Presentation on theme: "The Munich Agreement 1938. Overview of the Munich Agreement The Munich Agreement was signed in 1938 by Britain, France, Italy and Germany. It was signed."— Presentation transcript:
The Munich Agreement 1938
Overview 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”
The Czech Crisis Czechoslovakia was a country created by the hated Treaty of Versailles Amongst its population were nearly 3 million German speaking people who lived in the Sudetenland area. It also contained various other nationalities within its borders
How 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 Czechoslovakia Remember, Hitler wanted a “master” race He hated the Slavs who were living there, as they had betrayed Germany in WW1.
Czechoslovakia 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 airfields It also served well for Hitler’s idea of Lebensraum
The crisis unfolds The Germans living in the Sudetenland never properly integrated into Czech life. Possibly due to the presence of the Czech Nazi party headed by Konrad Henlein 1935 witnessed the holding of an election in Czechoslovakia Henlein and his party won 62% of the votes in the Sudetenland This result was what Hitler needed to pressurise the Czech government into helping these “oppressed” Germans
Once 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”
Operation Green Operation Green was the order to his Generals to get prepared to attack Czechoslovakia After rumours had been successfully spread in Czechoslovakia of a German invasion, the Czech army mobilised Hitler then portrayed this as an act of aggression and duly mobilised his troops
British response Britain and France quickly realised the possibilities of war and sent a warning to Hitler Again he pleaded his innocence, blaming the Czechs Britain started putting pressure on Czech government to recognise the plight of Sudeten Germans This became known as the “May Crisis”
As a way of gaining support, Hitler prompted both Hungary and Poland to enter Czechoslovakia and reclaim land they had lost – Teschen and Slovakia This act would start to break up Czechoslovakia and help Hitler in his conquest
Meeting between Benes and Henlein Hitler next ordered Henlein to meet Czech President Benes with yet more demands, which included Home Rule for Sudeten Germans When his demands were surprisingly met he pushed for more knowing they would be refused He 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 involved The British PM flew to meet Hitler at Berghof on 15 th September, this would be the first of many important meetings.
Hitler’s Three Meetings The first of Chamberlain’s three meetings took place on 15 th September 1938 in Berchtesgadin Chamberlain was somewhat sympathetic to Hitler’s claims regarding Sudeten Germans He was prepared to give Germany the Sudetenland
Chamberlain also came to an agreement with Hitler that any area of the Sudetenland with 50% German population would be handed to Germany The 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
Meeting 2 Godesberg Hitler met with Chamberlain on the 22 nd of Sep 1938 in Godesberg to clarify details of previous meeting However, Hitler had changed his requests Not happy with gaining the Sudetenland he ordered the withdrawal of Czech troops by Sep 28 th Chamberlain was confused, he now had a problem Refuse this offer and war would begin or once again give into his demands Hitler made it clear he would take ALL of the Sudetenland, even if it meant war
“Black Wednesday” The people and government of Britain prepared for war Trenches were dug in London and the forces were mobilised Chamberlain 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.
The Munich Agreement After Hitler’s threat of war the leaders met on the 28 th September to try and avoid war Mussolini chaired a meeting with Chamberlain and Hitler in Munich Czechoslovakia were not invited At Munich, Hitler got what he wanted at Godesberg He would take the Sudetenland on 1 st October The allies would protect Czechoslovakian independence Hitler stated this would be his “last territorial claim in Europe” War had successfully been avoided.
British Reactions The people and politicians of Britain were divided over their reaction to the Munich Agreement Many were aware that appeasing Hitler could no longer continue Although some politicians resigned in disgust most supported Chamberlain’ s success Public and press also supported the fact war had been avoided
Other Reactions USA supported Chamberlain’s agreement French minister met by cheering crowds Dutch sent 4000 tulips to Chamberlain However, this success would be very short lived Six months later Hitler proved why he could not be trusted as in March 1939 he invaded and took control of the rest of Czechoslovakia He also more importantly took control of the Skoda arms factory
This 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 programme He could now easily attack Poland which would leave Britain with a very tough decision to make!!