Quote of the Day

Appeasement is much harder to accomplish than it seems. It is not just a matter of saying to the stronger side, There you go, have what you want, it’s all yours, just sign on the dotted line. The appeaser much accomplish two crucial tasks.

First, the appeaser must, to the greatest extent possible, disguise the fact that he is appeasing. He must portray himself as a peacemaker, as a man who has prevented or ended a war on decent terms. That is why, for example, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, returning from Munich after handing a chunk of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, said in an address from Downing Street on the evening of September 30, 1938, that he had achieved “peace with honor,” and that, as a thankful result, everyone should “go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” He had not appeased; he had kept the peace. Now go to sleep, go to sleep…

Second, the appeaser much persuade the victim to cooperate. Chamberlain was fortunate in this case, because Edvard Benes, the president of Czechoslovakia, had no visible alternative to surrendering the Sudetenland; his small country could not resist a German blitzkrieg, especially if Britain was on Germany’s side. As a result, Chamberlain was able to present the carve-up of Czechoslovakia as a sort of diplomatic euthanasia that the victim agreed to. He was lucky. If the victim resists, the appeaser is in a bind, because euthanasia turns into murder, and, instead of being a benevolent guide, soothing the victim as it is put to sleep, the appeaser must hold down the screaming victim as the terminal injection is administered. It is a very nasty business.


From Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War by Peter Maass.


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