What Happened In The Munich Agreement

In the spring of 1938, Hitler began to openly support the demands of German speakers living in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia for closer relations with Germany. Hitler had recently annexed Austria to Germany, and the conquest of Czechoslovakia was the next step in his plan to create a „Greater Germany.“ The Czechoslovak government hoped that Britain and France would come to its aid in the event of a German invasion, but British Prime Minister Chamberlain was anxious to avoid war. He made two trips to Germany in September and offered Hitler favorable deals, but the Führer continued to raise his demands. As threats from Germany and a European war became more and more apparent, opinions changed. Chamberlain was awarded 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 attributed the agreement largely to the need for France to free itself from its treaty obligations, given that it was not prepared for war. [63] After the war, Churchill`s memoirs of the time, 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 plan of aggression and the madness that Britain insisted on disarmament after Germany had achieved air parity with Britain. Although Churchill acknowledged that Chamberlain was acting for noble motives, he argued that Hitler should have resisted Czechoslovakia and that efforts should have been made to include the Soviet Union. On September 13, after internal violence and disruption in Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain asked Hitler for a face-to-face meeting to find a solution to avoid war. [29] Chamberlain arrived in Germany by plane on September 15, then arrived at Hitler`s residence in Berchtesgaden for the meeting.

[30] Henlein flew to Germany on the same day. [29] On that day, Hitler and Chamberlain had talks in which Hitler insisted that Sudeten Germans could exercise the right to national self-determination and join the Sudetenland with Germany. Hitler also expressed concern to Chamberlain about what he perceived as British „threats.“ [30] Chamberlain replied that he had made no „threat“ and asked Hitler in frustration, „Why did I come here to waste my time?“ [30] Hitler replied that if Chamberlain was willing to accept the self-determination of the Sudeten Germans, he would be willing to discuss the matter. [30] Chamberlain and Hitler held talks for three hours, and the meeting was adjourned. Chamberlain returned to the UK and met with his cabinet to discuss the issue. [30] 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 fighting the Nazis alone, reluctantly capitulated (30 September) and agreed to abdicate to the agreement. The colony gave Germany from the 10. In October, the Sudetenland and de facto control of the rest of Czechoslovakia, as long as Hitler promised not to go any further.

On September 30, after a break, 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. The agreement was widely welcomed. French Prime Minister Daladier did not believe, as one scholar put it, that a European war was justified „to keep three million Germans under Czech sovereignty.“ But the same argument applies to Alsace-Lorraine – unlike the alliance between France and Czechoslovakia against German aggression. .