The Munich Agreement and the road to World War II, 80 years ago- World History

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The Munich Agreement

The Agreement was signed among Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain on September 29-30, 1938. Hitler’s appeasement in an attempt to keep the peace in Europe was strongly supported by Great Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain.

After coming back from Munich, Chamberlain waved the piece of paper signed by Hitler and called it a declaration of “peace with honour”. In return for European peace, the Sudetenland region was permitted to be annexed by the Germans.

Czechoslovakia, the country whose region was about to be annexed, was not officially party to the Agreement.

It was forced to agree to the deal under pressure from Great Britain and France, which had a military alliance with the country.

The Czchoslovak leader Jan Masaryk had famously declared at the time, “We are not ready to accept peace at all costs!” And Prime Minister Jan Syrový, who was forced to accept the Munich Agreement, lamented: “We have been abandoned.”

 

What changed

The Agreement, signed after Hitler met Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier along with Italy’s Prime Minister Benito Mussolini in Munich, allowed for the cessation to Germany of Sudetenland. The German occupation was to be done in four stages from October 1-10, 1938.

The cessation in some places was subject to a plebiscite. The Czechoslovak government was supposed to release from their military and police forces within four weeks of the signing of the Agreement, any Sudeten Germans who wished to be released, and all Sudeten German prisoners.

Six months after the Munich Agreement was signed, Hitler went back on his commitments and invaded the whole of Czechoslovakia. War was on its way.