14. Munich Conference:

On Sept. 29, 1938, Neville Chamberlain of Britain, Édouard Daladier of France, Benito Mussolini of Italy and Adolf Hitler met in Munich, Germany to discuss Hitler’s hope of acquiring the Sudetenland. Ironically, the president of Czechoslovakia,the owner of Sudetenland, Emil Hacha, was not present to participate in the debate. In one short day, the four powers reached a consensus and decided to give the Sudetenland to Hitler. Thus on Sept. 30, 1938, the Munich Pact, or Munich Agreement was signed.

Neville Chamberlain
Global Collective Security:
The common goal (at least for majority of the members present), was to avoid confrontation and maintain the collective security.

Because Hitler knows that the Allies were trying their hardest to avoid war, and thus were always appeasing to him, he exploited this fact and asked for more and more.

Hitler wanted the Sudetenland because he wanted more land and more citizens for his potential army.

With Britain and France’s appeasement to Germany and its affairs, and the inability of the League of Nation to enforce its rules, Hitler and the Nazis have now successfully remilitarized the Rhineland, as well as increased its army far beyond preset boundaries. Ever since Hitler came to power in 1933, nothing was done to stop him when he made successful assaults to the Treaty of Versailles, so he decides to push his luck further. This time, he wanted Czechoslovakia, namely the Sudetenland within. Thus, he arranged a meeting between the powers of Europe to discuss his ambitions.

This meeting was known as the Munich Conference, and the sole purpose was to determine whether Hitler could obtain Sudetenland. Hitler’s rationale for wanting the Sudetenland was because there were more than 3 million Germans living there, and he was just trying to unite all of the Germans outside Germany. Additionally, the Nazi propaganda stirred up nationalism in Germans within Sudetenland, and they were encouraged to overthrow the local government. Hitler now uses the principle of self-determination against the Allies, and again enforces the separation of Sudetenland. Trying to prolong the time of peace, Chamberlain argues that is it not “reasonable” to unite an ethnicity? Is it not “reasonable” for Germany to include all of the Germans? Soon after, on the same day, agreement was reached between the four sides, and the Munich Pact was signed one day later. The Pact mainly stated that the Sudetenland was now German territory, and all other races shall evacuate the area before Oct.10, 1938. Although the Czechs were extremely upset about the Pact, it dared not to oppose because the Allies clearly stated that they would not help in case of a war between Czechoslovakia and Germany.

After the Pact, Germany was happy because it gained new territory and people, Britain was especially happy because they have ensured peace. It was recorded that Prime Minister Chamberlain walked out of the plane with a piece of paper (the Munich Pact) in his hand, telling everyone that he has “ensured peace in our time!” Little did he know that in less than a year, World War II would outbreak in Europe!

Through the Munich Conference, it can be fairly argued that Hitler abused the power of appeasement. Scared to create another war, both Britain and France avoided displeasing Germany. As mentioned before, Hitler had again and again violated the Treaty of Versailles. From the rearmament of Germany to the remilitarizing the Rhineland, nothing was done in any way to stop him. In fact, Chamberlain argued for Germany, noting that it was “unfair” and “unreasonable” for Germany to be the only country disarmed. One could even say that WWII was caused by Britain and the other Allies, for not stopping Hitler when they could and should. Using the loophole created by appeasement, Hitler advances in his quest for world domination, obtaining one by one, everything he needed to start World War II.

Copyright ©2009 by Ben Pi, Tony Fu, Amere Huang, Jeff Fong, Edwin Li, Irena Liu SS 20IB