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Munich Agreement Chamberlain`s Opinion

Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could either resist Nazi Germany alone or submit to the prescribed annexations. The Czechoslovak government, recognizing the desperation of the struggle against the Nazis alone, reluctantly capitulated (September 30) and agreed to abide by the agreement. The colony gave Germany the Sudetenland from October 10 and de facto control of the rest of Czechoslovakia, as long as Hitler promised not to go any further. On September 30, after a little rest, Chamberlain went to Hitler`s house and asked him to sign a peace treaty between the United Kingdom and Germany. After Hitler`s interpreter translated it for him, he happily accepted. At the centre of the crisis was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lord Halifax. At first glance, this seems strange. Halifax, like Chamberlain, was responsible for guiding British foreign policy and a long-time advocate of adjusting German ambitions through concessions. But by September 1938 Halifax was a worried man. He felt that public opinion was tired of the ineffectiveness of arbitration abroad. Making Britain look weak in the face of Hitler`s behaviour could prove politically disastrous in the general elections to be held in the next two years. In both countries, pro- and anti-appeasers have bridged the left-right divide.

As in Britain, an incomplete understanding of Czechoslovakia`s national and strategic issues was filled with sympathy for an ally who was also a foreigner, an aversion to Nazism, and a desire to avoid war – although in Britain negative views about the colony of Versailles also helped make appeasement more respectable. September 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of the infamous Munich Agreement. It was carried out in response to Nazi Germany`s request to annex the border regions of neighbouring Czechoslovakia, where 3 million ethnic Germans live. Hitler was simply threatening to smuggle his troops across the border and conquer the disputed territory, the Sudetenland. It seemed likely that Britain, France, and the Soviet Union would all be dragged into it if a conflict broke out. 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.“ The Munich Agreement is ingrained in people`s memory as a diplomatic disaster and a source of lasting lessons for the future. The political crisis in Britain caused by Hitler`s ambitions for the Sudetenland is much less well known.

Nevertheless, it was one of the most important of the century. He points out that politicians will of course take care of themselves, even in moments of great danger. But it also reminds us to keep a close eye on the interaction between foreign and domestic policy. More often than we can imagine, these two are intimately linked. It is to this international opinion that the Czechoslovaks have desperately tried to turn. In the final days of June, the PEN Club, a London-based writers` association founded to defend freedom of expression and mutual understanding between cultures, held its annual congress in Prague. During this conference, the French writer Jules Romains, president of the club, considered it necessary to denounce the complaints that the PEN club was conducting politics and to describe these complaints as „naïve“ and „hypocritical“. At the time, this had led to controversy, especially with Romans` predecessor as president, H.G.

Wells, who was a staunch pacifist (it was Wells who coined the phrase „war to end the war“ in 1914). Citing Munich in foreign policy debates is also common in the 21st century. [107] During Secretary of State John Kerry`s negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, a Texas Republican lawmaker called the negotiations „worse than Munich.“ Kerry himself had invoked Munich in a speech in France, in which he advocated military action in Syria saying, „This is our Munich moment.“ [108] Chamberlain had escaped the trap set for him by his political rivals. True to form, many of them interpreted the Munich Agreement as meaning for their own interested parties. Some feared that Chamberlain would call an early election in which he would rage to victory. Churchill, panicked, considered building an alliance with Labour, the Liberals and the rebellious Conservatives, suggesting that a commitment to the League of Nations and „collective security“ could form the basis of a joint campaign. When Macmillan protested, „This is not our jargon,“ Churchill shouted back, „This is jargon we may all need to learn!“ The Czechoslovaks were appalled by the colony of Munich. They were not invited to the conference and felt betrayed by the British and French governments. Many Czechs and Slovaks refer to the Munich Agreement as the Munich diktat (Czech: Mnichovský diktát; Slovak: Mníchovský diktát). The term „betrayal of Munich“ (Czech: Mnichovská zrada; Slovak: Mníchovská zrada) is also used because Czechoslovakia`s military alliance with France proved useless.

This was also reflected in the fact that the French Government, in particular, had considered that Czechoslovakia would be considered responsible for a European war that would result if the Czechoslovak Republic defended itself by force against German incursions. [59] In 1938, the Soviet Union allied itself with France and Czechoslovakia. By September 1939, the Soviets were practically a comrade-in-arms of Nazi Germany, with Stalin fearing that a second Munich agreement with the Soviet Union would replace Czechoslovakia. Thus, the agreement indirectly contributed to the outbreak of war in 1939. [60] Meanwhile, in London, Halifax`s doubts continued to eat away at him. A protest march on September 22 drew thousands of people to the streets of Westminster. There were demands that „Chamberlain had to go.“ Newspapers were hostile, while Labour and Conservative rebels warned of a „shameful capitulation“. Rep. Harold Nicolson raged: „It`s hell. This is the end of the British Empire. Privately, Winston Churchill was excited, knowing that he would one day be invited back to power if a new government was „imposed on us“ if „the situation abroad darkened.“ Even loyal Conservatives are „appalled by the power of opinion,“ as one MP noted.

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. The 5. In August 1942, Foreign Minister Anthony Eden sent the following note to Jan Masaryk: Another factor specific to Britain was that the dominions, whose participation in a future war was considered essential, were very reluctant to fight on behalf of Czechoslovakia. South Africa and Canada were anxious to avoid any form of European involvement. The New Zealand High Commissioner in London was more hawkish, but his Australian counterpart was in favour of annexing and ceding the Sudetenland. .

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