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Post-War Germany (1918-1939)

Post-War Germany (1918-1939)

INTRODUCTION

  • The military collapse of Germany in 1918 was followed by a short period of anarchy and confusion. The Kaiser fled to Holland and a provisional government was set up by Frederick Ebert, a saddler and a very able leader of the Socialist Republican Party. Communism became very active and the “Spartacans”, as the Communists were called, were eager to bring about a drastic revolution of the Russian type. Germany was now threatened with a civil war. Ebert and his fellow socialists did not see eye to eye with the Communists and were determined to suppress them. In the struggle that followed the republicans acted with vigour and success and the spectre of communism, despite the encouragement it received from Russia, was banished.
  • Meanwhile, a Constituent Assembly was elected by secret ballot of all Germans over twenty years of age. It met at Weimar in 1919, elected Ebert, president of the German republic, and proceeded to hammer out a new constitution. The constitution as framed and adopted by the Weimar assembly retained the old federal organisation but made it much more centralised. It entrusted the executive power to a president elected by adult suffrage for a term of seven years and he was to act on the advice of a ministry responsible to the legislature. This legislature consisted of two houses, a Reichstag representing the people, and a Reichstadt representing the component states. The franchise was given to all German citizens, male and female, over twenty years of age and provision was made for the initiative, referendum and recall.
  • Difficulties of the Republic
  • The post-war situation which the new Republic had to face was one of extreme difficulty. It had to struggle hard for its very existence. The Republic had begun its career by accepting the Treaty of Versailles with all its humiliation and so the new regime was regarded with disfavour by many. The big industrialists distrusted the new democracy while the junkers and the militarists resented the loss of territory and the foreign control of German soil. Dr. Kapp, a militarist Prussian official, executed a coup d’etat at Berlin in 1920 and put the Republican government to flight. But the government aided by the trade unionists who called a general strike, stood firm and Kapp and his supporters fled away. In 1923 General Ludendroff attempted another coup at Munich. His associate was Hitler, as yet unknown to fame. They were arrested and Hitler was jailed.
  • The difficulties of the German Republic were by no means at an end. It was greatly handicapped by the necessity of making vast yet indefinite reparation payments to the Allies. Britain was anxious to give Germany, her best customer before the war, a fair chance to recuperate economically. France on the other hand, was determined to make Germany pay as much as possible towards the restoration of her devastated areas. The peace conference referred the whole question of reparation to a commission which in 1921 fixed the total German indemnity at 16,600,000.000. It was a staggering sum. The Germans declared it to be grotesque and quite beyond their capacity to pay. They were not minded to pay reparations at all and evaded payment except for some instalments. A crisis came in 1923 when on account of Germany’s default in fulfilling her obligations the French minister Poincare resolved to apply force. French and Belgian troops crossed the Rhine and occupied the Ruhr region, the very centre of Germany’s coal and iron industry. It was a step of doubtful legality and questionable wisdom. The Germans, outraged by foreign incursion, resorted to passive resistance. All workers in the Ruhr region struck work and this general strike ended in the economic collapse of the country. German industry was ruined and the value of mark fell to almost nothing. The French were strangling the goose which was to lay the golden eggs. Their policy was ruinous to Germany without being beneficial to France. It was clear that the reparation arrangement urgently needed revision.
  • With the advent of Stresemann to power in 1923 the German Republic seemed to gain in strength and stability. He was perhaps the most statesmanlike of all post-war Germans. He called off passive resistance in the Ruhr, stabilised the currency and resumed reparation deliveries to France and Belgium. About this time a new arrangement was made on payment of reparations by a commission of economic experts headed by an American banker, Charles Dawes. This new arrangement known as “Dawes Plan” came into effect in 1924. It did not pare down the German indemnity but made it payable in annual instalments spread over a long period. Its acceptance by Germany brought the withdrawal of the French troops from the Ruhr and greatly contributed to aid economic recovery of all Europe. Stresemann’s diplomacy was also attended with success. To meet the insistent French demand for security he negotiated the Locarno Pact which secured something like European guarantee for the inviolability of the existing frontier between France and Germany (1925). As a consequence of this pact Germany gained admission to the League of Nations with a permanent seat on its council. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • On the death of Ebert in 1925 who had been President of the Republic since 1919 a popular election became necessary to choose a successor. The choice fell upon Field-Marshall Hindenburg who had been put up by the Nationalists against republican candidate. Hindenburg was a monarchist by conviction and the Nationalists hoped that he would use his position to forward attempts at restoring the Hohenzollern Empire. But he observed complete loyalty to the Republic, thus broadening the basis on which it rested.
  • Germany had been nursed into financial convalescence by the Dawes Plan. For four years she steadily paid substantial instalments. She, however, resented foreign regulation of the domestic affairs, complained that the total amount of indemnity was too heavy and insisted that it must be pared down. So another commission of economic experts was appointed under the chairmanship of an American financier Owen Young. It recommended the reduction of the German indemnity by three-fourths and spread the payments over a term of 58 years without direct foreign supervision. The Young Plan came into existence in 1929 and as part of the scheme the evacuation of the Rhineland by the Allies began to be completed in 1930.

End of Reparation

  • The Young Plan, however, proved abortive as the whole reparation problem was submerged under the world-wide economic depression which began in 1929. Germany was making reparation payments mainly from the loans which she received from the United States. But the Financial and commercial slump of 1929 compelled the U.S.A. government to suspend all loans. The cessation of American loans produced a crisis in Germany and in 1931 she declared her inability to pay reparations any longer. As a consequence reparations as well as inter-allied debts were practically wiped off the slate of international accounting. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)

DICTATORSHIP IN GERMANY

Rise of the Nazi Party

  • Under Stresemann’s guidance Germany from 1923 to 1929 shared in the general recovery of Europe. The Dawes Plan began to work, and Germany was admitted to the League of Nations. But this better political situation gave a false appearance of greater stability to the Republic. The Republican government represented a coalition of diverse elements and could not pursue any consistent policy of internal reforms. Nor was its foreign policy popular. It had accepted the dictated Treaty of Versailles which was a standing humiliation for Germany. Its acceptance of unfair terms and its apparent inability to assert itself more strongly in international affairs rankled in the hearts of many patriots. In 1929 two things occurred which showed the real weakness of the Republic. Stresemann died leaving his work of political rehabilitation unfinished, and the great world slump of 1929 gripped an already enfeebled Germany, making all classes desperate. Stresemann’s death left the Republic without efficient leadership at a time when it was urgently needed. The people felt crashed and disillusioned. Thus a situation was produced which to Hitler and his Nazis provided a unique opportunity to come to power. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • By birth an Austrian citizen, Hitler had enlisted in the German army and in it he served throughout the war. When the war ended he worked as a house decorator in Munich and joined the German Worker’s Party which then numbered only seven members. He gave it a new name, that of National Society or Nazi Party. The programme he formulated for the party was radical. It denounced the whole Treaty of Versailles, demanded the union of all Germans in a Greater Germany, assailed the Jaws, condemned the parliamentary system and called for the adoption of national, rather than Marxian Socialism. He discovered in himself gifts of oratory and propaganda, and set himself to apply them in the interests of his new party. His frenzied exposition of the woes and wrongs of Germany attracted large audiences and held them spell-bound. He began by raising a body of storm troops (the so-called S.A.) whose duty it was to protect parry meetings and to break up those of others parties. In 1923 he attempted a premature coup against the Republic and was thrown into prison. The notoriety he gained from his trial and imprisonment served to arouse wide spread interest in the Nazi Party, and its patriotic programme made a strong appeal to the people whose feelings had been recently outraged by the French occupation of the Ruhr. While in prison Hitler utilised his enforced leisure in writing his book, Mein Kampf, which is an account of his life and political ideas. It is a sort of Nazi Bible and soon became widely popular. It teaches the supremacy of the state, the superiority of the Nordic race and the manifest destiny of the pure Nordic people to rule the world.
  • The Nazi movement grew slowly but steadily. The party began with seven members in 1919. Gradually its membership increased and in the election of 1924 the Nazis won 32 seats. In 1932 they became the largest party in the Reichstag. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • Political upheavals often have their roots in economic problems. The opportunity for Hitler and the Nazis was provided by the world wide slumps of 1929, the worst in recorded history. By this time the organisation of the Nazi Party had become highly efficient. The slump affected all sections of people in Germany and they began to join the Nazi Parry in crowds in the hope that it would evolve a policy of national regeneration. The Nazis were strong in the Reichstag and it became increasingly difficult to carry on the government without their co-operation. At last in 1933 President Hindenburg was compelled to accept Hitler as Chancellor. Hitler was now in power, but his position was not yet assured. To ensure success something spectacular had to be staged. The timely burning of the Reichstag provided an opportunity. It was falsely attributed to the Communists and Hitler utilised this event to justify strong measures against them. He then induced the Reichstag to delegate all its power to him as Chancellor and to his cabinet. Thus did the Communist Reichstag commit suicide and the Republic virtually came to an end. Hitler utilised the supreme power entrusted to him in making spectacular drives against the Jews and the Communists. The Jews were boycotted and dismissed from all public offices. Next followed spasmodic assaults upon them individually as well as collectively. Next came the turn of the Communists. Marxian propaganda was banned, Communist trade unions were broken up and their funds confiscated. A single labour organisation, the “German Labour Front” was set up under the strict control of the National Socialist Party. All parties were suppressed and it was decreed that Germany was to have only a single political party, that of the Nazis. Open dissenters were either hounded into exile or herded into concentration camps. Next came in 1934 the purge of his own party. There was a section in the Nazi Party, which did not see eye to eye with him on the question of socialism, and some of its leading men had rival personal ambitions. Hitler made a clean sweep of all those whose loyalty was suspected and the purge of 1934 involved the murder of several hundred persons many of whom were Hitler’s associates and had helped him to power.
  • One of Hitler’s great achievements in internal affairs was to unify Germany under a centralised system. In 1934 the submissive Reichstag passed a law which abolished the provincial diets, deprived the states of their sovereign rights and transformed them into mere administrative districts of the Empire (Reich). He thus did what neither Bismarck nor the Weimar assembly ventured to undertake. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • In 1934 President Hindenburg died and Hitler combined in his own person the office of the President and the Chancellor. A plebiscite supported this usurpation of power and Hitler was acclaimed as the sole leader (Fuhrer) of Germany. Thus within in a year of his advent to power Hitler established his position as the dictator of Germany and made what is called the Third Empire a single unified state ruled by a single political party. Germany became an authoritarian state in which there was no room for those forms of freedom which democracy stood for in the nineteenth century.

Hitler’s internal policy

  • Hitler’s domestic policy was authoritarian and totalitarian in every sense. He abolished the separate provincial governments and unified Germany under a single party, that of the Nazis, ruled the state and all political opposition was suppressed. The Jews and Communists were looked upon as anti-national elements hostile to the solidarity of the state. Hence they were subjected to cruel persecution, Economics, finance, education and almost every sphere of activity were subjected to state control. Individual freedom practically disappeared from the country. One of the causes of Germany’s collapse was the breakdown of her economic system, causing a shortage of food supplies. Hence Hitler made every attempt to secure economic self-sufficiency for Germany. Imports were discouraged, exports encouraged and raw materials rationed. A remarkable stage of industrial development was reached by the evolution of synthetic products. Wool, rubber, motor fuel were made by artificial process from such materials as wood and coal. Thus substitutes for imported articles were manufactured. Strikes and lockouts were prohibited and unemployment was met by an enormous programme of armaments and by turning the unemployed into labour corps. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)

QUEST FOR SECURITY

  • The first World War was fought on a scale hitherto unknown in history. Europe had been badly battered and had suffered unspeakable horrors and enormous losses. When the war ended there was an atmosphere of bitterness, nervous tension and exhaustion in which the over-mastering desire of all men was for peace and security. The intensity of calamity which befell Europe stirred men to consider how a repetition might be avoided. It was this passionate desire to end war once for all that found expression in the League of Nations. The inclusion of the covenant of the League of Nations in the peace treaties was the expression of the world’s hope that civilised nations would fight no more wars. The covenant declared that the object of the league was to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war. The primary function of the League was to allay international rivalry and thereby to prevent war. This purpose it hoped to achieve by a limitation of armaments and by a mutual agreement not to resort to war until an attempt had been made to settle a dispute by peaceful means. Should any member state prove recalcitrant other members were pledged to bring pressure (sanction) to bear upon it. That pressure should at first be economic and in the last resort military. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • From the outset a serious handicap to the League of Nations was the refusal of the United States to join it. It thus lost the moral support and active co-operation of a Great power. There were other gaps hardly less serious. Germany and Russia were as yet not members of it. Hence France who was bent upon securing a guarantee of security for her eastern frontier, could not rely upon the League which was young and weak. President Wilson and Lloyd George agreed to give such guarantee but the American Senate refused to ratify the President’s pledge and so the projected tripartite treaty came to nothing. But it was for such guarantee that France had agreed in the Peace Conference to give up her ancient claim to a frontier along the Rhine. She now felt both cheated and vulnerable and looked east-wards for security. She concluded treaties of military alliance with Poland in 1921, with Czecho-Slovakia in 1924, with Romania in 1926 and with Yugoslavia in 1927. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • These alliance along were not sufficient for France. She sought additional means of security by inducing the League of Nations to strengthen its position by a better clarification of its functions. The result was the Geneva Protocol of 1924 which required its members to renounce all war and to take offensive measures against any nation which went to war by refusing to accept League arbitration. Great Britain refused to accept the protocol as it was almost sure to draw her into armed intervention in the affairs, say of Eastern Europe where she was not directly interested. Hence the protocol was dropped.
  • Next in 1925 came the Pact of Locarno which was the greatest single step in the direction of international peace since the foundation of the League of Nations. This pact was signed by Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and Italy. By it Germany accepted, as permanent, her western frontiers as defined by the Treaty of Versailles. France, Belgium and Germany definitely renounced war among one another, except in self-defence. Great Britain and Italy pledged themselves to support any one of these three powers that might be attacked by any other of the three. Thus there was collective guarantee for the inviolability of the frontiers between Germany and France, and Germany and Belgium. There were further arrangements for arbitration in disputes between France and Germany, Germany and Poland, Germany and Czecho-Slovakia. The pact brought Germany within the councils of Europe, for as a natural sequence Germany entered the League of Nations in 1926 with a permanent seat on its councils. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • The Locarno Pact was a big step forward towards world-peace. Another important step in the same direction was the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928. It was suggested by the French minister Briand and sponsored by Kellogg, American Secretary of State. Its signatories agreed to renounce recourse to war as an instrument of national policy. It was no more than a pious declaration for it lacked machinery for enforcement. But it was accepted by 50 nations including Russia and so it augured well for the desire to avoid war.

Disarmament

  • The question of disarmament is very intimately connected with security. Security would always remain a paper security if the nations could not be persuaded to disarm. But this was a problem which presented great difficulties and eventually proved insoluble. Each nation wanted some other nation to take the initiative in the matter of disarmament, but no nation would take it. The fact is that national armament might be dangerous in the future but disarmament might be still more, moreover, compulsory disarmament had been imposed upon Germany but she contended that she had accepted it in the hope that other nations would disarm in pursuance of one of the provisions of the covenant of the League which contemplates a general limitation of armaments of all nations. But despite this, there was no general disarmament. Some success was achieved in respect of the prevention of rivalry in naval armaments. A conference was held in Washington in 1921 by which the five, Great Britain, the United States, Japan, France and Italy agreed to limit their battleships, cruisers and aircraft-carriers in a fixed ratio. But England refused to limit light cruisers while France and Italy refused any agreement in regard to submarines. Despite these drawbacks the Washington Treaty represented the most-substantial efforts to secure disarmament since the Armistice. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • Attempts were also made to secure a general limitation of land armaments. In 1926 the League of Nations appointed a commission to study the problems and make recommendation preparatory to the calling of a disarmament conference. After five years of toil in accumulating information the commission submitted a draft treaty to the League Council. The World Disarmament Conference then met at Geneva in 1932 but came to nothing. From the beginning France and Germany could not agree, their viewpoints being diametrically opposite. France would not disarm. Her vital necessity was security and this security she wanted to base upon military superiority. Germany felt insecure if France would not reduce her army and so insistently demanded parity with France. The conference could not find a way out of this impasse and was adjourned. Thus the final attempt to keep alive the spirit which created the League, ended in failure. Germany, now dominated by Hitler, withdrew from the conference in 1933, and proclaimed her intention of rearming despite the restriction of the Treaty of Versailles.

BREAKDOWN OF COLLECTIVE SECURITY

  • The League of Nations had made sincere efforts to promote national security and international peace for about fifteen years since, the Treaty of Versailles. But the League could not be better than the members who composed it, and the members could not be brought to abide by its recommendation if these conflicted with their national interests, real or fancied. The fact is that the World War had greatly intensified nationalism and made it very exclusive and intolerant. Each national state was regarded as an end in itself and wanted to place its own interests above everything else. When this was the feeling everywhere nobody could expect that subordination of national interest and policy to international adjustment, which alone could ensure the success of the League. No wonder a generous experiment failed. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • Besides this general cause there were other factors which contributed to the same result. The death of Stresemann in 1929 and of Briand in 1932 removed two statesmen who were largely responsible for the maintenance of European peace. They died at a time when world-wide economic depression had set in. This “economic blizzard” intensified the prevailing distress in Germany and provided the opportunity which Hitler was seeking, to establish his dictatorship. Hitler’s blatant nationalism proved to be the gravest menace to international security.

Flouting the League

  • The first shock to the League of Nations was given by Japan. In 1931 she violated the League Covenant and the Kellogg Pact by occupying the Chinese territory of Manchuria and setting up a puppet state there. China appealed to the League which condemned this act of aggression and appointed a commission under Lord Lytton to report. But the fulmination of the League had no effect on Japan who when the Commission’s report went against her, withdrew from the League (1933).
  • The defection of Japan was a serious blow to the League. But worse was to come. Germany had begun secretly to arm as soon as Hitler came into power. But after the failure of the disarmament Conference Hitler came into the open. In 1935 he repudiated those clauses of the Treaty of Versailles which imposed limitations on her armed strength, and re-established conscription. Next year he denounced the Locarno Treaties and reoccupied and refortified those zones of the Rhineland, which had been demilitarised by the Treaty of Versailles. The Great Powers were at cross-purposes and so nothing was done to resist Hitler’s insolent violation of treaty obligations. Germany left the League of Nations and denounced the clauses of the Treaty of Versailles which charged her with war guilt. Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • Meanwhile Italy under Mussolini pursued an imperial policy and in 1935 made an unprovoked attack upon Abyssinia, a member of the League. The Emperor of Abyssinia, Haile Selassie, appealed to the League against this act of wanton aggression (on the part of Italy). The League declared Italy to be the aggressor and recommended the application of economic sanctions. But the sanctions were applied half-heartedly and so failed of their purpose. The Italian campaign was short, swift and brutal. After some resistance Haile Selassie fled abroad and his capital Addis Ababa was occupied by Italian troops. The King of Italy was proclaimed Emperor of Abyssinia. Italy withdrew from the League of Nations in 1936.
  • The action of Italy was a shattering blow to the League of Nations. It conclusively proved that the League had no “teeth” and could not prevent its own members from fighting with one another. Italy had proved that might was right and that collective security was an idle dream.
  • It should be noted that Hitler was encouraged in flouting the League of Nations and in embarking on a policy of wanton aggression by the divergent policies pursued by France and Great Britain with regard to Germany. The two countries drifted apart diplomatically at a time when from the standpoint of practical politics they ought to have co-operated in enforcing the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. This individualistic pursuit of policy was no doubt due to differing conditions. The French feared more than anything else a revived and vengeful Germany. To them the treaty was the only guarantee of their security and so their statesmen opposed the reduction of reparation or any other measure, likely to ease the German situation. They did their best to hamper the economic recovery of Germany. Britain, on the other hand, feeling secure in-her isolated position and naval strength, was mainly interested in the revival of her trade. Germany had been one of her best customers and so she welcomed any step which might assist Germany’s economic recovery and purchasing power. Hence she opposed taking any step which might prove financially harmful to Germany. It was this divergent policy which enabled Hitler to violate the Treaty of Versailles with impunity and subsequently to make a bid for the hegemony of Europe.  Post-War Germany (1918-1939)

TOWARDS THE CRISIS

Hitler’s Foreign Policy

  • When Hitler came to power he was pledged to recover for Germany the position of power and importance which she had held before the First World War. He envisaged the formation of a “Third Reich” or empire which would include all Germans in a new or greater German state. This involved the ultimate absorption of German-populated regions of Austria, Czecho-Slovakia and Poland. The dictated treaty which Germany had been forced to accept, stood in the way of realising his ambition. Hence he was determined to tear away the Treaty of Versailles which had imposed humiliating restrictions upon Germany, and to make her a power to reckon with. His first significant step in this direction was to withdraw from the Disarmament Conference and to announce a programme of conscription. Next he left the League of Nations and openly flouted it by occupying the demilitarised Rhineland. England and France tamely acquiesced in this violation of treaty obligations and so Hitler was encouraged to take larger risks.  Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • Spain offered him a field to test his policy and to take the measure of the great powers. In Spain a republican government had been set up in 1931. But the Republic was progressively drifting towards communism and so General Franco headed a nationalist revolt to deliver the country from the toils of Moscow (1937). Thus broke out a terrible civil war between the Republican Government communistically inclined and Franco’s Government which was inclining towards Fascism. Socialists and Communists from all countries gave support to the Republicans while Ritler and Mussolini took up the cause of Franco. The struggle was more than a conflict the ideologies of Democracy and Dictatorship. The struggle ended in victory for Franco. Britain and France, being divided in opinion maintained precarious neutrality and resigned themselves to watching the course of events. Meanwhile Italian and German air forces wreaked destruction in Spain. The Spanish Civil War was an effect “a dress rehearsal for a greater drama soon to be played on an ampler stage.”
  • In 1936 Hitler concluded with Japan a pact known as Anti-Comintern Pact which was directed against Russian communism. Italy joined this pact in 1937 and thus the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis came into being. It was a new balance of power in which the three seceders from the League of Nations were set against Great Britain, France and Russia.
  • During the Spanish imbroglio Hitler had learnt all he needed about the weakness of the victors of Versailles. He had found that his intervention in Spain had not met with any resistance from the powers and so he was emboldened to embark upon a policy of naked aggression. He turned his attention to Austria whose union with Germany had been expressly prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles. He encouraged Nazi agitation within Austria, bullied the Austrian chancellor into appointing a Nazi minister and forced him to agree to conduct foreign affairs at Germany’s dictation. Next in 1938 he poured troops into Austria and incorporated it in Nazi empire. Till now Italy had been the most effective protector of Austria, but she was now busy with her own acts of aggression in Abyssinia and so did not interfere with a fellow aggressor.
  • The ease with which Hitler had annexed Austria whetted his territorial appetite and encouraged him to further acts of aggression. Czecho-Slovakia, an artificial creation of the peace treaties contained a considerable element of German population. Nazi propaganda had already organised these Germans into a “fifth column” and they began to clamour not merely for autonomy but for outright annexation to the German Empire. Hitler first began a “war of nerves” by a bombardment of accusation, abuse and menaces and then declared that his patience had been exhausted. He peremptorily demanded that Sudetenland which was predominantly inhabited by the Germans, should be ceded to the Reich and that he would take it by force if peaceful means failed.  Post-War Germany (1918-1939)
  • The Czech government manned their western defences and called on France to give the armed support promised by the treaty of 1924. War seemed imminent, and the British minister, Neville Chamberlain dramatically flew back and forth between England and Germany, begging Hitler not to precipitate a crisis. Chamberlain had no trumps among the cards he had to play. British re-armament had only begun and it must be many months before a major war could be faced. France torn by internal dissension and economic troubles was not in a position to fight. Hitler gauged the situation to a nicety and remained adamant. So the agreement which took place at Munich in 1938 was inevitably a capitulation to Hitler. By it, Hitler was allowed to annex Sudetenland to Germany and the integrity of the defenceless remnant of Czechoslovakia was guaranteed by four Powers—England, France, Germany and Italy. This guarantee was of little value for only six months after the Munich Pact, Hitler occupied Prague and the rest of Czechoslovakia.
  • To the Czechs the Munich Agreement was a tragedy. To Britain it brought time to rearm, and a shock to the national honour and dignity which meant the real end of the policy of appeasement. It was a policy which instead of appeasing, stimulated the ferocious appetite of Hitler. Within a short time Hitler bullied Lithuania into surrendering Memel.

World History

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