Adam Sisman

Phoney Peace

Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War


The Bodley Head 497pp £20 order from our bookshop

Could the Second World War have been prevented? In the 1930s the stability of Europe was endangered by rapacious dictators, while Japan threatened Western interests in the Far East. The United States had withdrawn from international affairs and the Soviet Union was thought to be untrustworthy, so it was left to Britain and France to restrain the insurgents through conciliation and concession. Belatedly, after several retreats, Britain and France committed themselves to defending Poland, though they did so reluctantly and were in no position to offer much practical assistance. Only months after war broke out, France collapsed, as much as a result of internal weakness as external assault. Thereafter Britain stood alone. At the last possible moment, with a new leader, Britain found the resilience to defy Hitler.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,
    • Today is the first today of the – they've got some excellent events coming up over the next two weeks.… ,