Advertisement

Introduction—Guilty Women? Gendering Appeasement

  • Julie V. Gottlieb

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Foreign Policy Conservative Party Daily Mail International Crisis High Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    See Jean de Vos (as Related to Richard Baxter), I was Hitler’s Slave (London, 1942)Google Scholar
  2. Richard Baxter, Hitler’s Darkest Secret: What He Has in Store for Britain (London, 1941).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Richard Baxter, Guilty Women (London, 1941), p. 9.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    See Joanna Alberti, “British Feminists and Anti-Fascism in the 1930s,” in Sybil Oldfield (ed.), This Working-Day World: Women’s Lives and Cultures in Britain, 1914–1945 (London, 1994), pp. 112–124;Google Scholar
  5. Julie Gottlieb, “Varieties of Feminist Anti-Fascism,” in Nigel Copsey and Andrzej Olechnowicz (eds), Varieties of Anti-Fascism: Britain in the Inter-war Period (Basingstoke, 2010), pp. 101–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Julie Gottlieb, “Feminism and Anti-Fascism in Britain between the Wars: Militancy Revived?” in Nigel Copsey and Dave Renton (eds), British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State (Basingstoke, 2006), pp. 68–94.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    See Claudia Koonz, Mothers of the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics (New York, 1987)Google Scholar
  8. Gisela Bock, “Antinatalism, Maternity and Paternity in National Socialist Racism,” in D.F. Crew (ed.) Nazism and German Society, 1933–1945 (London, 1994), pp. 110–140.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    See Jim Wilson, Nazi Princess: Hitler, Lord Rothermere and Princess Stephanie von Holenlohe (London, 2011).Google Scholar
  10. See also Kathryn Steinhaus, Valkyrie: Gender, Class, European Relations, & Unity Mitford’s Passion for Fascism (unpublished PhD, McGill University, 2012).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century (London, 2007), p. 37.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Graham Stanford, “Cabinet Leads The Crowd in Whoops of Joy,” Daily Mail, 1 October, 1938.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Even in quite recent studies Norman Rose’s The Cliveden Set: Portrait of an Exclusive Fraternity (London, 2001)Google Scholar
  14. David Faber’s Munich: The 1938 Appeasement Crisis (London, 2008), a popular history, there is little divergence from the top-down perspective.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Stephen Moulton. “News and Views,” The Cornishman, 16 February, 1939.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” American Historical Review, 91(5), December, 1986, pp. 1053–1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 24.
    See Helen McCarthy, The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism, c. 1918–45 (Manchester, 2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 26.
    E.M. Forster, “Post-Munich” [1939] in Two Cheers for Democracy (London, 1951), p. 36.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    Tuesday 13 September, 1938, Anne Olivier Bell (ed.), The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. Five, 1936–1941 (San Diego, 1984), p. 170.Google Scholar
  20. 32.
    Friday 30 September, 1938, Bell (ed.), The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. Five, 1936–1941, p. 177.Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    Sunday 2 October, 1938, Bell (ed.), The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. Five, 1936–1941, p. 178.Google Scholar
  22. 34.
    Robert Graves and Alan Hodge, The Long Weekend: The Living Story of the Twenties and Thirties (London, 1940), p. 440.Google Scholar
  23. 35.
    See John Charmley, Chamberlain and the Lost Peace (London, 1991);Google Scholar
  24. Martin Gilbert and Richard Gott, The Appeasers (London, 1963);Google Scholar
  25. A.J.P Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War (London, 1961).Google Scholar
  26. 36.
    Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, “The History of a Lesson: Versailles, Munich and the Social Construction of the Past,” Review of International Studies 29, 2003, pp. 499–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 37.
    See Sidney Aster, “Appeasement: Before and After Revisionism,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 19(3), 2008, pp. 443–480;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. John Charmley, “‘Reassessments of Winston Churchill:’ A Reply,” International History Review, 18(2), 1996, pp. 371–375;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Daniel Huckner, “The Unending Debate: Appeasement, Chamberlain and the Origins of the Second World War,” Intelligence and National Security, 23(4), 2008, pp. 536–551;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Norrin M. Ripsman and Jack S. Levy, “Wishful Thinking or Buying Time? The Logic of British Appeasement in the 1930s,” International Security, 33(2), Fall, 2008, pp. 148–181;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paul W. Schroeder, “Munich and the British Tradition,” Historical Journal, 19(1), March, 1976, pp. 223–243;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. G. Bruce Strang, “The Spirit of Ulysses? Ideology and British Appeasement in the 1930s,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 19(3), 2008, pp. 481–526;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wesley Wark, “Review Article: Appeasement Revisited,” International History Review, 17 (3), 1995, pp. 545–562;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gerhard L. Weinberg et al. “Essay and Reflection: The Munich Crisis Revisited,” International History Review, 11(4), 1989, pp. 668–688;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 38.
    R.J. Q. Adams, British Politics and Foreign Policy in the Age of Appeasement, 1935–39 (Stanford, 1993), p. 160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 39.
    Sidney Aster, “Appeasement: Before and After Revisionism,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 19(3), 2008, pp. 443–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 40.
    Patrick Finney, “The Romance of Decline: The Historiography of Appeasement and British National Identity,” Electronic Journal of International History (June, 2000);Google Scholar
  38. Dan Stone, Responses to Nazism in Britain, 1933–1939 (Basingstoke, 2003);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kate McLouglin, “Voices of the Munich Pact,” Critical Inquiry, 34(3), Spring, 2008, pp. 543–562;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Daniel Hucker, Public Opinion and the End of Appeasement (Farnham, 2011).Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Richard Overy, The Morbid Age: Britain and the Crisis of Civilization, 1919–1939 (London, 2010), p. 361.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Juliet Gardiner, The Thirties: An Intimate History (London, 2011), p. 727.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    See Susan Grayzel, At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (Cambridge, 2012);Google Scholar
  44. Susan Pedersen, Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience (New Haven NJ, 2004);Google Scholar
  45. Susan Pennybacker, From Scottsboro to Munich: Race and Political Culture in 1930s Britain (Princeton, 2009).Google Scholar
  46. The conceptual cross roads where gender, cultural and the new political history meet have been charted in Nicoletta Gullace, ‘The Blood of Our Sons:’ Men, Women, and the Regeneration of British Citizenship During the Great War (Basingstoke, 2002);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Susan Kingsley Kent, Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Interwar Britain (Princeton, 1993)Google Scholar
  48. Sonya Rose, Which People’s War? National Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain 1939–1945 (Oxford, 2003).Google Scholar
  49. 44.
    Zara Steiner, “On Writing International History: Chaps, Maps and Much More,” International Affairs, 73(3), July, 1997, pp. 531–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 45.
    Susan Pedersen, “The Future of Feminist History,” Perspectives, October, 2000.Google Scholar
  51. For a recent collaborative contribution to this sub-field, see Julie V. Gottlieb and Richard Toye (eds), The Aftermath of Suffrage: Women, Gender, and Politics in Britain, 1918–1945 (Basingstoke, 2013).Google Scholar
  52. 46.
    Stefan Dudnik, Karen Hagemann, and John Tosh (eds) Masculinities in Politics and War (Manchester, 2004) p. xvi.Google Scholar
  53. 47.
    J. Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg (eds.), Feminism and International Relations: Conversations About Past, Present and Future (New York, 2011).Google Scholar
  54. 48.
    Robert Gilbert Vansittart, Lessons of My Life (London, 1943), p. 76.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Julie V. Gottlieb 2015

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations