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It may be sometimes tempting to change history but unfortunately we know that it doesn’t stand subjunctive mood. If moves with inevitable pace and nobody is in capacity to change its direction post festum, when something has already happened. But what if we had a possibility for changing historical time by changing deeds and policies that led to some historical events. Would it be necessary in terms of better future for the people and all humankind? We will see. Two questions arise immediately from this self-confident assault on history. Are the actions, events one proposes to change by his own scenarios are relevant and realistic and could have happened and what consequences would his propositions of changing historical events would have had if realized and finally would they be better in terms of abstract categories of morality and justice?
I am changing details
I decided to change not some separate historical event but instead a well-designed policy that was one of the main causes of the WW2. This policy is often referred to as the policy of Germany’s appeasement and was fostered by such European powers as France, Great Britain and supported extensively by the United Stated. After Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933 they launched vigorous campaign to resettle the status-quo been set by Versailles Treaty that enforced various limitations on Germany such as a ban for organizing military forces, economic barriers etc. Hitler and his party decided to redress the situation by occupying Rein demilitarized zone and Saar basin (Bridge, 2005). This was an open assault on Versailles treaty which clauses were regarded as being harmful for German State. Growing strength of Germany caused alarmist mood in major European powers which were regarded as the winners of WW1. They quickly moved to the policy of Germany Appeasement which was initiated by then Conservative Prime-Minister of Great Britain Neville Chamberlain. The main strategic purpose of this policy was to help militaristic and aggressive development of Germany in the same time diverting the risk of Germany attack on Great Britain, France and their allies. The basic political assumption underlying this policy was that helping restoring Germany’s power by various concessions and even by betraying allies in Central and Eastern Europe will finally incline Hitler to attack Soviet Union which was regarded as the main cause of instability in Western European countries. But as the history shows this calculus proved to be false (Thomas,1996). The main steps must be regarded as the most considerable events in the process of Germany’s Appeasement are compromising Germany’s militarization of Rein and other violations of Versailles Treaty, ‘Anschluss’ of Austria in 1938 and Munich Treaty which caused the division of Czechoslovakia and annexation of Sudetian province by Germany. During these events the Security Treaties between Great Britain, France and their CEE allies were broken in order to foster the politics of appeasement.
What changes to these historical events would have been positive
It is evident that the Policy of Appeasement was completely false since it only helped Nazi Regime to enhance his military, ideological and strategic capabilities. Thus, it is evident that it was one of the main causes of the WW2. The main strategic error that I would have wanted to change is Western states aggressive and inefficient policy towards the Soviet Union. I think that Western powers such as Great Britain and France should have taken friendlier stance in their policy and relations with the Soviet Union because growing Soviet power was one of the main barriers for Germany aggression against Western Europe. But unfortunately as we know the opposite policy was chosen. Then, European powers closed eyes to the violations of Versailles treaty that of course pushed Hitler to new violations of International Law. Taking into consideration those resources that Western Powers had it was possible in my view to install strong pressure on Germany in order to make it comply with the standards of international behavior. This as we know hadn’t ever happen. At last, Western Powers betrayed their Central and Eastern European allies such as Austria and Czechoslovakia and left them one to one with Nazi monster. Great Britain and France should follow their international obligations and security treaties with Central and Eastern European States. At last I think that the United States could have hold more active political stance in European affairs which would of course serve the goals of Hitler’s containment.
What consequence would this policy have had
Of course the main consequence for the whole cycle of history would have been the prevention of the bloody WW2. First, by strengthening strategic relations with Soviet Union would surely have led to containing Germany’s aggressive policy in the Central and Eastern Europe and moreover Soviet Union wouldn’t then have a need of concluding Security Pacts with Germany in 1939 to divert the threat from this country. Secondly, if Western European powers such as France and Great Britain were more rival to Germany Hitler wouldn’t have had necessary capabilities for increasing Germany’s military power and creating the network of alliance with other Nazi regimes and possible intrusion of the United States into the European Affair, I think may have caused the regime change in Germany which would have led democratic politicians to power. Finally, if Western European powers wouldn’t betrayed their Central European Allies they would serve the role of covering force potentially effective in containing Nazi state.
In total, as I mentioned above it could lead to prevention of the most bloody war in the history of humanity – the WW2 in which more than 60 million people lost their lives. Of course, all these are only my imaginations, unfortunately…
Bridge, C. (2005). Appeasement and After: Towards a Re-assessment of the Lyons and Menzies Governments’ Defense and Foreign Policies, 1931-41. The Australian Journal of Politics and History, 51(3), 372-398.
Thomas, M. (1996). Britain, France and Appeasement: Anglo-French Relations in the Popular Front Era. Oxford: Berg Publishers.