Munich Agreement Effect

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Before the Munich Accords, Hitler`s determination to invade Czechoslovakia on 1 October 1938 had caused a major crisis in the German command structure. In a long series of memos, Chief of Staff Ludwig Beck protested that he would start a world war that Germany would lose and urged Hitler to get out of the planned war. Hitler called Beck`s arguments against the war “childish calculations of forces.” On August 4, 1938, a secret army meeting was held. Beck read his detailed report to the assembled officers. They all agreed that something had to be done to avoid some catastrophe. Beck hoped they would all retire together, but no one resigned except Beck. His successor, General Franz Halder, sympathized with Beck and both conspired with several generals, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (head of the German secret service) and Count von Helldorf (Berlin police chief) to arrest Hitler when he gave the order to invade Hitler. This plan would only work if Britain gave a strong warning and a letter to fight for the preservation of Czechoslovakia. This would help convince the German people that a certain defeat awaits Germany.

Agents were therefore sent to England to tell Chamberlain that an attack was planned against Czechoslovakia and by their intention to overthrow Hitler if that were the case. The proposal was rejected by the British cabinet and no such letter was published. As a result, Hitler`s impeachment proposal was not pursued. [62] On this basis, it was argued that the Munich agreement kept Hitler in power, but whether it had been more effective than the 1944 conspiracy. The American historian William L. Shirer estimated in his “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (1960) that Czechoslovakia, although Hitler was not bluffing about its intention to invade, could have resisted considerably. Shirer believed that Britain and France had sufficient air defence to avoid severe bombing of London and Paris, and could have waged a swift and fruitful war against Germany. [66] He quotes Churchill as saying that the agreement means that “Britain and France are in a much worse position than Hitler`s Germany.” [61] After personally inspecting the Czech fortifications, Hitler privately told Joseph Goebbels that “we shed a lot of blood” and that it was fortunate that there had been no fighting.

[67] Hitler`s Warrant Officer, Fritz Wiedemann, recalled after the war that he was “very shocked” by Hitler`s new plans to attack Britain and France three to four years after the agreement with the situation in Czechoslovakia. [21] General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German Staff, noted that Hitler`s change in attitude in favour of rapid action was still the Czechoslovakian defence, which was no longer the case two to three years later and that British rearmament would not come into force until 1941 or 1942. [18] General Alfred Jodl noted in his diary that the partially Czechoslovakian mobilization of 21 May had led Hitler to adopt a new order for Operation Green on 30 May and that he was accompanied by a letter from William Keitel telling him that the plan should be implemented by 1 October. [22] Few people shared Churchill`s other view of the Munich agreement that it was a “total and total defeat,” but as the events of 1938-39 quickly moved towards their tragic denunciation, it became difficult to avoid concluding that Chamberlain`s attempt to get along with Hitler was wrong.

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