Introduction—Guilty Women? Gendering Appeasement

  • Julie V. Gottlieb


In the year after the ‘Men of Munich’ were exposed in ‘Cato’s’ Guilty Men (1940), an indictment of the National Government’s foreign policy, British journalist and propagandist Richard Baxter provided something of a sequel in the form of Guilty Women (1941). Red-covered and printed on war-rationed newsprint, this little-known book marvelled at the public ignorance about women’s nefarious influence on Anglo-German relations, their fomenting of wartime demoralization, and the threat a dangerous minority of British and German women posed as Fifth Columnists capable of undermining the war effort.1 As the Blitz was raining down on British cities, Baxter unleashed his own attack on women for their part in Britain’s diplomatic fumbling of the late 1930s, and their even greater share of responsibility for placing the nation in a state of material and psychological unreadiness for the Second World War. While much of Baxter’s evidence would not stand the test of time or the scrutiny of historians, it is still significant that a dissident voice emerged in British anti-Nazi propaganda that presented women as something other than victims of the Nazi patriarchal regime or as the innocent casualties of war, and, furthermore, that raised the question of British women’s part in the failed and, for many, the ignominious policy of appeasing the dictators.


Foreign Policy Conservative Party Daily Mail International Crisis High Politics 
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Copyright information

© Julie V. Gottlieb 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie V. Gottlieb
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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