© 2000

Appeasing Hitler

The Diplomacy of Sir Nevile Henderson, 1937–39


Part of the Studies in Diplomacy book series

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Peter Neville
    Pages 1-19
  3. Peter Neville
    Pages 20-47
  4. Peter Neville
    Pages 48-61
  5. Peter Neville
    Pages 95-118
  6. Peter Neville
    Pages 119-144
  7. Peter Neville
    Pages 145-167
  8. Peter Neville
    Pages 168-176
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 177-237

About this book


The origins of the Second World War remain clouded in Churchillian mythology. Sixty years on, Peter Neville's controversial book provides an essential reassessment of the appeasement myths by examining a central yet understudied figure. Sir Nevile Henderson has been vilified as 'our Nazi Ambassador in Berlin' by historians and popular memory alike. He has remained in disgrace despite the widespread historical rethinking of appeasement in recent years. Yet there has never before been a book-length study of Henderson despite his central role as Britain's Ambassador. Peter Neville's important reassessment draws upon primary documents to overturn orthodox interpretations. While Henderson's analysis of the Nazi regime was seriously flawed, history has vastly overstated his influence. In presenting the first full and close analysis of what Henderson himself called 'the failure of a mission', the author has made a pathbreaking contribution to the history of appeasement.


Adolf Hitler Britain Churchill Diplomacy Diplomat history

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of WolverhamptonUK

About the authors

PETER NEVILLE is Senior Lecturer, Department of History at Wolverhampton University. He is the author of Neville Chamberlain: a Study in Failure?, Winston Churchill: Statesman or Opportunist?, France 1914-69: the Three Republics, A Traveller's History of Russia and the USSR, A Traveller's History of Ireland, and The Holocaust (forthcoming). He has written a number of articles on the history of appeasement for journals including Modern History Review, Journal of Contemporary History and the Review of International Studies.

Bibliographic information


'An essential corrective to the image that has been created of Nevile Henderson as an invertebrate appeaser... Written in a lucid and cultured way, and based upon a very wide variety of sources, this is one of the most outstanding contributions to appeasement scholarship in recent years.' - Andrew Crozier, Reader in History, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London

'This important book fills a chronic gap in the historiography of appeasement. Peter Neville's book is the first major study of a subject far too long neglected and slighted. For over fifty years Sir Nevile Henderson, Britain's ambassador to Berlin 1937-9, has been almost uniformly written off by historians and branded as a prime scape-goat for appeasement. For the first time Peter Neville puts the case for Henderson and places him fairly and convincingly in context as an experienced and hitherto well thought-of diplomat attempting to cope in an impossible situation.' - A. Lentin, Reader in History, The Open University

'...well-researched...makes a significant contribution to the still growing literature on the years of appeasement.' - D.J. Dutton, Diplomacy & Statecraft

'...a vibrant and articulate book that deserves to be read.' - N.J. Crowson, Contemporary British History