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Munich and the destruction of Czechoslovakia.
Transcript of Munich and the destruction of Czechoslovakia.
The Sudeten Germans:
They were a large minority in a country dominated by Czechs and Slovaks. They were concentrated in the border areas. The local Nazi leader, Konrad Henlein, led a political party called the Sudeten German Party that received money from Hitler.
Hitler met Henlein on 28 March 1938 to give him instructions.
By dragging out the negotiations, Hitler hoped to crate a crisis over Czechoslovakia.
Support from Britain and France:
France had signed a treaty with Czechoslovakia in 1925. This said that France that France would give Czechoslovakia military help if it was attacked by Germany.
The new Prime Minister, Daladier was not keen on the idea of going to war with Germany over Czechoslovakia.
On 30 May Hitler let his generals know that he had decided to 'smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future'.
The British and the French governments reacted to the crisis by putting preassure on the Czechoslovakia to make concessions.
The Munich Crisis:
Hitler was ready to go to war against Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1938. Many of his leading generals disagreed.
Hitler refused to listen to the generals. He was sure that Britain and france would do nothing.
Heinlen left Czechoslovakia on 15 september. In Germany much publicity was given to his stories of the mistreatment of Sudeten Germans.
At this point a war between Britain and Germany seemed a real possibility. Chamberlain tried one again to get Hitler to find a peaceful solution. Hitler was not in a mood for negociation. He told Wilson several times that he was going to 'smash the Czechs'.
Chamberlain met Hitler in Germany at Berchtesgaden on 15 September. He agreed with him that the Sudetenland should be annexed by Germany.
Chamberlain returned to London and got Cabinet support for a peaceful German take-over.
By 21 September the Czech president realised that he was powerless to resist without Allied support so he reluctantly agreed to the take-over.
Hitler did NOT want a peaceful settlement.
Chamberlain flies to Germany.
An invitation to Munich:
On 28 September Chamberlain was in the middle of a speech to parliament describing the negociations when he was passed an important note. The note told him that Hitler had agreed to a conference at Munich with representatives of Britain, France, and Italy.
The Munich Conference began on 29 September.
On 1 October German troops marched unopposed into the Sudetenland. The Czech President, Beneš, was forced to go to exile.