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 The United States had withdrawn from international affairs and the Soviet Union was thought to be untrustworthy, so it was left to Britain and France to restrain the insurgents through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 mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,