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The Sudetenland

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Bruce Wayne

on 6 December 2017

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Transcript of The Sudetenland

The Sudetenland
Anas A
What was the Sudetenland?
A region of Czechoslovakia bordering Germany
Home to Sudeten Germans
How the Sudetenland came to be
Dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918
German-speaking regions of the fallen empire declared the formation of German Austria
The Allied forces proscribed the unification of Germany and German Austria
1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain hands over the Sudetenland to Czechoslovakia
Tension Rises
Konrad Henlein leads the (Nazi) Sudeten German Party (SdP) throughout the mid-1930s
High unemployment rates
Racial/ethnic discrimination
Prevalent secessionist ethos
Hostile demonstrations are held (late 1930s)
Henlein annouces his Eight Point/Karlsbad Programme (24 April, 1938)
Crisis Strikes!
Anschluss takes place; Hitler turns his attention to the Sudetenland (12 March)

Hitler encourages Henlein to make unreasonable demands for complete autonomy (28 March)

USSR promises aid to Czechoslovakia, provided France intervenes first (23 April)

Czech President Benes claims Germany is preparing a surprise attack. Germany denies. MAY CRISIS (21 May)

Germany secretly plans invasion of Czecholovakia for October 1st -> Operation Green (28 May)

Czech government accepts the Karslbad programme -> Henlein is told to reject the offer (5 September)

German government prepares propaganda

Czech police and Nazi demonstrators clash

Hitler publicly supports the Sudeten Germans (12 September)

Czechoslovakia declares and implements martial law (13 September)

Hitler gives warning of a devastating war (13 September)

Chamberlain meets Hitler in Berchtesgaden (15 September)

Hitler demands all of the Sudetenland (22-23 September)

Chamberlain makes a U-turn and agrees to Hitler's demands (22-23 September)

Roosevelt announces the US will remain neutral (27 September)

France, Czechoslovakia, Britain, and Germany prepare for war throughout this period
If matters in the Czechoslovak state are to progress peacefully, then it is the conviction of the Sudeten Germans that the following state and judicial order is necessary:

1. Full equality of rights and status with the Czech people.
2. Acknowledgment of the Sudeten German ethnic group as legal entity to maintain this status of equality within the state.
3. Definition and acknowledgment of the German settlement area.
4. Development of a German self-administration in the German settlement area, relevant to all aspects of public life insofar as they pertain to interests and concerns of the German ethnic group.
5. Institution of legal measures for the protection of those citizens living outside the closed settlement area of their ethnic group.
6. Elimination of the injustices inflicted on the Sudeten Germans since 1918, and rectification of the harm and damage already sustained through these injustices.
7. Acknowledgment and implementation of this matter of principle: German civil servants for the German areas.
8. Full freedom to acknowledge and maintain our German ethnicity and our German world view.
Karlsbad Programme (translated from German)
Aims
Introduce the Sudeten crisis

Evaluate causes of the Sudeten crisis

Evaluate consequences of the Sudeten crisis

Define appeasement

Evaluate the causes of appeasement

Evaluate the consequences of appeasement

Evaluate the reasons for change in the policy of appeasement

Investigate Italy's involvement in the crisis
Appeasement
To fulfill an adversary's demands until they are satisfied in order to avoid conflict and maintain peace

A policy adopted by Great Britain and France during the inter-war period (especially the 1930s)

An alternative to the League of Nations

Premise of policy: Hitler had measured and reasonable demands; he would cease and desist once said demands were fulfilled

British PM, Neville Chamberlain championed appeasement

The Sudeten crisis is a prime example of the appeasement policy
Reasons for Appeasement
The French and British people demanded peace

France and Britain weren't prepared for military conflict after the First World War (Ten Year Rule + Great Depression)

Most of Hitlers objections seemed rational (especially regarding Treaty of Versailles)

A powerful Germany would have kept the communist threat at bay

Hitler was held in high esteem by many people (e.g. TIME Magazine's 1938 'Man of the Year')

German propaganda claimed Sudeten Germans were being oppressed

Hitler claimed the Sudetenland was his final demand

Chamberlain believed Hitler would eventually be satisfied and keep his word

Chamberlain remembered the onslaught of the First World War

Moral obligation to avoid another war

No reason to go to war over Czechoslovakia
Relevant Treaties
Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935): Germany is allowed to have a navy 35% the size of Britain's (example of appeasement)

Little Entente/Treaty of Alliance (1920): France would provide military aid to Czechoslovakia in the event of a conflict

France-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance (1936): One nation will aid the other in the event of conflict
Munich Conference
Mussolini suggests a four-power conference (28 September) -> Czechoslovakia and USSR aren't invited

Munich Conference is held, Munich Agreement is made (29-30 September)

Mussolini presents the agreement and is credited as an international peacemaker (he didn't write it)

Czechoslovakia condemned to face the might of Germany alone or relinquish the Sudetenland by October 10

Germany enters the Sudetenland on October 1

Chamberlain and Hitler sign a paper vowing never to go to war against one another

Chamberlain returns home a hero and famously declares "peace in our time"

Mussolini is a hero in Italy and the Western world
Why the Sudetenland was important
Czechoslovakia was allied with the Soviets and France & supported the League of Nations

A crucial defensive zone for Czechoslovakia -> had significant border fortifications

Valuable raw substances (e.g. coal, lignite)

Doorway to the rest of Czechoslovakia

More land for Germany!

More conscripts, more materials, more workers better economy, etc.
Consequences
Czechoslovakia is weakened and eventually invaded by Germany (15 March, 1939)

It is made clear Hitler was lying in Munich and is looking to build a European empire

Policy of appeasement is regarded a failure by many and is ended

Britain announces it will defend Poland from aggressors amidst German belligerence (31 March, 1939)

Britain and France bought themselves time -> but Germany got time too

USSR concludes Britain and France cannot be relied upon -> relations are strained

Europe concludes that war was inevitable

France and Britain were confident they had done all they could to avoid war

Italy and Germany sign the Pact of Steel (aid each other in war) (22 May, 1939)

SHOCK -> Nazi-Soviet Non Aggression Pact is signed (23 August, 1939) -> void when Germany invaded (1941) -> secret agreement on how Eastern Europe would be divided between the nations

Germany invades Poland (1 September, 1939)

Britain declares war on Germany (3 September, 1939)

World War II commences
Why appeasement was abandoned
Kristallnacht pogroms of November 1938 could not be ignored

German invasion of Czechoslovakia revealed Hitler's intent

Pact of Steel between Italy and Germany alluded to war

Britain was no longer trusted either as it commenced rearmament

Regarded as a failure by many after losing international respect and an important ally in Czechoslovakia (1/3 of tanks in the invasion of France)
Mussolini and Hitler
Italy's exploits in Abyssinia and Spain leave them ostracised from most of Europe

Choices in allies are limited to Spain and Germany

Italy exits the League of Nations in 1937 effectively isolating themselves from much of Europe (after economic sanctions)

Hitler wins over Mussolini with a military display in 1937

Hitler's annexation of Austria and signing of the Nazi-Soviet Non Aggression Pact -> not equal partners

Pact of Steel is signed, Mussolini believes Italy can claim much of Europe (in particular France) with Germany's help

Italy enters the war, loses many consecutive battles and claims damaging victories (10 June, 1940)

Mussolini is aware of Hitler's successes -> is disappointed with Italy's progress -> invades Albania (1939) -> sign of Italy's growth
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