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Appeasement: Neville Chamberlain’s Real Betrayal

John Simkin

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A very important book, Hitler’s Spy Chief: The Wilhelm Canaris Mystety, was published in November, 2005. It received very little attention but it contained some very interesting new information about the relationship between the British government and Nazi Germany.

The author, Richard Bassett, found some very interesting documents that helps to explain the peace negotiations that went on between the two governments. Bassett shows that in July, 1938, a powerful group from within Nazi Germany that included Canaris, were on the verge of overthrowing Hitler because they feared war with Britain and France. The British government became aware of this plot. However, they were determined that Hitler should not be removed from power. The reason, they were expecting Hitler to destroy communism in the Soviet Union.

Bassett argues that this was the reason the Neville Chamberlain decided to fly out to meet Hitler the day before the German Army intended to invade Czechoslovakia. He had never flown before, took no interpreter and did not speak German. By doing a deal with Hitler over Czechoslovakia he prevented the coup from taking place. Hitler did of course eventually head east but because of the Labour Party and Conservatives led by Winston Churchill, Chamberlain’s backfired when the House of Commons forced him to declare war on Germany over Poland.


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I haven't read the book, and unless I can persuade the school library to buy it, I probably won't be able to afford to do so, but Kershaw's view on the various pre-war military plots against Hitler was that they were characterized by indecision, division and timidness. Bassett may be right in claiming that this one was different, but I'd need quite a bit of convincing...

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  • 3 years later...

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