[As I have mentioned previously on this blog, several years ago some colleagues of mine found students struggled with the concept of appeasement as well as its manifestation as a historical process in the years before World War II. The passage below does a nice job of summarizing this complex series of events, and here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Munich Pact to complement it.]
“Appeasement Foreign policy based on the conciliation of the grievances of rival states, usually involving some sort of concession as an attempt to avoid conflict or war. The term is most often applied to the pre-World War II policy of Britain and France of attempting to satisfy the demands of Hitler with regard to Germany’s grievances over the Versailles settlement. The policy, based on agreements with Germany and Italy, is particularly associated with Neville Chamberlain’s premiership (1937-40). As a result of appeasement Germany was able to occupy the Rhineland, the Sudetenland areas of Czechoslovakia, and to achieve the Anschluss with Austria. The policy is held to have ended when Hitler broke the 1938 Munich agreement and occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939.”
Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.