On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, ‘peace for our time’ - a moment of theatre that was the culmination of over five years of drama. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began.
Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, Appeasing Hitler sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. We enter the 10 Downing Street of Stanley Baldwin and Chamberlain, and the backrooms of Parliament where an unusual coalition of MPs – including the indomitable Winston Churchill – were among the few to realise that the only real choice was between ‘war now or war later’. And as German troops enter the demilitarised Rhineland, march into Austria and threaten to invade Czechoslovakia, Bouverie takes us into the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even members of the Royal Family.
Drawing on deep archival research, this is an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, aristocrats and amateur diplomats who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe.
Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasing Hitler is not only eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression and authoritarianism – and the calamity that results from failing to do so.
About the Author
Tim Bouverie read history at Christ Church, Oxford. From 2013-2017 he was a political journalist at Channel 4 News, where he worked alongside Michael Crick, as his producer, and covered all major political events, including both the 2015 and 2017 General Elections and the EU Referendum. He regularly reviews history and politics books, and has written for the Spectator, Observer and Daily Telegraph. He has also for the last five years worked at the Chalke Valley History Festival as an interviewer.
"Appeasing Hitler is an astonishingly accomplished debut. Bouverie writes with a wonderful clarity and we will no doubt hear a lot more of his voice in future" -- Antony Beevor
"A brilliant and sparkling debut by an outstanding young historian. Tim Bouverie has written an account of the build-up to the Second World War that reads like a thriller. I couldn't put it down." -- Peter Frankopan
"This is the debut of an unusually talented writer, one of the most promising young historians to enter our field for years" -- Max Hastings
"Drawing on an impressive and interesting range of sources and characters, Tim Bouverie has written a fascinating and scholarly portrait of a decade when credulity, self-interest and poor judgement prevailed tragically and inexorably over morality and good sense: this is the reporting of history at its best" -- Caroline Moorehead
"Appeasing Hitler is the stunning debut of a major new narrative historian. A riveting and depressing story which has resonance today as the democracies again face dictatorships" -- Professor Margaret Macmillan