle. Most historians now support the viewpoint that politicians like Neville Chamberlain held at the time that appeasement was being tested in Europe. As Hitler was gaining power in Germany, the British, the French, and the Russians knew that he would soon be a threat to their interests, but they wished to avoid war. So, they followed the policy of appeasement, a policy defined by Paul M. Kennedy as, “the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous.” He outlines this definition in his book, Strategy and Diplomacy, 1870-1945: Eight Studies, published in 1983.

After the Munich Conference, in which the English and French signed over the Sudetenland to Hitler, the way that appeasement was defined immediately changed. Appeasement policy failed to stop Hitler, and as a result, Europe was thrown into another massive war that cost millions of lives. In an article in the University of Leeds Review, “Appeasement Revisited," published in 1972, David Dilks discussed the definition and pointed out that after World War II, “appeasement came to indicate something sinister, the granting from fear or cowardice of unwarranted concessions in order to buy temporary peace at someone else’s expense.” The prime example of this attitude towards appeasement policy can be seen in Winston Churchill’s The Second World War: The Gathering Storm. In this volume of his history of World War II, Churchill did not take a favorable attitude towards appeasement; in fact, he went as far as referring to the Munich Conference as, very simply, a tragedy. For a while, after World War II, this was the accepted viewpoint.

As early as 1962, however, the definition of appeasement began to revert to the definition that it held when it was first being put into practice. This definition was much more understanding towards the men, like Neville Chamberlain, that practiced the policy. It was A.J.P. Taylor in his book, The Origins of the Second World War, published in 1962, who initiated this transition. He believed that Chamberlain and the men that worked with him were confronted with a man who was not even remotely predictable, and that they did their best to deal with him in as rational a manner as was possible. This view was supported by Kennedy as can be seen in the earlier quote from that author, as well as, Martin Gilbert in his book The Roots of Appeasement, published in 1966, who argued that Neville Chamberlain pursued the policy of appeasement because he honestly believed that cooperating with Germany could maintain the peace, benefiting all, despite the fact that Hitler routinely professed violent action, allowing his subordinates to use fear tactics on their own people, if it meant getting their way in a given political situation.

Though many governments still use appeasement as a means to maintain the status quo amongst the world's major political and military powers, there are those who have begun to revert to the opinion of appeasement that was dominant immediately after the conclusion of World War II. As a policy appeasement is a complete failure, it always has been, and it always will be. Giving into the demands of a fascist dictator who rests on the edge of the lunatic fringe will never solve whatever problem faces the powers that are resisting him. The only way to deal with such a person is to stand one's ground, force him to abide by any international agreements by he which is bound, and punish him if he fails to comply, whether this requires the use of economic and political sanctions, or war. If Europe's major powers had stopped Hitler when he began building up the German war machine, despite their sympathies, left over from the overly harsh nature of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, the Twentieth Century would have a dramatically different story to tell. Bruce S. Thornton discusses this shift back to the criticism of appeasement's worth in his book, The Wages of Appeasement: Athens, Munich, and Obama's America, published in 2011. Unfortunately, the leaders of Europe gave into Hitler for so long that they produced a conflict that was far worse than the damage created by World War I. The evidence that should have convinced them to stop Hitler early was there; however, they, for some reason, just did not or could not find it in themselves to head the warnings. Nearly fifty million people are now screaming at them from their graves.

The Twenty-Five Point Program

"The plain and simple truth about European leader's appeasement policy towards Hitler in the 1930s is not hard to grasp. In fact, just about anyone living could see it as clear as day if they just took the time to look. These men were tired, traumatized, but most of all, they were afraid. The spectre of war overcame them, and their inability to do their jobs cost nearly fifty million people their lives. There can be no excuse for their abject failure to be true leaders. They had numerous opportunities to take the strong position against Hitler that would have prevented the destruction that followed their failure. When they were faced with the moment of truth, they sulked and trembled in the corner like cowards. History must never be allowed to forgive them for that." - Kent Allen Halliburton

Now, when considering the evidence that the English, French, and Russians had available to them to justify a more aggressive stance against Hitler, one should begin with the NSDAP’s, or the Nazi Party's, Twenty-Five Point Program. The program was proclaimed by Adolf Hitler on February 24, 1920. It was not written solely by Hitler, if it was all, but he was the face of the program. Further, it was he who declared the program to be forever firm and unalterable. Not all of the points in the program should be viewed as threatening to the rest of Europe, such as, number 14 which provides for profit-sharing in industry, number fifteen which provides for old age health insurance, or number 20 which provides for higher education for the students of poor parents. However, points 1-3, 22, and 25 should very much be considered a threat to the rest of Europe, as they point to the NSDAP’s desire to directly violate the sanctions of the Treaty of Versailles and gain lands at the expense of other nations. J. Noakes and G. Pridham, in their text, Nazism: 1919-1945, Vol. 1: The Rise to Power, 1919-1934, published in 1996, consider this issue to be very important. They point out that it is clear that once the Nazi Party gained national acclaim in Germany, this program should have been taken much more seriously by the European powers; though, as is very well known, they did not,

Points 1-3, 22 and 25 should be viewed together because they are closely related, as they all point to an aggressive German nationalism that could come to fruition at the expense of both Western and Eastern Europe. All three of these points in the program discuss aims that would require, in the future, for Germany to gain territory outside the boundaries set by the Treaty of Versailles, at the expense of other neighboring European nations.

The first point is worded as follows, "We demand the union of all Germany in a Greater Germany on the basis of the right of national self-determination." This says, basically, that the NSDAP feels that Germany is not complete and deserves to be so. One can see this when they say that they wish to see a Greater Germany based on the right of national self-determination. The NSDAP was not just looking to regain territories that Germany had lost at the end of World War I, namely those in the east to include Danzig and the Polish Corridor, which had dense German populations. It was referring to all throughout Europe. They looked to the Germans of Austria proper, those that had settled throughout the old Austrian Empire, the Polish Corridor, and the Sudetenland as brothers sharing a common Aryan Ancestry. Furthermore, they looked to all those Germans that had settled further east, in what was then the Russian Empire, at the invitation of Catherine the Great. Thus, the NSDAP saying that they wish for the union of all Germans raises some threatening questions. How did they intend to unite all of these Germans, and what were their plans for the other peoples settled in or near those areas? Again, Noakes and Pridham make note that this should have raised some red flags.

Point number two can provide an answer for these questions, as this point would see to the revocation of the Treaties of Versailles and Saint Germain, "We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and the revocation of the peace treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain." The Treaty of Versailles did two things to Germany that affect this argument. It took from Germany provinces that had long been part of that nation, those in the east that included Danzig and the Polish Corridor and gave them to Poland, and it reduced the size of the German army to a mere 100,000 men. A revocation of the Treaty of Versailles would return these lost provinces to Germany proper and would allow Germany to build its ‘People’s Army,’ which they call for in point 22, to the level of the pre-World War I traditional German Army. A revocation of the Treaty of Saint Germain would make it possible for the Austrian and German governments to approve the unification of Germany and Austria, referred to as Anschluss, which was expressly forbidden in the treaty, and it would could have potentially restored all of Austria’s lost provinces, as well. So, what does this mean? It means that now, the national integrity of several nations would be threatened. Potentially, Poland would lose the lands it had gained at the expense of Germany, and sovereign nations like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Romania could disappear from the map. Worse, this would happen without their consent, and given the revocation of these two treaties, Germany would have the military strength to to enforce these goals. Margaret MacMillan discussed the repercussions of such possibilities in her book, Paris, 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, published in 2002.

The third point states that the NSDAP does not feel that Germany can support itself in its present state and needs additional lands to be able to do so. This point is directly connected to the first two because right in the text it clearly states, “We demand land and territory to feed our people and to settle our surplus population.” This shows that along with the other two points, the NSDAP would pose a direct threat to the stability of Europe, as it is quite clear that they intended to take control of lands that would most definitely have to be gained at the expense of others, and they were clear, in many ways, that they would not satisfied with distant colonies.

Point twenty-two, to expound on the point a littler further, not only shows that the party wished to break the power of the German Army and create a force, the “People’s Army,” that was subject only to their authority, but also shows that the NSDAP would have absolutely no issue with establishing a military force of a strength greater than that allowed by the Treaty of Versailles, "We demand the abolition of the mercenary army and the foundation of a people's army."  This points combines with the previous three to show that the party not only wished to take lands at the expense of other nations, but that it clearly intended to do so with the force of a massive army, which would most definitely be a threat to the rest of Europe. Point twenty-five applies to the previous four points because it is the NSDAP’s promise, essentially, that they will pursue these policies to their completion, should they come to power. "To put the whole of this program into effect, we demand the creation of a strong central state power for the Reich; the unconditional authority of the political central Parliament over the entire Reich and its organizations; and the formation of Corporations based on estate and occupation for the purpose of carrying out the general legislation passed by the Reich in the various German states." The NSDAP's intent to carry out these plans is demonstrated with the words, “The leaders of the party promise to work ruthlessly, if need be to sacrifice their very lives, to translate this program into action,” which concluded the list and served as an oath to make the program happen, something that Germans took more seriously than life itself.

Together, these five points show the potential for the outbreak of another war if the NSDAP were to pursue these policies. They would seek restoration of territories lost in World War I that had been given to other nations, they would seek additional lands to feed their expanding population, and they would establish an army, regardless of the legal restrictions, to make sure that these things happened, should they not succeed at getting the Treaties of Versailles and Saint Germain revoked. They also intended to form a highly centralized fascist style government that would not allow for descent. Germany would act as a whole. Furthermore, they showed that they were fully determined to make these things happen, by whatever means necessary. All of these points reveal the formation of a policy that would make the NSDAP and Hitler a direct threat to the rest of Europe should they gain power. Once the NSDAP became a serious player in German politics, researchers all over Europe should have been shoving this Twenty-Five Point Program in the faces of every major politician capable of making critical decisions relating to the enforcement of the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain; unfortunately, they either did not do this, or when they did, the were not taken seriously. Either way, Europe paid for this mistake horribly.

Mein Kampf

"Blood mixture and the resulting drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is continued only in pure blood. All who are not of good race in this world are chaff." - Adolf Hitler

The next piece of evidence that should have been considered, when determining what the English, French, and Russians had available to them to support a decision against appeasing Hitler, is Mein Kampf. The book was initially published solely in German and in two separate volumes, the first in 1925 and the second in 1926. Hitler began work on the first volume in Landsberg Prison where he had been sentenced to serve out a term of five years for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch. It is important to note that he only served nine months of this term, as the NSDAP harassed and threatened the German government into releasing him. An early form of appeasement on the German government's part. They gave in for fear that a second revolution would succeed. He completed the second volume after he was released from prison. The book was published in English in abridged versions before 1939, but a full unabridged version in English was not seen until 1939. The main focus of the discussion in relation to Mein Kampf will involve the points in the text in which Hitler directly shows that, should he come to power, he would be a direct threat to the physical and political well being of Europe. What is most interesting is that this book is basically Hitler telling all of Europe exactly what he planned to do and how he was going to do it, long before he actually did it. This was unique in history, as up to this time, the middle of the 1920s, there had never been any political leaders who wrote a book telling people exactly what they planned to do should they take power. It was usually the tradition for any books written by leaders to come after they had exited the office in which they served..

Mein Kampf should have served as a warning to the world that Hitler was not someone to be taken lightly or for granted. R. Cecil said as much in an untitled review of Mein Kampf, published in International Affairs, in October of 1970. However, he was not the person first to say this. In 1944, W.A.W. said something very similar to this in a similar review, published in Books Abroad. He said, “The book is merely a part of a colossal warning, the early heeding of which would have saved millions of lives.” Though these warnings came long after it was too late, it is important to note them here because they pose a similar question that relates to the theme of this piece, "How did Europe's leaders drop the ball on this one? How did they not know that Hitler was a threat to peace in Europe? All the chips were laid right out before them. It just makes such little sense that one could swiftly go mad thinking to hard about it. There was no way that they could not have known." To mirror this sentiment, one must ask another question, "Were the leaders of Europe at this time really that incompetent?"

Hitler wanted to return Germany to its former glory and take it further, but he was not the first person to desire this. People all over Germany wanted the same thing, and many people, especially those in the conservative parties, voiced the desire before he did. Despite his lack of originality, Hitler took advantage of an idea that struck at the heart of many people in Germany. He voiced in Mein Kampf, in many different ways, that Germany would need more land should it wish to be complete. In the first instance to be discussed Hitler said, “For Germany, the only possibility for carrying a healthy territorial policy lay in the acquisition of new land in Europe itself. Colonies cannot serve this purpose.” This, right here, is a point in Mein Kampf where Hitler openly described a policy that would make him, and a Germany under his rule, a direct threat to the political stability of Europe. There was nowhere for Germany to go in any direction without violating the physical integrity of a sovereign nation. To the west was France, a nation that would not have, one can imagine, voluntarily given up land to the Germans, and to the south he was stopped by Switzerland and Austria, despite the fact that Austria initially, after World War I, approved of the unification of Austria with Germany. To the east, rested Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltic States, and Russia, none of which, like France, would have given up land to Germany voluntarily. Hitler clearly stated that he was going take land from other nations and none of those nations even blinked an eye. One can imagine that they thought, "This guy must be crazy. There is no way he will gain power in Germany, let alone have the power to challenge us for supremacy in Europe." How did they feel after nearly fifty million people died?

This is not the only point in which Hitler mentions the need to gain more land for Germany in Mein Kampf. In chapter 14 of volume two, Hitler mentions this need, and he gives it an Eastern European orientation, which makes him a direct threat to the Poles and the Russians. He also discussed the restoration of Germany’s 1914 frontiers, saying, “The demand for the restoration of the frontiers of 1914 is a political absurdity of such proportions and consequences as to make it seem a crime. Quite aside from the fact that the Reich’s frontiers in 1914 were anything but logical. For in reality they were neither complete in the sense of embracing the people of German nationality, nor sensible with regard to geo-military expediency. They were not the result of considered political action, momentary frontiers in a political struggle that was by no means concluded.” Hitler was not suggesting that he did not want to get the 1914 borders back. He was saying that he wanted to get those borders back, plus some. He wanted his greater German Reich to embrace all Germans in Europe. This meant that all of Europe was game for invasion. Yet no one budged. "Oh, he couldn't possibly make any of that really happen. He is not even a serious politician." Might they think differently now?

Saying this, Hitler is basically arguing that Germany’s struggle for fulfillment is still not over and that should he come to power, he will continue that struggle. Once again, Hitler was openly showing that he was a direct threat to the political stability of Europe. Still further, Hitler spoke in Mein Kampf of the necessity for available space for Germany to feed itself. He felt that Germany needed lands in the east for food stuffs and raw materials, and felt that Germany’s borders at the time were insufficient. This was never made more evident then when he said, “In an era when the earth is gradually being divided up among states, some of which embrace almost entire continents, we cannot speak of a world power in connection with a formation whose political mother country is limited to the absurd area of five hundred thousand square kilometers.” Hitler spoke so non-nonchalantly of taking actions in Europe that would most definitely start a massive war that anyone reading the text when it was first published should have been overcome by a genuine sense of deep concern. Yet, here people are now, still speaking about how they ignored his behavior. One can be sure that after the fact, they were well aware of their mistake.

Here yet is another point in Mein Kampf where Hitler makes it abundantly clear that he intends to obtain lands for Germany in Europe. These were lands, of course, that were then owned by other nations, therefore, making him an eminent threat, should he gain power in Germany. In Hitler’s discussions of the need for additional lands to support Germany and its growing population, he made it quite clear that, should he gain power, he would be a direct threat to the political and physical stability of Europe. Lather, rinse, repeat.....

Hitler did not stop with these general statements, these statements that showed him to be a threat to the general physical and political stability of Europe. He also mentioned certain nations directly. Again in Chapter 14 of Volume 2, Hitler made a direct swipe at the Russians when he said, “For centuries Russia drew nourishment from this Germanic nucleus of its upper leading strata. Today it can be regarded as almost totally exterminated and extinguished. It has been replaced by the Jew. Impossible as it is for the Russian by himself to shake off the yoke of the Jew by his own resources, it is equally impossible for the Jew to maintain the mighty empire forever. He himself is no element of organization, but a ferment of decomposition. The Persian empire in the east was ripe for collapse. And the end of Jewish rule in Russia will also be the end of Russia as a state.” One has to ask how Hitler intended to bring about this end of Russia as a state. It could seem at first that he believed that it would rot from the inside because of the Jewish influence that he saw, but when combining this statement with the others and the NSDAP’s 25 Point Program, it can be determined that he intended to be the one to bring about this end. He intended, should he gain power, to make the destruction of Russia one of his personal missions; and when he gained power, he very nearly did just that. Imagine if someone had taken action against Hitler before he was able to begin working on that. Perhaps, that day when he sent German troops into the Rhineland, the French and the British could have actually done their jobs. Who knows?

Hitler also directly mentioned the French and the English. He did not say that he was going to outright seek the invasion or destruction of these nations, but when he said, “For on this point we must at length achieve full clarity: The inexorable mortal enemy of the German people is and remains France. It matters not who ruled or will rule France, whether Bourbons or Jacobins, Bonapartists, Bourgeois Democrats, Clerical Republicans, or Red Bolshevists: the final goal of their activity in foreign affairs will always be an attempt to seize possession of the Rhine border and to secure this watercourse for France by means of a dismembered and shattered Germany. England desires no Germany as a world power.” Here Hitler basically points out that he sees the French and the English as being nations that could possibly get in his way, which would then lead him to war. This again makes him a threat to the physical and political stability of Europe. How many more times must it pointed out that Hitler gave everyone in Europe fair warning of what he intended to do well ahead of time. It was as if he was daring them to stop him. Though, they eventually did, they delayed action at the expense of nearly fifty million lives. Their fear induced procrastination cannot and should not ever be excused. There can be no justifying such awful carnage, to try and do so would be a mark of cowardliness.

Mein Kampf is not solely about Hitler’s desire to restore Germany’s pre-World War I borders, his desire to gain new lands on the European mainland for Germany’s crowded population, or his threats regarding Russia and worries about England and France, but these things are important because they show that as early as 1925, should he have gained power, Hitler intended to take Germany beyond the Versailles and St. Germain imposed borders of Germany to accomplish what he desired. What this all really does is show that Hitler was a threat to the rest of Europe long before he ever took power. He had a plan from the very beginning of his political career to take the fight outside Germany, putting the political and social stability of Europe under pressure. He mentioned directly that he saw Germany expanding to the east, that France was an avowed enemy, and that Great Britain, likely, would also be a target. Some might say, "How could they have known that this would all happen? Hitler was a nobody when his political career started." Well, he wasn't a nobody when he took power in Germany in 1933, and any leader worth their salt would have done all the research possible on Hitler right then and there, so that they would better understand how to deal with him. So, either the leaders of Europe did their research and were to afraid to act, or they did not do any research, and they were completely caught off guard by Hitler's seemingly insatiable appetite for destruction. Either way, they should all be piled up on a paddy wagon and taken to the place where people are taken to be forgotten. They are either cowards or imbeciles, both of which should disqualify them from the right to lead a nation.

Hitler's Speeches

"We see clearly that this war could only end with the extermination of the Germanic peoples, or that Jewry must disappear from Europe. I already said in on September 1, 1939 in the German Reichstag...that this war will not end the ways the Jews have foreseen it, namely that the European Aryan peoples will be exterminated; rather the result of this war will be the annihilation of Jewry. For once all the others will not bleed to death alone; for once the ancient Jewish law will come into play: an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth." - Adolf Hitler

The next piece of evidence that should be considered, when determining what the English, French and Russians had available to them to support a decision against appeasing Hitler, is a group of Hitler’s speeches. In these speeches, the first made on December 10, 1919 in Munich, the second made on August 1, 1932, again in Munich, and the third made on January 27, 1932 in Dusseldorf. In these speeches, Hitler identified Germany’s enemies, suggested that those enemies could go ahead and try to defeat Germany again, and then hinted at a foreign policy, what he called Lebensraum, which also identified the core of the economic policy that he intended to enforce should he and the NSDAP ever gain power in Germany. This all pointed to his racial theory. He believed that white people, more specifically, Aryans, were the epitome of human evolution, and thus, should be at the top of the human global power structure. This is a policy that would require Germany to expand beyond its then present borders at the expense of other nations, making a Germany led by Hitler a direct threat to Europe's ability to maintain peace. This was as good an excuse as any to stop Hitler before he was ever able to get started. His dramatically displayed, but actually, rather weak invasion of the Rhineland, should have been the last action that he took as Germany's leader. At the least, Europe's leaders should have set his boundaries, right then and there, before he figured out that he could push them around for more.

The first speech that should be examined is a speech that Hitler made in Munich on December 10, 1919, in the early days of the NSDAP. In the speech, Hitler identified Germany’s primary enemies as England and the United States, with Russia, France, and Poland as secondary enemies. Hitler also mentioned Italy, and Romania. These were most of the players in World War I. He made this all clear in the speech when he said, “Let us look at our enemies! We can divide them into two groups: one group includes the absolute opponents: England and America; the second group: nations which became our opponents as a result of their unfortunate situation or as a result of their circumstances. Russia was always looking for an outlet to the seas and comes in too the war against us. We have been pursuing a Polish policy since Bismarck’s time…In the course of 300 years France has declared war on Germany twenty-seven times.” J. Noakes and G. Pridham cover this speech in the book, Nazism: 1919-1945, Vol. 3: Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination, published in 1996.

It is obvious that Hitler saw the United States as an enemy because of the role that it played in Germany’s defeat in World War I. He saw the English as an enemy because of their role in the war and because they consistently pursued an economic policy that attempted to estrange Germany from other nations, so as to secure England’s own advantages. He saw the Russians as an enemy because their foreign policy goals conflicted with Germany’s, and he saw Poland as a historical enemy. The others were just enemies because of their circumstances at the time. What is interesting is that the speech does not include Russia and Poland as primary enemies, when later they would become so because of the concept of Lebensraum that Hitler said would lead Germany eastward. What this speech really does is show that Hitler had a foreign policy as early as 1919 that identified those nations that he would most likely be in conflict with should he gain power. He was already looking for conflict beyond Germany’s borders. Though, it is clear that in 1919, Europe's leaders had more to deal with than the ramblings of a disgruntled infantry solider from the now defeated German army; once he gained power in 1933, any good leader should have done their job and vetted this man. They would have found the speech, as it was reported in local papers, and it could have served as a good measure for them on how to deal with Hitler when he started pushing Europe's boundaries. What happened is that they either found it and did not take it seriously, or the never found it. Either way, they failed to do their jobs as leaders.

Just about four years later, Hitler made another speech in Munich on August 1, 1923. In this speech, Hitler attacked the Treaty of Versailles and called on other Germans to help him resist it. He also declared that some day there would be a German government that would day call out the creators of the treaty as having based the treaty on a monstrous lie. He said that this new government would no longer obey the treaty, and then he invited the enforcers of the treaty to come on and see if they could stop such a Germany again. He made it quite clear that he was gunning for a fight when he said, “The body of German officials must once more become what it once was. But the second and the most important point is that the day must come when a German government shall summon up the courage to declare to the Foreign Powers: 'The Treaty of Versailles is founded on a monstrous lie. We refuse to carry out its terms any longer. Do what you will! If you wish for war, go and get it! Then we shall see whether you can turn seventy million Germans into serfs and slaves!'” If this was not something to pay attention to, then nothing else is or ever was. Though Hitler was not yet in power, and in fact it would be another ten years before he achieved that goal, again, once he was in power this should have been something that the leaders of Europe would find to be worth knowing. Hitler was making it clear that war was a reasonable option for him.

This shows that Hitler was a direct threat to the stability of Europe, even at this early time in his political career. Furthermore, in the speech, Hitler alluded to the uprising that he was planning with other members of the conservative right in Bavaria, and he made it abundantly clear that he would support a revolution ending the government that had given in and signed the treaty that was responsible for putting Germany in the position that it was in. In the speech, he also eluded to the date that such an event could possibly take place when he identified November 8,1923, which was the anniversary of the Wiemar Republic’s founding. It is important to see that Hitler openly announced his desire to seek a revolution in Germany, but what is more relevant is that in the speech he shows that he is looking for a fight. Even more importantly, in this speech he gave his word to Europe and the German people that he was going to do something drastic, and when November 8, 1923 came around, he did not fail to keep his word. How could Europe, knowing this event took place, and knowing with good research that he had foretold the event, not take him seriously later when he rose to power promising a similar fate for the rest of Europe? It was either fear or professional incompetence. Either way because they failed to act against such a man, the the blood of fifty million dead stained their hands just as much as they did Hitler's, if not more.

The last speech to be examined was made on January 27, 1932 to the Industry Club in Dusseldorf in the German state of Westphalia, located in the Rhine region. This speech was made to 650 members of the Dusseldorf Industry Club in the grand ballroom of Dusseldorf’s Park Hotel. The purpose of the speech was to try and bring more big businessmen around to the NSDAP and to make them comfortable with the NSDAP’s name, the National Socialist German Workers Party. They were not comfortable with the connotations of the word socialist, an thus, he speech was not successful. Most of these businessmen were right-wing, just as the NSDAP was, but they sent most of their money to the NSDAP’s opponents on the right. The speech was basically a repetition of past speeches. It did not reveal anything new, and for this, most of the men were not impressed and still did not come around to the NSDAP. It covered foreign policy and economics, in relation to Hitler’s idea of the superior white race’s role in the world.  Ian Kershaw, in his book, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris, published in 1998, does a great job of describing this moment and the fact that Hitler's movement nearly collapsed at that moment because of a lack of funding. Just imagine if Europe' leaders had learned from this example just a few years later.

The speech relates to this argument because, in the speech, Hitler alludes to Lebensraum and the fact that so many white people are crammed into to such small areas. He made mention of a policy well known to German conservatives, one that would require Germany to expand its present borders, when he said, “That conclusion is forced upon us if we look at the world today: we have a number of nations which through their inborn outstanding worth have fashioned for themselves a mode of life which stands in no relation to the life-space, the Lebensraum, which in their thickly populated settlements they inhabit.” Hitler was again hinting at what he felt was the inevitability of another war in Europe, and this time because he was preparing to for a national public office, agents of foreign press agencies from around the world were present to hear him speak. This is really only an allusion to the concept of Lebensraum, but what it says is that the policy was very much still in Hitler’s mind. He was sticking to what he knew and wanted, and in connection with the rest of the speech, it can be concluded that Hitler was making a reference to the conditions in Germany, those of a dense population stuck in a small area and the need to expand its territory on the continent to alleviate the pressure of over-population. This is a dangerous idea for those nations that would suffer at Germany’s expense.

All together, these three speeches, each of which were made at different points along Hitler’s path to power and varying in intensity from light to heavy, are relevant because they served to show that from the very beginning of his political career, Hitler supported political, social, and economic policies that would put other people or nations in jeopardy. In the first speech, Hitler identified that nations that he would be willing to go to war with should he come to power. In the second speech, he incited people to revolt, and in the third speech he again alluded to a foreign policy that would place other nations in physical danger, more than likely, through war. This was all only the case, of course, should he come to power. Hitler’s mind never changed and neither did his policies. Over thirteen years, he consistently and publicly declared what his intentions were, should he come to power, and in the case of the Munich speech of August 1, 1923, the German people got to see, a couple months later, in the form of the Beer Hall Putsch, that when he said something, he meant it. Europe's leader should have been listening to him a bit more clearly. It is, of course, obvious that they were not.

Foreign Press Coverage

"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'" - Adolf Hitler

Unfortunately, for this argument, the NSDAP’s 25 Point Program released by Adolf Hitler on February 24, 1920 received no foreign press coverage, which is evidenced by its not appearing in the London Times, a paper that even in the 1920s, had correspondents around the world. The program was published only in the Volkischer Beobachter, the NSDAP’s party organ, a newspaper that at the time would have been of no importance to anyone of interest outside of Germany. More than that, there were very few people outside of Bavaria that would have had much interest in it. It would have only been available to a local audience in and around Munich and would only have been of interest to people with political leanings near the NSDAP’s. In other words, at the time it was released, it was really quite insignificant, which means that by 1936, when people like Neville Chamberlain were deciding how to handle Hitler’s aggressions, it would have likely played little to no role in their decision making process. This was a dramatically fatal mistake.

Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926. At the time that it was published, it did not receive any international accolades. It did not receive even a minor mention in the London Times until 1934, when it was mentioned that the French government had seized a batch of illegally printed editions that had been translated from German into French. What did the French government do with them? They promptly destroyed them, at the behest of the German Government. It did not start getting serious coverage until after 1936, and then this coverage could only have been on the abridged version of the book, as the full version was not published in English until 1939. The only attention that it could have received when it first came out would have been in the Volkischer Beobachter, again, a paper that only appealed to people of right-wing leanings. The book was published and put on shelves to be bought, but it would not start selling well until after Hitler took power. Given the book's relative obscurity when it was first published, it is not likely that at first, at least, major leaders Europe would have taken the text seriously. This, of course, as history will tell anyone who looks it up, was also a fatal mistake.

The speeches that were chosen for the discussion, the one made in Munich on December 10, 1919, the other made in Munich on August 1, 1923, and the one made in Dusseldorf on January 27, 1932, did not receive any coverage in the London Times, let alone any other major paper around the world. The first two speeches were made much too early to be of any international interest because the NSDAP, at the time, was a party confined mainly to the right-wing fringe of Bavarian politics. By the time that the third speech was made, the NSDAP was a significant player in German politics and Hitler was preparing to run for public office, but for some reason, probably at the behest of the Wiemar Republic's government, the speech did not get foreign press coverage, despite the presence, as mentioned, of foreign press when he spoke, especially the London Times. It almost seems like the Wiemar Republic's government, in collusion with many other of Europe's governments, referring mainly to England, France, and Russia, hoped that by ignoring such men, they would just go away. This is despite the facts that he was on the cusp of taking power and that the NSDAP had secured seats in the Reichstag in previous elections.This basically means that these leaders new what kind of man Hitler was long before he took power, and they, despite the lack of foreign press coverage, probably at their behest, knew who he was, what he was capable of, and what his intentions were should the NSDAP's momentum carry him to a position of high authority in Germany. This means that they were the ones that kept things like the Twenty-Five Point Program, Mein Kampf, and Hitler's major speeches out of the press. For that, they cannot be forgiven, for this means that they had plenty of time to nip Hitler in the bud long before he ever became a threat. Essentially, they played situation like an ostrich and rather than attend to the serious problem at hand, hid their heads in the sand, which can only be rated as nothing less than another fatal mistake.

Now, this does not mean that the events surrounding these things did not make the press. It just means that the leaders of these countries in collusion with the Wiemar Republic's government did their best to keep Hitler's name out of the stories. The NSDAP was mentioned on countless occasions from 1923 to the day that Hitler took power in German in 1933. Their involvement in the Beer Hall Putsch was covered, as it was their revolution. There are even mentions of arrests made after the suppression of the uprising. Their involvement in later riots and other violent actions were also mentioned, usually in a negative light, in an effort to discourage people from feeling any sympathy for them or their cause. Hitler's book was mentioned but only as a horn of the NSDAP, and its mention was relegated to a ten line side story on the last page of the London Times edition that covered it release. It was mentioned in the "Review of Books" section. Further, the events where Hitler spoke almost always received mention in the "Foreign Affairs" section of the London Times, as this paper had an active foreign correspondent in Germany covering anything and everything that affected the German political scene. The most dramatic event involving the rise of Hitler and the NSDAP that definitely got international coverage was the Kristallnact, which took place on the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch in 1938. The papers referred to it as the "Crystal Night," which is a decent translation, and mentioned how it made all of Germany look like a chaotic mess as businesses, homes, religious structures, and people were all destroyed in what they deemed a 'reckless riot.' German Jews were the main targets of the event, but Hitler also used the night to clean house on NSDAP members who he felt had either failed or betrayed him. Yet, somehow, in all of this, Hitler's name was barely mentioned, if at all. Martin Gilbert's book, Kristallnact: Prelude to Destruction, published in 2006, does a fantastic job of recounting this event and how the Wiemar Republic and the international community tried to play it off as only a minor disturbance.

So, it is very clear that there is absolutely no way that the leaders of Europe did not know of Hitler and what he was capable of. They were also not unaware of the political situation in which Hitler was rising. What this also says is that the leaders of these countries were actively trying to suppress anything that could have given Hitler good press, ignoring his appeal amongst the general population of Germany. They were telling themselves that if they hid him away as best they could, the people might not vote for him. Their plan failed; obviously, and Hitler made it to the top of German politics anyway. 

Hitler in Power

"The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force." - Adolf Hitler

On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the Wiemar Republic by the ailing retired German General become President, Paul von Hindenburg. By August of 1934, when Hindenburg died, Hitler had swindled his way into being named President immediately following Hindenburg's death. The promises and threats that he made to the members of the Reichstag are well documented. With absolute power now in his hands, Hitler let off any masks he had been wearing while Hindenburg was still alive and set off to implement all of the policies he had long discussed while he was just the Fuehrer of the NSDAP. This is when Europe's leaders should have known it was time to step in, but they never did, at least not until it was too late. Hitler began with his campaign against Europe's Jews, obviously starting in Germany. Adolf Hitler and Nazi propagandists played on widespread and long-established German Antisemitism. The Jews were blamed for things such as robbing the German people of their hard work while themselves avoiding physical labour. Hitler declared that the mission of the Nazi movement was to annihilate "Jewish Bolshevism." Hitler asserted that the "three vices" of "Jewish Marxism" were democracy, pacifism, and internationalism, and that the Jews were behind bolshevism, communism, and marxism. Joseph Goebbels in the 1937 The Great Anti-Bolshevist Exhibition declared that Bolshevism and Jewry were the same thing. Ian Kershaw does a very good job of outlining the propaganda campaign led by Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, in the first volume of his biography of Hitler, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, published in 1998. Given Hitler's and the NSDAP's pasts, this should have been a sign to European leaders of things to come, but it either wasn't or they consciously chose to let is pass. This, of course, as Hitler felt the pressure coming down on him from World War II, led to the commencement of the 'Final Solution,' for which Europe's leaders at the time must take partial responsibility.

Hitler's first act of aggression took place in the Saar. After the end of World War I, the Saar territory was separated from Germany and administered by the League of Nations. During this time, France was given control of the Saar's coal mines. After fifteen years of League of Nations administration, a referendum was scheduled to take place in the territory. A referendum on territorial status was held in the Territory of the Saar Basin on January 13, 1935. Over ninety percent of voters opted for reunification with Germany, with only nine percent voting for the status quo as a League of Nations mandate territory and less than half a percent opting for unification with France. Mohammed Bedjaoui, in his book, The New World Order and the Security Council: Testing the Legality of Its Acts, published in 1994, addressed the Saar directly. He noted that it was one of the first successful international peace keeping missions in history conducted by a global defense force. What he failed to mention, however, was why the vote came out so heavily in favor of Germany. In fact, a great many scholars seem to forget this fact, and Europe's leaders at the time did absolutely nothing to challenge the outcome. The vote was so heavily in favor of reunification with Germany because Hitler positioned a large number of troops on Germany's border with the Saar just in case the vote did not go Germany's way. It is also rumored that German spies were involved in an effort to pack ballot boxes in favor of Germany, though that act has never been substantiated. Kershaw, however, in Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, did mention this incident. He referred to it as the earliest incident where Hitler realized that he could use force, or at the very least, the threat of force, to intimidate Europe's leaders into giving into his demands. Kershaw could not have been more correct.

The next step for Hitler was to rearm and reconstitute the German Army to World War I levels and beyond. There was a lot of conjecture across Europe about whether or not he would and what would happen if he did. It all came to naught because on March 16, 1935, just two months after what he considered a military victory in the Saar, he ordered factories all over Germany to begin the production of war materials for the rearmament of the German Army, or the Bundeswehr. He also instituted a new aggressive draft to man the new army that he planned to build. This also included the rebuilding of the both the German Air Force, or the Luftwaffe, and the German Navy, or the Kriegsmarine. These forces, united under a single command were referred to as the WehrmachtThis order directly violated Section V of the Treaty of Versailles, yet nothing was done to stop Hitler. In fact, there were many leaders in Europe who argued that it Germany's right to do so because the Treaty of Versailles had been to harsh. So as not to loose face, Britain and France did send Hitler a toothless warning letter. The League of Nations did nothing, and Russia was with the others. Was the treaty an international order or not? All this concession ended up doing was building up Hitler's desire for more assertive action even further. Richard J. Evans addressed this blunder in his book, The Third Reich in Power, published in 2005.

The remilitarization of the Rhineland by the German Army took place on March 7, 1936, when German military forces, at the command of Hitler, entered the Rhineland. This was significant because it violated the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and The Locarno Treaty, marking the first time since the end of World War I that German troops had been in this region. The remilitarization changed the balance of power in Europe from France towards Germany, and made it possible for Germany to pursue a policy of aggression in Eastern Europe that the demilitarized status of the Rhineland had blocked until then, as this had previously left Germany's left flank unguarded. Under Articles 42, 43, and 44 of the Treaty of Versailles, imposed on Germany by the Allies, mainly France and Great Britain, as Russia had withdrawn from the war because of their revolution, after the Great War, Germany was "forbidden to maintain or construct any fortification either on the Left bank of the Rhine or on the Right bank to the west of a line drawn fifty kilometers to the East of the Rhine." If a violation "in any manner whatsoever" of this Article took place, this "shall be regarded as committing a hostile ac., and as calculated to disturb the peace of the world."

The Locarno Treaty, signed in October of 1925 by Germany, France, Italy and Britain, stated that the Rhineland should continue its demilitarized status permanently. The Locarno Treaty  was regarded as important as it was a voluntary German acceptance of the Rhineland's demilitarized status as opposed to the diktat, or dictate, of the Treaty of Versailles. Obviously, Hitler could have cared less about these treaties. This would have been the perfect time for the English and French to nip Hitler in the bud, but once again, they failed to do so, hoping that allowing Hitler to take the Rhineland would maintain peace in Europe. Once again, they were both part to yet another epic mistake. Hitler's success in the Rhineland completely invalidated the two treaties that were supposed to keep Germany out of the Rhineland, and served to only boost Hitler's confidence. His reoccupation of the Rhineland was only the beginning. Martin Gilbert and Richard Gott address this point in their book, The Appeasers, published in 2000. Aristotle Kallis also addressed this issue in his book, Fascist Ideology, also published in 2000. Both of these books make the point that if Britain and France had stopped Hitler at this point, it is likely that he would not have been able to continue with his plans to seize further territories in Europe, as such a dramatic defeat would have injured his image and caused his people to lose confidence in his abilities. They both argued that had he lost in his attempt to retake the Rhineland, he would have had to turn against his own people, referring to his Aryan peoples, to pursue the constant enemy other that is crucial to the survival of a Fascist state.

Encouraged by this victory, Hitler ramped up military industrial production in his factories, drafted thousands of more men into his army, and turned his attention to his homeland, Austria. On the morning of March 12, 1938, the 8th Army of the German Wehrmacht crossed the border into Austria. The troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes, Nazi flags, and flowers. For the Wehrmacht, the invasion was the first big test of its machinery. Although the invading forces were badly organized and coordination amongst the units was poor, it mattered little because the Austrian government had ordered the Austrian army not to resist. This was after two years of politics and chaos created by propaganda and fear tactics. This particular invasion, Hitler led personally, with a four thousand man bodyguard, of course. Albert Speer recounts this event in his book, Inside the Third Reich, published in 1997, where he paints the image of an Austria that welcomed the Anschluss, or the unification of the two dominant German speaking nations in Europe. He does not do so naively, however. He points out clearly that if Austria had not come peacefully, it would have been taken with the full force of the German military. Where were the rest of Europe's leading nations? They were sitting back in their chairs justifying doing nothing with the statement, "That makes sense. After all, the are all ethnic Germans." An entire nation was just wiped of the map, and all they could come up with was, "That makes sense."

Six months later, the Sudetenland also fell to Hitler's Third Reich. Immediately after the completion of the Anschluss, Hitler made himself the personal advocate for all German speaking peoples living in Czechoslovakia. Prior to this, in response to the increasing aggressiveness of Hitler, the Czechoslovak military began to build extensive border fortifications to defend that nation's interests along its lengthy border with Germany. Propaganda and fear tactics were, once again, the rule of the day. Hitler stirred the ethnic Germans living in the Sudetenland, a former territory of the Austrian Empire, into a frenzy. There were local Nazi party organizations formed and the news coming out of the region was fabricated to make it look like the government of Czechoslovakia was oppressing its German citizens when, in fact, the social chaos that was occurring was actually created by the local Nazi organizations. Ahead of Hitler's October seizure of the Sudetenland, Neville Chamberlain sent one of his cabinet members, the Lord Runciman, to try and secure a peaceful settlement of the issue. It was determined, after he met the Czechoslovakian government that there would be a referendum in the Sudetenland. This was only a formality, however, as the referendum was scheduled for December, which was longer than Hitler was willing to wait. Interestingly enough, under Nazi administration the referendum was still conducted and returned a nearly ninety-eight percent vote in favor of Germany. Johann Wolfgang Bruegel covered this in his book, Czechoslovakia Before Munich, published in 1973. In this case, as well, the leaders of Europe justified letting Hitler have his way because it was German speaking counties that he was taking from Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia's army was none to pleased.

A year after the Anschluss, and only three months after the German occupation of the Sudetenland, the rest of Czechoslovakia fell. Spencer Tucker and Priscilla Mary Roberts cover the event in their book, World War II: A Political Social, and Military History, published in 2005. Prior to Hitler taking the rest of Czechoslovakia, he was to hold a conference with the major leaders of Europe. They were meeting to talk peace. Led by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, these men met with Hitler in Munich. There, on September 29, 1938, they formally signed the Sudetenland away, on the promise that Hitler was done expanding Germany's borders. This became known at the Munich Agreement. In it, Hitler made a promise to make no further attempts to gain territory in Europe, and made it clear that he understood that any further aggression on his part, would be considered an act of war and would be met with military resistance from any European nation that was able. This was the first time that Europe's primary leaders had made such a real threat to Hitler, and because they had given in to him so many times already, it is widely known that he did not take the agreement seriously. Though Neville Chamberlain returned to Britain proclaiming "Peace in our time," Hitler returned to Berlin, where he sent an ultimatum to the Lithuanians and then began the plans to invade Poland. Though, before he did this, he made up a bunch of malarchy about the Czechoslovakian government, which he used as justification to wipe yet another country of the map of Europe. Britain, then, issued an even sterner warning, as they knew where Hitler was looking next. It seems interesting that this was not the point where they made good on their threat to take Hitler's actions as an 'Act of War.' Frank McDonough covered this in his book, Hitler, Chamberlain, and Appeasement, published in 2002.

World War II commenced on September 1, 1939, and the war in Europe was not brought to a destructive end until just one day over six years later, when Germany, absent the now dead Adolf Hitler, surrendered to the Allied Powers on September 2, 1945, with the United States, Britain, and Russia at the head. It began when Hitler violated the Munich Agreement, for the second time, when he invaded Poland. It is interesting to note that the invasion of Poland also involved the Soviet Union, as originally Hitler had secured a non-aggression pact, the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Joseph Stalin's Russia. He secured this pact, so that he could intentionally break it. Stalin, it has been recorded, had every intention of keeping the pact. This was just one more appeasement. Once Hitler entered Poland, there was no turning back, he was going to keep fighting until he either achieved total victory or he was brought down with the force of an entire world. The later was the case, at the expense of nearly fifty million lives. Imagine what the world would have been like if he had been stopped years before when he first attempted to enter the Rhineland, or years before that when he was still an insignificant blip on the German political scene. This, however, is the exact opposite of what actually happened, and the world, as argued, paid dearly for it. Joseph W. Bendersky does a good job of recounting these events in his book, A History of Nazi Germany: 1919 to 1945, published in 2000.

Appeasement in the Twenty-First Century

"Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it." -George Santayana

One would think that after a foreign policy measure had suffered such a drastic failure, to the tune of nearly fifty million dead, leaders around the world would try to find others ways to deal with tyrants than just by giving into their demands without a fight. After all, as has been shown, appeasement can only last so long before it is too late to stop that tyrant from taking the whole world down with them. Unfortunately, it would seem that coming into the early parts of of the Twenty-First Century, appeasement seems to still be in use. This can be seen, very clearly, in five present day contexts. First, most recently, one can see it in how people are reacting to the election of Donald Trump to the office of the Presidency of the United States. Second, and probably much more effectively, it can be seen in how nations are responding to the use of Terrorism and violence. Third, it can be seen in how the American government responded to the latest banking crisis, the collapse of the traditional automotive market, and the last massive dip in the housing market. Fourth, it can also be seen clear as day in the recent 'electoral seizure of the Crimea, from the sovereign control of the nation of Ukraine, by Vladimir Putin's Russia. Finally, it can be viewed in how the Western powers have reacted to China's handling of the Tibetan independence movement. However, in order to understand the present and to predict the future, one must understand the past. Otherwise, none of the present problems will really make all that much sense. This is why so much effort was put into understanding how appeasement played out with Hitler in Europe.

Donald Trump

"Grab 'em by the pussy!" - Donald Trump

One might think it difficult to apply the concept of Appeasement to the 2016 Presidential election, however, in reality, it is quite simple to understand. Consider that from the very beginning of the election cycle, Donald Trump was spewing language that can only be described as putrid. He verbally assaulted African Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, the LGBTQ Community, the Physically and Mentally Disabled, and many more, and all the while, the leadership of the Republican Party and worse, the Progressive Wing of American politics, all gave him the same scant dismissal, "There is no way that someone spewing such nonsense will every make it through the primaries." They kept waiting for his campaign to implode on itself and refused to believe that here were enough people in this country that would fall for his rhetoric to the point that he would actually be the Republican nominee for President. They ignored his rising numbers and his unexpected primary victories for so long that by the time they came around to actually condemning him for his behavior, it was too late. He was already on his way to becoming the nominee. The same was done once he was the Republican party's nominee. The RNC convention was a complete sham, as it was nothing more than the beginning a long line to kiss Trump's rear end. Immediately after he was nominated, those very same people, who just the day before had been insulting him and asking him to drop out of the election, were some of the first people in that line. It was disgusting to watch. 

Even more, the closer the election came, the longer the line got, and now, since he was won the election, the whole of the Republican party is lining up for political favors. This is despite the disgusting rhetoric that he used during the general election campaign against Clinton. During the general election campaign, he once again dove into a slew of insults against anyone and everyone that he could manage to find a way insult, and made promises the like of which led many people to make similar statements as before, "There is no way that someone spewing such nonsense will ever make it into the White House." How far did that get them? Guess who the President-Elect is? Further, as mentioned, the Republicans who once trashed Trump are now begging the American people to set aside their differences and find a way to unite behind the new incoming President. It has gotten to the point that there are even Progressives who are seeking political favor from him. They are trying unify the entire country behind someone that they know is nothing but trouble, just so they can retain some sort of political peace. Good luck with that! 

Here is another, even more interesting sign that this is a case of appeasement for the sake of political stability. Any time that anyone challenges Trump now, in any way, they are forced to apologize or find themselves publicly shamed to the point that their job or reputation may be on the line. This goes for his family too. Recently, a comedian parodied Melania Trump and was accused of being a racist. She was forced to apologize. It makes one wonder, "Where was all of the public outrage was when people parodied Michelle Obama?" Beyond this, Trump, has made every inclination in his speeches that he is endorsing or plans to endorse policies, his support of the DAPL being an example, that polls have a clearly shown a majority of Americans are against. He is also building an executive cabinet that will do all it can to take the United States back to the Jim Crow era, and no one is making any REAL effort to stop him. The recount movement is a joke, as it looks like nothing more than a scant effort by certain progressives to appear morally superior as they look forward to the 2020 election. What is he going to be able to get away with once he is office? The thought of what is yet to come in a Trump presidency is nothing short of terrifying. How far are people willing to let him go before they decide that enough is enough, and when they do finally decided to stop him, will it be too late? What will be left of this country when he done with it?


"Two days after the Boston marathon bombings, there was a drone strike in Yemen attacking a peaceful village, which killed a target who could very easily have been apprehended. But, of course, it is just easier to terrorize people. The drones are a terrorist weapon; they not only kill targets but also terrorize other people." - Noam Chomsky

Looking at the picture above, one might think that this section would be about how the United States has appeased organizations like Al Qaeda or ISIS, however, this is not the case. This section will actually be about how the United States has actually terrorized the world. It will further be an exploration into why the United States, after nearly two-hundred and fifty years, is still able to get away with it. It will, further, ask the question, "When will the world have had enough?" The United States was able to get away with some its earliest crimes for a number of reasons. They were able to get away with the theft of human beings, the illegal transport of human beings, the enslavement of human beings, the torture of human beings, and the buying and selling of human beings, first because they were not the only ones conducting the slave trade in the beginning. Second, they were able to do so because at the time that the slave trade began, the West African kingdoms were going through a period of internal conflict that made it difficult to organize large scale resistance to the slave trade, and the slave trade only made this worse. Third, these kingdoms were actually profiting off of the slave trade. They would capture enemy soldiers in battle in the interior of the continent and then sell them to European slavers on the coast. Fourth, slavery has been a part human cultures since organized cultures first formed. No one in the world, at the time slavery was at its height in the United States, had any broad objections to the practice. Finally, who was going to come from wherever in the world and force the United States to end slavery? It took a domestic conflict over slavery to end the practice in the United States; otherwise, it may have survived the Nineteenth Century.

There is, then, the manner in which the United States has treated the indigenous populations within its own borders, and at times, out side of its immediate borders. It can be described in short, at the least, as completely unconscionable. The carnage induced the United States Army during the Pontiac Rebellion cannot be excused. Entire villages were raised to the ground, with all living beings falling to American muskets, no matter their gender, age, or species. The acts of genocide committed by Andrew Jackson against the peoples of what is now the traditional Deep South, namely the Creek, the Cherokee, and the Seminole peoples, is without question, a serious stain on the United States' human rights record. There can be no excuse for this treatment. However, the United States got away with these actions for much the same reason that other nations around the world got away with it. During this time period, treating indigenous tribes like this was pretty much the gold standard when a more technologically advanced culture was hunting for resources that the native tribes happened to be living on top of. There are, of course, the actions perpetrated by the United States government after the Civil War. Initially under the leadership of General William Tecumseh Sherman, of partial native stock himself, followed by a long list of despots and genocidal maniacs, the United States government opened up the plains to rabid commercial hunting of the massive Bison herds. This was done at the recommendation of General Sherman, who knew that if the bison herds were destroyed, the tribes that lived on the plains would not be far behind them. Benjamin Madley explores this reality in his article, "Reexamining the American Genocide Debate: Meaning, Historiography, and New Methods." published in the American Historical Review, in February of 2015.

When the herds were finally desolated, and after several land seizures, made in violation of countless treaties, the Plains Tribes rose up against the government, giving the government the apparent excuse that they needed to break their backs. However, even after massacres like Wounded Knee, the trouble was not over. Native Children were placed in parochial schools in an effort to teach them how to be white. Speaking one's native language became a crime punishable by severe beatings, and practicing native culture rituals could get a person lynched. Furthermore, Native Americans were not granted U.S. Citizenship until June of 1924. So, basically, they were not qualified to live in their native land until the United States government told them they were. The story goes on. The Twentieth Century witnessed even more land seizures as more and more reservations were found to be sitting on top of deposits of oil, gold, coal, and other 'needed' resources, and this has carried on the Twenty-First Century. Even as this piece is read, there are Native Americans, along with U.S. Military Veterans and other Americans with a heart, getting shot with rubber bullets, doused with water cannons in freezing weather, and much more, all over the path to be taken by an oil pipeline.

In the late Nineteenth Century, the United States did not get any flack for this behavior because nations like the United Kingdom were in the middle of conflicts with the indigenous peoples of colonies that they ruled, and they were using the very same tactics that the United States used against its own indigenous peoples. However, now, the United States is beginning to draw negative attention from around the world. Though that has not stopped what is happening, it is a good thing that the United States is finally being questioned about how it treats its own people. The United Nations may even be getting involved soon. It's about time, after all, the United States is only responsible for around one-hundred million dead. The most recent development in this story came when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the direction of President Barack Obama, denied an appeasement for the oil company that wanted to dig under the Standing Rock Sioux's section of the Missouri River. Though the fight is not over, this is an important victory; and hopefully, it can be at turning point in how this country treats Native Americans. Unfortunately, only Donald Trump has the power to make that determination after he takes office on January 20, 2017. James H. McGregor does a good job of telling these stories in his book, The Wounded Knee Massacre: From the Viewpoint of the Sioux, published in 1991.

Let the page now turn to how the United States treated the slaves that were freed by the Civil War and the subsequent amendments to the Constitution. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments formally and legally ended slavery, granted the freed slaves citizenship, and then granted them the same rights as are enjoyed by all other Americans. However, after the end of Construction, this all changed. Construction ended with appeasement. The Northern based Republican Party was having a difficult time dealing with the Southern based Democratic Party's violent reactions to the laws enacted during Reconstruction. So, a deal was made. The senior leaders of the Democratic Party would restore peace, in exchange for the complete withdraw of all federal forces from the South. These men restored peace by initiating what history now knows as the era of Jim Crow. During this period in US History which lasted from the end of the 1870s until the early 1960s, men, women, and children were beaten, lynched, paid starvation wages, and segregated in all public areas to include schools, bathrooms, libraries, and much, and much more. It was not until African Americans were able to put together a national resistance movement, based on non-violence that anything began to change. Did anything really change, though? African Americans are still the most heavily incarcerated section of the American population, the are still the people most likely to get shot by the police, and they are still, on average, paid less for the same work that a white person will do. The police brutality of the late Twentieth Century and early Twenty-First Century is domestic terrorism, as was the work of the KKK in the late Nineteenth Century and the Early Twentieth Century. There can be no excuse for a government condoning such behavior only to demonize the people being terrorized when they finally offer resistance. It is ridiculous, and for once U.S. History, the world is finally seeing what is going on. On more than one occasion, the United States has been admonished for its treatment of its own people; though, nothing has yet been done to stop it, and the United States still somehow finds itself in a position to criticize other nations on their human rights records.

Finally, the United States' military record abroad must be addressed. The first real chance that the United States got a chance to flex its muscles was during the Mexican-American War. A fabricated border conflict, created by the illegal occupation of Texas by slaveholding Americans, led to the seizure of over half of Mexico's territory, all at gun point. This was an illegal war of aggression, and during this war, the United States Army committed more acts of genocide in small villages all over northern and eastern Mexico than can be properly accounted for. This is followed up by the United States' involvement in Cuba and the Philippines after the defeat of Spain in the Spanish-American War. The United States was illegally influencing Cuban affairs after the war, but what happened in Cuba is minor in comparison to what happened in the Philippines. The first fifteen years of the military occupation of the Philippines was marred by a massive guerrilla war, in witch the United States is responsible for an estimated two-hundred thousand deaths, and it was a war that began as a result of American political treachery. After the United States suppressed the guerrillas, they administered the Philippines like a conquered territory, forcing people to live by laws that were not their own for another thirty plus years. It was not until after World War II, when Europe's colonial empires were on their last leg that the United States was encouraged by its international partners to 'give' the the Philippines its independence, as if it was the United States' to give in the first place. Where were these international partners when American soldiers were burning down entire villages, raping women, and killing anyone that refused to help them get what they originally came for in the first place, raw natural rubber.

Where else has the United States stuck its nose in other people's business? It's first completely unwarranted military engagement, post World War II, was in Southeast Asia in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos where, in the space of just over twenty years, nearly one and half million civilians lost their lives. The psychical and psychological damage that the United States caused those people that survived is unimaginable and the infrastructure costs that were incurred by the wars in that region could bankrupt even the richest of countries. To this day, the United States has not been challenged for dropping Agent Orange on civilian populations, for razing entire cities to the grounds, or raping and killing women, men, and children of all ages, and it was all done in the name of resources, i.e., rubber and heroin. The number of people killed should be the focus of an international inquiry, but for some reason, as of yet, no investigation has or will ever likely be conducted.

What of the United States' involvement in the drug war in Central and South America? Interestingly enough, as the United States spends billions of dollars each year to arm whichever guerrilla group it is supporting that year, a billion dollar industry for drugs from around the world has sprouted in the United States, increasing drug dependency in this country and putting thousands upon thousands of non-violent offenders in prison for large portions of their lives. When it comes to the drug war, Afghanistan can be brought into the fray because while cocaine and marijuana are the primary drugs in West, the primary drug in the east is Heroin, and Afghanistan provides the raw materials for over seventy-five percent of the world's heroin supply, if not more. There is something else going on here though. The United States government did not send soldiers into the countries to amp up the the illegal drug trade. They sent troops into these countries to secure the resources needed by the pharmaceutical industry. In Afghanistan, soldiers are tasked with guarding poppy fields, while in Central and South America, they are tasked with securing safe routes for the transport of the most profitable crop from that region, Cocaine; though marijuana does get some attention, as well. In the mean time, the United States government is responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children, as it is not as if these fields are secured peacefully.

There is also, of course, the United States' actions on behalf of big oil. The first Iraq war was fought to secure Iraq's oil field, though, it failed. The second Iraq War was fought for the same reason, and has had more success, to the tune of nearly half a million dead Iraqis. Since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, people from around the world have engaged in a counter terror war against the United States, which has expanded the United States' 'War on Terror' to Syria, Yemen, Libya, back to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many other places. This expanded war is threatening to involve the entire world in a flaming hot conflict that could quickly descend down a rabbit hole from which they may find it impossible to escape. So, with a near two-hundred and fifty year record of committing terrorist acts against defenseless civilians, the United States is on the brink of taking the world to war, and nothing is being done about it. What does the rest of the world think is going to happen if nothing is done to put this country in check? Are the United States government and the corporations that run it going to suddenly grow a conscience, stop what they are doing, and then turn around and offer some heart felt apology for their crimes? When that cold day in hell comes, this author would like to be there. The greatest threat to world peace right now is the United States. Something has got to be done. This country's record does not look good and appeasement, on the part of the rest of the world, through inaction or small admonishments, is not going to solve the problem. Please, do something before it is too late! Those few of use left who have a good heart can only take so much before we burst, and then the situation will get really out of hand, as the world watches the United States commit acts of terrorism on its entire population, instead of just a select section of brown people.

Corporate Socialism

"I can always hire one half of the poor to kill the other half." - Jay Gould

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, 122 Stat. 3765 (2008), commonly referred to as a bailout of the U.S. financial system, is a law enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis, which authorized the United States Secretary of the Treasury to spend up to $700 billion to purchase distressed assets, especially mortgage-backed securities, and supply cash directly to banks. The funds for the purchase of distressed assets were mostly redirected to inject capital into banks and other financial institutions while the Treasury continued to examine the usefulness of targeted asset purchases. Both foreign and domestic banks were included in the program. The law was proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson during the global financial crisis of 2008 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. After the freeing up of world capital markets in the 1970s and the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act, 48 Stat. 162 (1933) in 1999, the banking practices, mostly Greenspan inspired "self-regulation," along with monetized subprime mortgages sold as no risk investments, reached a critical stage during September of 2008, characterized by severely contracted liquidity in the global credit markets and insolvency threats to investment banks and other institutions. In response, the U.S. government announced a series of comprehensive steps to address the problems, following a series of "one-off" or "case-by-case" decisions to intervene or not, such as the $85 billion liquidity facility for American International Group on September 16, 2008, the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. It is important to note that under the Glass-Steagall Act, these types of banking practices would have induced federal felony investigations on whoever was involved with them, as such practices were precisely what cause the Great Depression to occur.

In his testimony before the U.S. Senate on September 23, 2008, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson summarized the rationale for the bailout. He argued that it would stabilize the economy saying, "We must avoid a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets that threaten American families' financial well-being, the viability of businesses both small and large, and the very health of our economy. " He argued that it would improve the banks' liquidity saying, "These bad loans have created a chain reaction and last week our credit markets froze, even some main street non-financial companies had trouble financing their normal business operations. If that situation were to persist, it would threaten all parts of our economy." He declared the bailout to be a comprehensive strategy saying, "We must, now, take further decisive action to fundamentally and comprehensively address the root cause of this turmoil, and that root cause is the housing correction which has resulted in illiquid mortgage-related assets that are choking off the flow of credit which is so vitally important to our economy. We must address this underlying problem, and restore confidence in our financial markets and financial institutions, so they can perform their mission of supporting future prosperity and growth." He also called the action immediate and significant saying, "This troubled asset relief program has to be properly designed for immediate implementation and be sufficiently large to have maximum impact and restore market confidence. It must also protect the taxpayer to the maximum extent possible and include provisions that ensure transparency and oversight while also ensuring the program can be implemented quickly and run effectively." He also indicated that he was looking at the broader impact of the action saying, "This troubled asset purchase program on its own is the single most effective thing we can do to help homeowners and the American people and to stimulate our economy."

In his testimony before the U.S. Senate on the same day, Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, also summarized the rationale for the bailout. He indicated that he was looking out for investor confidence saying, "Among the firms under the greatest pressure were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and, more recently, American International Group. As investors lost confidence in them, these companies saw their access to liquidity and capital markets increasingly impaired and their stock prices drop sharply." He also stated, "Purchasing impaired assets will create liquidity and promote price discovery in the markets for these assets, while reducing investor uncertainty about the current value and prospects of financial institutions. More generally, removing these assets from institutions' balance sheets will help to restore confidence in our financial markets and enable banks and other institutions to raise capital and to expand credit to support economic growth. He was also concerned that not lending the money would have a negative impact on the economy and GDP saying, "We have seen extraordinarily turbulent conditions in global financial markets. These conditions caused equity prices to fall sharply, the cost of short-term credit, where available, to spike upward, and liquidity to dry up in many markets. Losses at a large money market mutual fund sparked extensive withdrawals from a number of such funds. A marked increase in the demand for safe assets, a flight to quality, sent the yield on Treasury bills down to a few hundredths of a percent. By further reducing asset values and potentially restricting the flow of credit to households and businesses, these developments pose a direct threat to economic growth."

The automotive industry crisis that lasted from 2008 to 2010 was a part of a global financial downturn. The crisis affected European and Asian automobile manufacturers, but it was primarily felt in the American automobile manufacturing industry. The downturn also affected Canada by virtue of the Automotive Products Trade Agreement. The automotive industry was weakened by a substantial increase in the prices of automotive fuels linked to the the energy crisis that lasted from 2003 to 2008 and strongly discouraged purchases of sport utility vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks. All vehicles that fit into these categories are known to have very poor fuel economy. The popularity and relatively high profit margins of these vehicles had encouraged the American "Big Three" automakers, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, to make them their primary focus. With fewer fuel-efficient models to offer to consumers, sales began to slide. By 2008, the situation had turned critical as the credit crunch placed pressure on the prices of raw materials. Car companies from Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere have implemented creative marketing strategies to entice reluctant consumers as most of the companies continued to experience double digit percentage declines in sales, despite their best efforts.

Major manufacturers, including the Big Three and Toyota offered substantial discounts across their lineups. The Big Three faced criticism for their lineups, which were seen to be irresponsible in light of rising fuel prices. North American consumers turned to smaller, cheaper, more fuel-efficient imports from Japan and Europe. The crisis in the United States is mainly defined by the government rescue of both General Motors and Chrysler. Ford secured a line of credit in case they required a bridging loan in the near future. Car sales declined in the United States, affecting both US based and foreign car manufacturers. The bridging loans led to greater scrutiny of the U.S. automotive industry in addition to criticism of their product range, product quality, high labour wages, and job bank programs. The government backed rescue of the American auto industry gained the support of 37% of Americans in 2009 according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, and it gained the support of 56% of Americans in 2012 according to a Pew Research Center Poll. Chrysler was forced into bankruptcy in April of 2009 and General Motors followed them in May. While the Big Three's U.S. market share declined from seventy percent of the global automotive market in 1998, to fifty three percent in 2008, global volume increased to match the loss in the United States in both Asia and Europe. All in all, when the loans were completely stopped in 2014, the United States treasury had dealt out EIGHTY BILLION DOLLARS in tax payer backed loans to the Big Three and several smaller automobile manufacturers. 

The numbers presented here do not include the money given to the Airline Industry after the 9/11 attacks. Nor does it include various bailouts that have been doled out to the Corporate Agriculture Industry, Big Oil, the Health Industry, the Pharmaceutical Industry, and more. All in all, total expenditures on behalf of big business, in the last fifty years or so, have exceeded ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. This was all done to, as Paulson and Bernanke put it, to keep the industries bailed out from falling apart and damaging the stability of the American economy. Now, countless investigations, conducted since these bailouts were given, have proven that the bailouts were not actually necessary. What these investigations showed, instead, was that the bailouts generally went to cover the decreased profit margins incurred by companies during economic downturns. What this means, essentially, is that greedy corporate officers, along with their friends in the government, held the American people hostage with the threat of total economic collapse so that they could maintain their lifestyle and position at the top of the corporate world, and every single time that they have come knocking, the U.S. government has been at their beck and call. If this is not appeasement, then nothing is. The thing that makes this worse is the fact that this economic model has been mimicked all over the world and has created such a large mountain of debt that it would take millennia for it all to be paid off if the circle of debt creation were to end today, and that is not likely to happen.

This is counter to the Capitalist Free Market economic theory that this world supposedly runs on. What is actually supposed to happen when a company becomes insolvent? If there are other companies that can buy them out, or they can sell their assets off piece meal, they are supposed to do that until they are able to return to a positive balance in their registers. If that is not possible, they file for bankruptcy and close up shop. The initial shock of such an action does damage the economy of a country, but if the system is allowed to operate according to theory, the gap that this creates will only last for a short period because, in theory, there will be another company that is able to better meet the needs of the market. The reality is that very few economies ever operate according to anyone theory. A successful economy almost always operates on a mixture of a lot of theories, so that it can account for all of the uncertainties of a global economy. The problem with the present U.S economy is that it is continuing to operate on a mixture of theories, referred to as "Trickle Down Economics," that has proven time and time again to be unsuccessful, where giving money to wealthy and the corporations that they run is supposed to trickle wealth down to the masses, who will then benefit from the immense prosperity that the people at the top are enjoying. 

The problem with this model is that it is ignoring the concept of the "Invisible Hand." The Invisible Hand is not actually invisible, though. The invisible hand is the consumer, the people who buy the products that companies produce, and when the Invisible Hand is being properly used, companies that fail to meet the needs of the consumer are supposed to fail, so that companies who are properly using it can rise in their place. If this is not being done and companies that continually threaten the welfare of the economy to secure their profit margins, at the expense of the taxpayer, are being allowed to hold up the government whenever they choose, eventually, the whole system will collapse in on itself, and everyone will suffer. It has happened before, just look at the economic desolation that occurred during the Great Depression. The only way to fix this problem was to repair the economy from the bottom up, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew this. This is where programs like Social Security and Unemployment were born. Morris Dickstein tells a great story of this era in his book, Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression, published in 2009, where he shows how the American people learned to deal with the hard economics times that they were forced to endure. As President Roosevelt showed during the Great Depression, if anyone in a Capitalist economy should be appeased, it is the people that are the central drive of the economy, the Invisible Hand, or the people that are purchasing the products that companies are producing. In other words, the U.S. government should be kissing the American people's derriere, for fear of what will happen if they are unable to work, produce products, and purchase the products that they have produced.

Vladimir Putin and the Seizure of the Crimea

"We don't need a weakened government but a strong government that would take responsibility for the rights of the individual and care for the society as a whole." - Vladimir Putin

The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. On the evening of February 22, 2014 over to the morning of February 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin convened an all night meeting with security services chiefs to discuss extrication of deposed President, Viktor Yanukovych, and at the end of that meeting Putin remarked that "we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia." Russia sent in soldiers on February 27, 2014, and not long after, Crimea held a referendum. According to some Russian and Crimean sources ninety-five percent of the population voted to reunite with Russia, but others indicated that only some thirty percent voted in favor of reunification. The legitimacy of the referendum has been questioned by the international community on both legal and procedural grounds. A prolonged crisis began on November 21, 2013, when then President Yanukovych suspended preparations for the implementation of an association agreement with the European Union. This decision resulted in mass protests by its proponents, known as the "Euromaidan." After months of such protests, Yanukovych was ousted by the protesters on February 22, 2014, after which, he fled the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev. Following his ousting, unrest enveloped the largely Russophone eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, from where he had drawn most of his support. An ensuing political crisis and Russian military intervention in the Ukrainian autonomous region of Crimea resulted in the annexation of Crimea by Russia on March 18, 2014. Subsequently, unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine evolved into a war between the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government and pro-Russian insurgents, supported and often assisted by the Russian military and special forces.

It was Putin's intent from the very beginning of this conflict to return Crimea to the sovereign control of the Russian Federation. The area that is the nation of Ukraine, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, was part of Russia for over one thousand years. For someone like Putin, a former member of the Soviet KGB, this was a dramatic slap in the face. Once the new Russian Federation was established, the satellite republics, Lithuania, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the like, were granted their independence. This was another slap in the face to Putin, who was appointed Director of the Russian Federation's Federal Security Service, essentially, the new face of the KGB. However, of all the republics lost, Ukraine was, by far, the most important for at least three reasons. First, Ukraine has the best environment for the planting of all kinds of agricultural products, which made it, for hundreds of years, the bread basket of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. Second, it also has huge stores of natural gas and oil. Finally, and most importantly, however, is the geopolitical position of Ukraine. When Ukraine was lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a very important region left with it. This region, of course, was the Crimea. For the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, this was the only region in the whole of its western territories where the ports were not frozen for a portion of the year. The only other such port in their territory was in the far east, Vladivostok. The ports in the Crimea gave Russia control of the Black Sea and the ability to effect international politics in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Without direct control of those ports, Russia's ability to secure its interests in the region were hampered. Orlando Figes recounts the geopolitical importance of this region in his book, The Crimean War: A History, published in 2010.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the blame for which Putin put squarely upon the shoulders of Boris Yeltsin, Putin was extremely unhappy with the loss of Ukraine, and more importantly the Crimea. It was his goal from day one, when he was first appointed to run the Federal Security Services, as was said, to get this region back. There is something important to note here. It is not like Russia did not have use of the ports in the Crimea. They had all the use they needed. The only catch was that every so often they had to renegotiate the contracts for the use of those ports with Ukrainian government which, depending on who was in power in the Ukraine, could be a bit of a pain. In his position as Directory of Federal Security, and then as President and Prime Minister, Putin took this situation personally. Over the years, when the leadership of Ukraine was pro Russia, Putin's job was pretty easy; however, in the years when the government of Ukraine was more interested in the continued sovereignty of Ukraine and its relationship with Europe, his job was much more difficult. It is during these periods that he resorted to political intrigue to ensure that he got the preferred deal for Russia. Over the years, this turned into a roller coaster ride that Putin began to grow tired of. So, after the ousting of Ukrainian President Yanukovych in February of 2014, Putin began looking for a more secure option. This second revolution in ten years, both in retaliation against Russian involvement in Ukrainian affairs, was his go sign.

Using propaganda directly targeted at the large ethnic Russian population in the Crimean region, Putin demonized the new Ukrainian government that had again ousted one of his political friends. He stirred the people up, but when that was not enough to secure a secession vote in the region, he began arming and training local militia units, who made it their goal in life to completely destabilize the region, to the point that the new government could not maintain law and order. This was much more successful. Though, there are those who believed that the militia units were actually detachments of the Russian Army's Spetsnaz, or Special Forces; they were billeted by the Russian government as local militias. Once the region was in sufficient chaos, Putin ordered the regular army into the region in the name of order and stability. Once they secured the region, which did not take long, the leadership of the Crimea began to call for a secession vote, which would be followed by a formal request to be reabsorbed by Russia. Though the Russian Army did withdraw so for the period in which the vote was to be held, there was still a sufficiently strong Russian presence that claims of corruption were not unfounded. Depending on who one speaks to, as mentioned, the referendum either went Russia's way in the extreme, or it was a nasty defeat for Russia. Regardless of international or local opinion in the matter, Putin took the supposed ninety-five percent victory as the correct number and welcomed the Crimea back home to Mother Russia.

So, how did Europe and the United States respond to this whole ordeal? First of all, the Europe Union has been trying to absorb Ukraine for some time; and second of all, the United States has been trying to get it into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Of course. Putin and Russia strongly oppose both of these actions. So, for Europe and the United States, a new government that was pro EU was a good thing. They embraced the revolution as a turning point for Ukraine and its relations with the West. However, when Russia began interfering with the revolution, their support unfortunately wavered a bit. When the ousted Rusophile, President Yanukovych, sought asylum in Russia, they warned Putin not to take him in, but when Putin took him in, they did nothing to stop or punish him. When Putin began directly interfering with Ukraine's ability to control the Crimea, they warned Putin to cease and desist, and warned him further that sending troops into Ukraine would be considered a hostile act. When he ignored their warnings and sent troops in anyways, the best they could muster was economic sanctions. When they could see that he was clearly rigging the secession election, the warned him to stop. When he refused, the worst they did was strengthen the economic restrictions. They did not apply any force to stop him, and he ignored the economic restrictions.

So, here is what makes Europe's and the United States' actions appeasement. Russia, with Putin pushing all along, violated countless international laws, threatened the political and geographic sovereignty of another nation, and on more than one occasion, dared other nations to do something. His actions mirrored those of Adolf Hitler almost perfectly, and Europe and United States' responses mirrored those of Neville Chamberlain's era just as closely. When it came down to making Russia answer for their actions, his opponents, fearful of the consequences of stopping him with even a little bit of force, backed down, and he got his way. Even worse, the economic restrictions placed on Russia will soon be lifted. So, basically, Putin got what he wanted and paid almost no real price for it. What is to stop him from doing this all over again in another country? What is to stop him from taking the rest of Ukraine if he sees fit to do so? At the moment, there is nothing in his way, and he is already eye balling other targets like those states in the Baltic region and the states in Central Asia that could bolster his position in that region, especially as China expands its reach there. If he does not believe that anyone is brave enough to stop him, he will do the same as Hitler did. He will keep going at it until he sparks World War III, and one can imagine that that is just about the last thing this world needs right now. So, in the name of peace, Europe and the United States need to find a way to stop this guy in his tracks now, before it is too late, and slapping him around a bit is not that bad of an idea.

China and the Tibetan Revolution

"Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed." - Mao Tse Tung

The 1959 Tibetan Uprising, or the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, began on March 10, 1959, when a revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of the province, Tibet Area, which had been under the effective control of the People's Republic of China since the Seventeen Point Agreement in 1951. This happened amidst the departure of fourteenth Dalai Lama in 1959 and the commencement of armed conflicts between Tibetan rebels and the Chinese army which started in 1956 in the Kham and Amdo regions, in response to unwanted socialist reforms. The guerrilla warfare later spread to other areas of Tibet and lasted through 1962. The anniversary of the uprising is observed by Tibetan exiles as the Tibetan Uprising Day. The anniversary of its end is celebrated in Tibet, under order of the Chinese government, as Serfs Emancipation Day. Tibetan Uprising Day is observed primarily by organizations and individuals who support Tibet such as, Students for a Free Tibet, and is often accompanied by the release of a statement by the Dalai Lama. Tibetan independence groups often organize protests or campaigns on March 10 to draw attention to the situation in Tibet.

Within China, Tibet is identified as an autonomous region. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the Eighteenth Century and include about half of ethno cultural Tibet. The Tibet Autonomous Region is the second-largest province level division of China by area, spanning over 1,200,000 square kilometers, after Xinjiang, and mostly due to its harsh and rugged terrain, is the least densely populated provincial level division of the People's Republic of China. In 1966, The China Report published an anonymous article, "Tibet : Autonomy or Integration?: The 'Tibetan Revolution' is At an Uncertain Stage," which goes into brief but intense detail on the early stages of this conflict. Benno Ryan Weiner also covered this story in a PhD Dissertation that he wrote for Columbia University in 2012, The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier: State Building, National Integration and Socialist Transformation, TsĂ©khok County, 1953-1958.

In March 2008, Tibet, known for its deeply religious and peaceful Buddhist peoples, broke out in widespread protests all over the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as, in the ethnically Tibetan areas of neighboring provinces. Some of these protests were peaceful, but others turned into riots and violence, including the burning and looting of stores owned by Han Chinese, China's majority ethnic group. When violent rioting broke out in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on March 14, 2008, after four days of peaceful protests, businesses owned by Han Chinese were looted and burned. At least nineteen people were killed, most of them Han Chinese. This is, at least, the official report released to the international press by the Chinese government. The Chinese government's response to the protests and riots throughout Tibet was swift and extreme. By some estimates, the March protests culminated in the deaths of over one hundred unarmed Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks. The China-Tibet conflict is often viewed as an ethnic or religious conflict.

This is understandable, given the prominence of ethnicity and religion in the conflict. First, while the native inhabitants of the Tibetan plateau are Tibetans, the majority ethnic group in China is Han Chinese. The Chinese government is made up mostly of Han Chinese, and it does not have a strong record of dealing with China's ethnic minorities, like Tibetans, in a fair way. Secondly, virtually all Tibetans are Buddhists, while ethnic Han Chinese are generally not, even though the Chinese people are becoming increasingly religious, including Buddhist, now that the ideology of communism is beginning to be overwhelmed by the western capitalist philosophy. Moreover, the Chinese government has a history of persecuting religious movements, especially those which draw large numbers of followers and which have the potential to transform into political movements that could potentially threaten the regime's hold on power. Tibetan Buddhism has this kind of following and transformative potential. For these reasons, headlines from the Tibet conflict often paint a picture of intense religious and ethnic conflict. While these are aspects of the conflict, they are better described as residual causes, or even consequences, of it.

The real nature of the conflict in Tibet is natural resources. Tibet sits, primarily, on top of the Himalayan mountains, which has proven to be a source of immense mineral wealth. For that reason, alone, China has consistently rejected the idea of an independent Tibet and has continuously fought to ensure that such a thing never happens. Here is where appeasement comes into the picture. It does so in three ways. First, in the early days of this conflict, the Republic of China's government, which fled to what is now Taiwan when Mao took over China, was the only broadly internationally recognized government of China, so Mao's China, the People's Republic of China took advantage of being ignored and used the time available to them to harshly put down any resistance to their rule that surfaced. All the West had to do was focus their attention on Taiwan, and they could plead ignorance, even though, it is very clear now that the international community was fully aware of what the Chinese were doing in Tibet. Second, the mainland Chinese government portrayed the conflict as an effort to free the Tibetan people form the rule of an oppressive theocratic government and corrupt religion that enforced a harsh system of serfdom.

Finally, the West has continuously avoided the issue out of fear of starting a war with a country whose military strength is slowly surpassing that of the entire world combined. The first circumstance gave the West the convenience of pleading ignorance, and the second circumstance allowed the West to, again, plead ignorance, especially since they did not even recognize the legitimacy of the mainland Chinese government. The third circumstance, motivated by fear, gave them the chance to avoid a war that could possibly engulf the entire globe. This all, of course, has come at the expense of a people and religion that promotes peace so intensely that many of their people will burn themselves alive rather that engage in physical violence against the Chinese government. This pattern of conceding to the mainland Chinese government, which is now the formerly recognized government of Chine, has only continued. As China grows stronger, it has begun to flex its muscles in its immediate geopolitical region. This has resulted in several near misses with the Chinese military as they begin to project their power outward towards nations in Southeast Asia that have generally, in the past, looked to the West for protection.

How has the West responded to this? They have done so by, regularly, backing down in the face of a Chinese government that projects itself has not being afraid to make them pay dearly if they try to stand in their way. These are all cases of appeasement because Western powers are allowing China to get away with behavior that threatens the lives of innocent people because they are afraid of a potentially bloody and destructive war. If China had been stopped before its military grew to such strengths, this would be a non issue now, but just as in the previous cases that have been discussed here that has not happened, and it is not likely to happen any time soon. Besides, with the West's poor human rights record, and long history of aggressive imperialism, in many ways, China is more than justified when it tells the West to look to their own behavior before criticizing others. This could even be considered a fourth reason why the West has regularly failed to check China's treatment of its people, as well as, its military and political aggression. Thus, the appeasement of an aggressive political regime continues, only building their confidence that they will be able to dominate their entire region, to the point that they may eventually absorb those nations that are unable or unwilling resist the overwhelming force of the Chinese military.


"At some point in their lives, anyone and everyone that has ever been bullied comes to the realization, no matter how much it picks at the conscience that the only way to take out a bully is to return fire with fire, however that fire may be delivered." - Kent Allen Halliburton

At some point, in every cycle of events, historically, one, a few, or an entire group of people, usually as result of uneven access to resources, becomes the new bully on the block. They use this advantage to get their way in whichever way they are able, with the end usually being increased access to resources so that they can fortify their advantage for future generations. Further, during this cycle of events, the powers who are in opposition to this powerful entity, almost always find themselves on the brink of destruction. To keep this from happening, they almost always concede to the demands of the aggressive power until it is usually too late. This is precisely what happened with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. By the time that Europe's leadership, as well as, Russia finally decided to stop conceding to Hitler's demands, they were too late to stop what is, so far, the most destructive and costly war in human history. Appeasing Hitler did nothing more than delay the onset of war, and the longer his opposition waited to try and stop him, the worse the aftermath of their failure to act on time got. The same goes for all of the other cases that have been discussed in this case.

Allowing Donald Trump to get away what he his saying, doing, and the threats that he is making is going to do nothing more than increase the risk that the United States will find itself between a rock and an international ass whippin'; and frankly, one can imagine that that is not what anyone in this country signed up for. It also increases the likelihood that he will completely crash the American economy, at the expense of those Americans who can least afford such an occurrence. The same goes for the way the United States has been throwing its weight around all over the world, to include domestically, for the past two-hundred plus years. Eventually, such behavior will backfire, and it is the least of the American people who will find themselves suffering the most because of the irresponsible behavior of their elected officials. Again, lather, rinse, repeat, when it comes to the behavior and appeasement of large American corporations. If they are allowed to continue to behave the way that they do, the aftermath of their actual collapse will increase exponentially every time they are allowed to leach of the government and cramp the natural flow of human economics. Further, if the aggression that Putin is displaying in eastern Europe is not put to an effective end now, the final result will be a war of epic proportions that will dwarf the damage and destruction of World War II. Now, one can only imagine the scale that such a deciding conflict would reach. Who wants the world to delve into such chaos?

Before this is all over, it would be appropriate to answer a few critical questions. What about the national sovereignty of the nations in question? In Europe, just before the onset of World War II that was huge a question. Europe's leaders were supposedly concerned about the implications of violating Germany's sovereign rights. What, then, of the sovereign rights of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and any of the other nations that Hitler took over? What of the sovereign rights of the Native American tribes that the United States destroyed? What of the sovereign rights of the Middle Eastern nations that they have invaded? What of the sovereign self rights of the people that Trump will put away on false charges when they question his authority? What about Tibet's sovereign rights, or in Russia's case, Ukraine's? These is a tricky question because in the beginning, the question would have some merit to it. However, eventually, the discussion would have to shift to, what about the human rights of the people that are being oppressed? At which point does their right to live trump the sovereign rights of the nation that is oppressing them? The question of who has the right to make these decisions would then have to be addressed. Who is going decide when enough is enough, and who is going to apply the force required to save the people or countries being oppressed by the suspect nation? Then there will be questions of punishment. How will the suspect nation be made to pay for what they have done, beyond the force that has already been applied in the effort to stop them from continuing their questionable behavior?

The quick answer is that an international body that has the support of all the nations on Earth should be the entity to make such decisions and carry out such actions. Interestingly enough, such an entity does already exist, in the form of the United Nations, but as has been proven time and time again, especially by the actions of the United States, as of late, the United Nations has no real power, or genuine authority, to stop any one nation that decides to be a bully. The United Nations has no power in impel any nation that does not so choose to participate in any action it chooses to embark upon. Further, it does not have the authority to punish any nation that bullies another or any nation that refuses to participate in the suppression of the suspect nation. Therefore, any given nation that chooses to be a bully, has a potentially enormous window of time to get away with whatever it is they are intent upon doing. This has got changed because as it has been clearly shown, Appeasement has Never Worked and it Never Will. Hopefully, one of these days, the world will come around to this realization and get its act together; unfortunately, the likelihood of this happening any time soon, looks bleat, at best. However, that does not mean that one cannot hope for change. The thing about hope is that in the real world, it can only have a real meaning when it is back up with substantive action. Who is brave enough to set the stage?


  1. This is very well researched and well written. The premise is that appeasement doesn’t work and never will and one sub premise is that countries are appeasing other countries to try to maintain stability rather than objecting to aggression on moral or humanitarian grounds. A second sub premise is that most countries have reacted to bullying by appeasement rather than by standing up to and defending against it.

    No country holds the moral high ground and most aggression is done for profit. There is an old statement, attributed to many people throughout history, that countries don’t have friends, they have interests.

    The USA currently has Special Operation Forces in 134 countries which some say makes us the most dangerous country in the world. We no longer have official wars and haven’t since WWII because congress hasn’t declared our conflicts to be wars. That means Viet Nam and our Iraq and Afghanistan incursions were not officially wars. Yet we seem to be in a “forever” war around the world without increasing our influence anywhere or acquiring more territory. It’s profitable to the military industrial complex but not for the middle class. Some US investors Including the Bush family are also acquiring land and water rights in South American countries because water will eventually be more valuable than oil - people can’t drink oil and need water to survive.

    Russia seems more interested in acquiring more territory and influence by incursions into Crimea and eastern Ukraine and Syria and threatening countries which were once part of the USSR. China is acquiring more territory in disputed areas in the China Seas by building military bases on islands and declaring that surrounding areas are no longer international water, by also declaring military interest in Syria and by investment in other countries, noticeably in Africa.

    So who are the principal bullies in the world and what to do about it in the nuclear age?

    I think the biggest loose cannon factor is the USA since Trump became President Elect. He is surrounding himself with Generals and filling his cabinet with people as unqualified for the jobs as he himself is. He has already shown himself to be a thin skinned bully with no respect or awareness of the constitution and prone to believe fake news and conspiracy theories and a tendency to take revenge. He’s a fan of Mein Kampf which advocates telling the Big Lie until it’s believed and he is a pathological liar and a narcissist. He has missed the last 17 of 20 briefings and doesn’t seem interested or capable of learning what a President needs to know. He has publicly asked, “if we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?”

    Our best hope is that he only uses his time in office to increase his wealth and put our country back by 50 years or so in civil rights, the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, Social Security, employment and free speech without causing a nuclear WWIII and is replaced in 4 years and I realize that’s a lousy hope. But we can recover, it is possible. The plutocracy will only get stronger, the middle class will get weaker but no one will believe Trump next time around, not even the God fearing uneducated and underemployed folks will accept more disappointment.

    Our only recourse is resistance and developing both a powerful alternative message and charismatic candidates to oppose him and the Republicans. I expect Trump to help us by breaking every campaign promise he made but we must get to work and start now.

    Kent ends his post by asking what can stand in the way of our propensity to accept appeasement in the face of bullying and aggression and mentions the weakness of the UN and I agree. The UN is crippled by the veto power of any member of the Security Council and has no effective enforcement procedures. I also agree that the outlook looks bleak.

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  3. I liked the parallels between Putin in the Crimea and Hitler with Austria and Czechoslovakia. That being said I do not believe that there will be a war with Russia because at present Putin has been clever enough to move in such a way that he can claim that reports of his movements are false until it is far too late to stop him. His acquisition of the Crimea was perfectly executed. 

    The historical rule of land ownership is that if you control the land then you defacto own the land. This is why Russia owns the Crimea, China owns Tibet (but not Taiwan), Israel owns Jerusalem and the United States owns all the land from New York to Los Angeles and more. This is not fair but it is factual. 

    Now the other reason why I doubt a war with Russia and a major western power is likely is because at present most European countries usually are content to take their cue from the United States in dealing with Russia. Since United States foreign policy has been impotent lately Russia is allowed to get away with pretty much whatever it wants to. This will not change until the United States once again decides it does want to throw its considerable weight around and not let hungrier countries like China and Russia expands their spheres of influence.