Munich Agreement Chamberlain`s Opinion
- März 5, 2022
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- Posted by kfzrenz
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As the threats of Germany and a European war became clearer, opinions changed. Chamberlain has been criticized for his role as one of the „men of Munich“ in books such as The Guilty Men of 1940. A rare defence of the agreement during the war came in 1944 from Viscount Maugham, who had been Lord Chancellor. Maugham regarded the decision to establish a Czechoslovak state with large German and Hungarian minorities as a „dangerous experiment“ in light of previous disputes, and largely attributed the agreement to the need for France to free itself from its contractual obligations, given that it was not prepared for war.  After the war, Churchill`s memoirs of the period, The Gathering Storm (1948), claimed that Chamberlain`s appeasement of Hitler in Munich had been wrong, and recorded Churchill`s pre-war warnings about Hitler`s aggressive plan and the folly of Britain`s insistence on disarmament after Germany had achieved air parity with Britain. Although Churchill realized that Chamberlain was acting for noble motives, he argued that Hitler should have been fought because of Czechoslovakia and that efforts should be made to include the Soviet Union. The Prime Minister`s spectacular triumph proved short-lived. Within a few weeks, the colony of Munich dissolved. Referendums never took place and Hitler simply absorbed the disputed territories. Some had predicted it from the beginning.
In fact, Halifax offered little resounding support to Munich when he publicly called the agreement „the abhorrent choice of evil.“ Churchill predicted, „This is just the beginning of the count.“ Appeasement apologists have argued that public opinion, whether on the British or French side, was not prepared for war in 1938. This is controversial, as recent studies have shown. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain received 20,000 letters and telegrams thanking him for avoiding war in Munich. The delirious scenes of greeting of the chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier after their return testify to the will of many to welcome a peace to which Czechoslovakia sacrificed itself. But the simple relief of not having to fight or endure the dangers and difficulties of war, especially after it has appeared so close, must compensate for much of this enthusiasm. During World War II, British Prime Minister Churchill, who rejected the agreement when it was signed, decided that the terms of the agreement would not be respected after the war and that the Sudetenland territories should be returned to post-war Czechoslovakia. On August 5, 1942, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden sent the following note to Jan Masaryk: The Manchester Guardian covered every aspect of history – from the details of the deal, Chamberlain appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to destabilise among other nations. One editorial considered the piece of paper he had brandished on his return to Britain to be almost worthless. As tensions between the Germans and the Czechoslovak government were high, Beneš secretly offered on September 15, 1938 to give 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) of Czechoslovakia to Germany in exchange for a German agreement to admit 1.5 to 2.0 million Sudeten Germans, whom Czechoslovakia would expel.
Hitler did not respond.  After successfully accepting Austria into Germany proper in March 1938, Adolf Hitler looked nostalgically at Czechoslovakia, where about three million people in the Sudetenland were of German origin. In April, he discussed with Wilhelm Keitel, the head of the Bundeswehr`s high command, the political and military aspects of „Case Green,“ the code name for the planned Sudeten takeover. A surprise attack on „clear skies without reason or justification“ was rejected because the result would have been „hostile world opinion that could lead to a critical situation.“ Decisive action would therefore take place only after a period of German political turmoil in Czechoslovakia, accompanied by diplomatic quarrels which, as they became more serious, would either constitute an excuse for the war itself or give rise to a lightning offensive after an „incident“ of German creation. In addition, disruptive political activities in Czechoslovakia had been underway since October 1933, when Konrad Henlein founded the Sudeten German Home Front. An agreement was reached on September 29, and on September 30, 1938, at about 1:30 a.m.m., .m. Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini, and Édouard Daladier signed the Munich Accords. The agreement was officially introduced by Mussolini, although the Italian plan was in fact almost identical to Godesberg`s proposal: the German army was to complete the occupation of the Sudetenland by October 10, and an international commission would decide on the future of other disputed territories. .