2Overview of the Munich Agreement The Munich Agreement was signed in 1938 by Britain, France, Italy and Germany.It was signed after fears of an outbreak of war during what was known as the “Czech Crisis”
3The Czech CrisisCzechoslovakia was a country created by the hated Treaty of VersaillesAmongst its population were nearly 3 million German speaking people who lived in the Sudetenland area.It also contained various other nationalities within its borders
4How did the crisis begin? The Czech crisis developed for several reasons.Firstly, Hitler had a deep rooted hatred of the mix of nationalities living in relative harmony in CzechoslovakiaRemember, Hitler wanted a “master” raceHe hated the Slavs who were living there, as they had betrayed Germany in WW1.
5Czechoslovakia also had alliances with France and Russia- Hitler viewed Russia as a future conquest Czechoslovakia had a prominent strategic position, it was well protected by the mountainous terrain and had excellent airfieldsIt also served well for Hitler’s idea of Lebensraum
6The crisis unfoldsThe Germans living in the Sudetenland never properly integrated into Czech life.Possibly due to the presence of the Czech Nazi party headed by Konrad Henlein1935 witnessed the holding of an election in CzechoslovakiaHenlein and his party won 62% of the votes in the SudetenlandThis result was what Hitler needed to pressurise the Czech government into helping these “oppressed” Germans
7Once again Hitler needed to begin a campaign and ensure he was not the aggressor. He ordered Henlein to meet with the government and make demands to protect German people, knowing they would not or could not be met.This would allow him to enter Czechoslovakia in order to protect the German population (a similar tactic used in the Anschluss)When these demands were not met Hitler began “operation green”
8Operation GreenOperation Green was the order to his Generals to get prepared to attack CzechoslovakiaAfter rumours had been successfully spread in Czechoslovakia of a German invasion, the Czech army mobilisedHitler then portrayed this as an act of aggression and duly mobilised his troops
9British responseBritain and France quickly realised the possibilities of war and sent a warning to HitlerAgain he pleaded his innocence, blaming the CzechsBritain started putting pressure on Czech government to recognise the plight of Sudeten GermansThis became known as the “May Crisis”
10As a way of gaining support, Hitler prompted both Hungary and Poland to enter Czechoslovakia and reclaim land they had lost – Teschen and SlovakiaThis act would start to break up Czechoslovakia and help Hitler in his conquest
11Meeting between Benes and Henlein Hitler next ordered Henlein to meet Czech President Benes with yet more demands, which included Home Rule for Sudeten GermansWhen his demands were surprisingly met he pushed for more knowing they would be refusedHe wanted Czech leaders punished for their actions towards Germans before any further negotiations took place.Aware of the real possibilities of war, the French PM Daladier, urged Britain and Chamberlain to become involvedThe British PM flew to meet Hitler at Berghof on 15th September, this would be the first of many important meetings.
12Hitler’s Three Meetings The first of Chamberlain’s three meetings took place on 15th September 1938 in BerchtesgadinChamberlain was somewhat sympathetic to Hitler’s claims regarding Sudeten GermansHe was prepared to give Germany the Sudetenland
13Chamberlain also came to an agreement with Hitler that any area of the Sudetenland with 50% German population would be handed to GermanyThe Czechs were also made to agree to this “offer”Hitler reluctantly agreed.He quickly ordered his Freikorp troops to take the areas of the Sudetenland
14Meeting 2 GodesbergHitler met with Chamberlain on the 22nd of Sep 1938 in Godesberg to clarify details of previous meetingHowever, Hitler had changed his requestsNot happy with gaining the Sudetenland he ordered the withdrawal of Czech troops by Sep 28thChamberlain was confused, he now had a problemRefuse this offer and war would begin or once again give into his demandsHitler made it clear he would take ALL of the Sudetenland, even if it meant war
15“Black Wednesday”The people and government of Britain prepared for warTrenches were dug in London and the forces were mobilisedChamberlain described this action as “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. War is a fearful thing and we must be very clear before we embark on it that it is really great issues that are at stake”Czechoslovakia also mobilised their army.
16The Munich AgreementAfter Hitler’s threat of war the leaders met on the 28th September to try and avoid warMussolini chaired a meeting with Chamberlain and Hitler in MunichCzechoslovakia were not invitedAt Munich, Hitler got what he wanted at GodesbergHe would take the Sudetenland on 1st OctoberThe allies would protect Czechoslovakian independenceHitler stated this would be his “last territorial claim in Europe”War had successfully been avoided.
17British ReactionsThe people and politicians of Britain were divided over their reaction to the Munich AgreementMany were aware that appeasing Hitler could no longer continueAlthough some politicians resigned in disgust most supported Chamberlain’ s successPublic and press also supported the fact war had been avoided
18Other Reactions USA supported Chamberlain’s agreement French minister met by cheering crowdsDutch sent 4000 tulips to ChamberlainHowever, this success would be very short livedSix months later Hitler proved why he could not be trusted as in March 1939 he invaded and took control of the rest of CzechoslovakiaHe also more importantly took control of the Skoda arms factory
19This invasion started to turn British people against the policy of appeasement It now provided Hitler with a very important strategic position in which to continue with his expansion programmeHe could now easily attack Poland which would leave Britain with a very tough decision to make!!