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Appeasement and the Road to War The Czech Crisis 1938.

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Presentation on theme: "Appeasement and the Road to War The Czech Crisis 1938."— Presentation transcript:

1 Appeasement and the Road to War The Czech Crisis 1938

2 Aims:  To identify the key political figures at the time of the Czech Crisis.  Examine the reasons why Hitler was interested in Czechoslovakia.

3 Key Characters Neville Chamberlain British Prime Minister Lord Halifax British Foreign Secretary Edward Daladier French Prime Minister

4 Key Characters Eduard Benes Czech President Konrad Henlein German Sudeten Party Leader

5 Czechoslovakia  Created as part of the Versailles Peace Settlement  Population = 14.7 million  Over 3 million Germans in Sudetenland (formerly part of the old Austro-Hungarian empire)  A successful democracy  Alliances – Yugoslavia/Rumania (1920/21), France (1924) and Soviet Union (1935).

6 Czechoslovakia 1938

7 Why Does Hitler Want Control of Czechoslovakia?  Remove the threat of a well-armed country which has alliances with France and Russia – Hitler doubted the willingness of both countries to defend Czechoslovakia.  The country was an obstacle to his plans to expand eastwards – Lebensraum  Wanted Czechoslovakia’s economic wealth e.g. iron/coal industries, armaments factories.  Liberate the Sudeten Germans and unite German speaking people – this was his excuse to the outside world.

8 The Beginnings of the Czech Crisis  From 1935 the Nazi Government began to financially subsidise the Sudeten German Party.  The main aim of this party was autonomy or self-government for Sudeten Germans NOT for the Sudetenland to be annexed to Germany.  Hitler argued that Sudeten Germans were being unfairly treated by the Czech Government.  In the 1935 election the Sudeten German party won 62% of the Sudeten German vote.

9 The Beginnings of the Czech Crisis  Henlein was told to make demands which the Czech government could not meet.  Hitler intended to cause so much trouble in the Sudetenland that he could intervene on the pretext of protecting the Sudeten Germans and preventing civil war.

10 The Czech Crisis Aims: Identify the key events in the summer of 1938 that led to increasing tension over Czechoslovakia. Examine Britain’s attitude towards Czechoslovakia.

11 The May Crisis 1938  Hitler had told his generals to draw up a plan ‘Operation Green’ to smash Czechoslovakia by military action.  On 20 th May, the Czech army mobilised on their border with Germany in response to rumours of German troop movements.  This was exactly what Hitler wanted – he could accuse the Czechs of threatening Germany.  Hitler was warned by Britain and France about the dangers of war and France and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to the Czechs.  Hitler was forced to back down and stated that he had no aggressive intent towards the Czechs.  He was more determined than ever to crush Czechoslovakia.

12 Britain’s Attitude to Czechoslovakia  It was not an area of vital British interest.  British Cabinet did not want to make any firm commitment to Czechoslovakia.  Britain doubted Czechoslovakia would survive in the long term as an independent country.  Blamed the Czech Government for not doing more to resolve the situation with the Sudeten Germans.  Avoiding war was more important.

13 Chamberlain’s Meetings 15 th September 1938 Berchtesgaden 22 nd September 1938 Bad Godesberg th September 1938 Munich

14 Why Appeasement? Make notes under the following headings: Reasons for the Policy of Appeasement in the 1920s Attitude of the Czech Government to the Czech Crisis. Chamberlain’s Meetings with Hitler

15 Chamberlain’s Meetings 15 th September Berchtesgaden Agreement in principle – Sudetenland to be given to Germany. 22 nd September Bad Godesberg Hitler demands immediate withdrawal by 1 st October th September Munich Sudetenland to be given to Germany

16 The Munich Agreement 1938 Aims: Identify the consequences of the Munich Agreement Identify public and political reaction to the Munich Agreement

17 The Munich Agreement 1938 Munich Agreement Signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier. It allowed transfer of Sudetenland to Germany. Joint Anglo German Agreement Signed by Chamberlain and Hitler after the Munich Agreement. It said it was the desire of the two countries never to go to war again.

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19 Public and Political Opinion  Many applauded Chamberlain’s role at Munich and the fact that war had been avoided.  Chamberlain believed he had achieved his aim of ‘peace in our time’.  Politically there was concern about how an agreement had been reached.  Hitler wanted a German speaking area returned to Germany – another of the wrongs of Versailles that should be put right.  After Munich there was a general hardening of attitudes towards Hitler. Many felt he could no longer be trusted.

20 Opinions on Munich  Study the two David Low cartoon’s about Hitler and the Munich Agreement.  In your own words, briefly outline what each cartoon is trying to say about Hitler and the recent events which have taken place.

21 A cartoon by David Low published in the Evening Standard, 4 th October 1938

22 A cartoon by David Low published on 30 th October 1938

23 Positive Viewpoints About the Munich Agreement Britain’s armed forces were not ready for war. The Anschluss had already weakened Czech defences – the Sudetenland was surrounded by a Greater Germany. In reality, Britain and France could not have prevented an attack on Czechoslovakia due to its location and public opinion. Britain secured extra time to rearm and build up her military strength – the aircraft built during the next year helped the country to survive the Battle of Britain in Britain had no other allies to depend on – the League was ineffective, US isolationism, lack of support from the Empire and there was much suspicion towards the Soviet Union.

24 Negative Viewpoints About the Munich Agreement  Britain and France had effectively surrendered to Germany’s threats.  A fair and democratic country – Czechoslovakia – had been betrayed.  Britain and France lost a potentially useful ally in a future war against Hitler.  Czechoslovakia was now open to further German aggression – less than 6 months later, Hitler took over the rest of the country and then had valuable military resources under his control.  After March 1939, Hitler was free to take action against Poland and Russia.  The Soviet Union had been alienated by the Munich Agreement – potential opposition to Hitler in the future had been divided.


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