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"Appeasement" can be defined as "giving in to someone's demands as far as is reasonably possible to avoid conflict". Throughout the 1930s, Britain and France in particular were very keen on using this policy. They used it in their dealings with Japan (who attacked Manchuria), Italy (who attacked Abyssinnia) and of course Germany (who reached a Naval Agreement with Britain, remilitarised the Rhineland, secured an Anshcluss with Austria and took control of the Sudetenland).
Since World War Two, politicians have been desperate to avoid being accused of appeasement. This has created aggressive foreign policies which are arguably much less well-considered, and just as damaging: Britain plunged into the Suez Crisis and the USA got bogged down in Vietnam (and now Iraq) rather than "surrender" to the demands of "the next Hitler".
This essay assignment will test your ability to
Although class time will be given over to this assignment, you will also be expected to work on it at home. Your teacher will be able to give you some general advice on structuring essays and about events, issues and concepts - but the actual assignment must be entirely your own work.
Through your studies, you should already be familiar with the main causes of World War Two (German bitterness about Versailles; weaknesses of the League of Nations; the impact of the Depression; the rise of aggressive dictatorships in Japan, Italy and Germany; the policy of appeasement led by Britain and France).
Once you feel confident that you understand the events and issues, you can start thinking about writing your essay.
Exhibit A. A sample markscheme for an essay at GCSE / IGCSE level.
General points; little evidence of background knowledge from classroom studies
One-sided answer; factual details about one factor described
One-sided answer; role of one factor explained
Multi-causal answer; factual details about several factors described
Multi-causal answer; role of several factors explained, but in isolation
Multi-causal answer; role of several factors explained, and linked together
Exhibit B. How to write essays at GCSE / IGCSE History. A step-by-step guide by Mr. Tarr.
In theory, your essay could be handed in at this point. However, before doing so it is a good idea to have a look at some other sources
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Events (150 years ago today): 1869 – In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark is launched and is one of the last clippers ever built, and the only one still surviving today.
Births (500 years ago today): 1519 – Johannes Crato von Krafftheim, German humanist and physician (d. 1585)
Births (200 years ago today): 1819 – George Eliot, English novelist and poet (d. 1880)
Births (150 years ago today): 1869 – André Gide, French novelist, essayist, and dramatist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1951)
Births (100 years ago today): 1919 – Máire Drumm, Irish politician (d. 1976)
Births (50 years ago today): 1969 – Byron Houston, American basketball player
Deaths (200 years ago today): 1819 – John Stackhouse, English botanist and phycologist (b. 1742)
Deaths (100 years ago today): 1919 – Francisco Moreno, Argentinian explorer and academic (b. 1852)
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