Why Did Neville Chamberlain Sign The Munich Agreement

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] “Munich and appeasement,” according to scholars Frederik Logevall and Kenneth Osgood, “have become the dirtiest words in American politics, synonymous with naivety and weakness and a mad desire to trade the vital interests of the nation for empty promises.” They argued that the success of U.S. foreign policy often depends on a president`s position “in the face of the inevitable accusations of appeasement that accompany any decision to negotiate with enemy forces.” Presidents, who challenged the “tyranny of Munich,” often made political breakthroughs, and those who cited Munich as a single principle of American foreign policy had often led the nation into its “most enduring tragedies.” [109] Munich quotes in foreign policy debates are also common in the 21st century. [107] During negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal by Secretary of State John Kerry, a Republican representative from Texas called the negotiations “worse than Munich.” In a speech in France, Kerry himself referred to Munich for military action in Syria: “This is our munich moment.” [108] The slogan “Above us, without us!” (Czech: O n`s bez n`s!) sums up the feelings of the Czechoslovakian population (Slovakia and the Czech Republic) towards the agreement. [Citation required] On its way to Germany, Czechoslovakia (as the state was renamed) lost its reasonable border with Germany and its fortifications. Without it, its independence became more nominal than more real. The agreement also caused Czechoslovakia to lose 70% of its steel industry, 70% of its electricity and 3.5 million citizens to Germany. [61] The Sudeten Germans celebrated what they saw as their liberation. The impending war, it seemed, had been averted.

On 28 September at 10 a.m., four hours before the deadline expired and without the approval of Hitler`s request to Czechoslovakia, the British Ambassador to Italy, Lord Perth, summoned the Italian Foreign Minister, Mr Galeazzo Ciano, to request an emergency meeting. [37] Perth informed Ciano that Chamberlain had ordered him to ask Mussolini in the negotiations and ask Hitler to delay the ultimatum. [37] At 11:00 a.m., Ciano met With Mussolini and informed him of Chamberlain`s proposal; Mussolini agreed and responded by questioning the Italian ambassador to Germany and telling him: “Go immediately to Fuhrer`s house and tell him that I will be by his side, but that I ask for a 24-hour delay before hostilities begin.