Lettice Cooper's Black Bethlehem is an anti-appeasement work criticizing and warning against the kind of appeasement and blind optimism that led to WWII. In the novel, Featherstone's reaction to Clay's scheming parallels the Munich appeasement between Chamberlain and Hitler. The horrible consequences of this historic appeasement are demonstrated in the novel through both Lucy's description of the London Blitz and Marta's story. Appeasers, Cooper suggests, are often optimists who naively expect that others around them will also live up to their standards, and thus are hurt and confused when this does not happen. Featherstone's betrayal by Clay and Lucy's by Marta and Piers exemplify the connections between appeasement, optimism, and naivete. So Lucy and Featherstone can be likened not only to Chamberlain but to all of the people who favored appeasing Hitler rather than stopping him. Cooper also presents the character Ann, who a different perspective, as she wants to confront Clay. Lucy's respect for Ann leads her to understand that her former unwavering optimism and trust were unrealistic and unsuited to the world, war or not. Cooper condemns appeasement and over-zealous optimism, claiming that there is never an appropriate time for them.
"Appeasement and Black Bethlehem,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2010
, Article 25.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2010/iss1/25