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(TM)Why did Britain fail to confront Germany over the occupation of the Czech city of Prague in March 1939, but declare war on Germany six months later over the threat to the largely German city of Denzig?

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Introduction

''Why did Britain fail to confront Germany over the occupation of the Czech city of Prague in March 1939, but declare war on Germany six months later over the threat to the largely German city of Denzig?" Plan * Specific reasons:- Poland rather than Czech - Chamberlain's view Reasons why not - must be other reasons * Political reasons - had seen that appeasement in Czech had failed * Public opinion - general towards war - especially after end of Czechoslovakia - wanted a stand against dictators - but also other reasons:- - military weakness in 1938, much stronger in 1939 - World position - Conclusion - The British government, up until 1939, had used the system of appeasement to resolve international disputes. This policy associated must closely with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, had been employed as a method to keep peace, particularly during Hitler's previous expansionist moves. When the German troops occupied the Czech city of Prague in March 1939, after President Hacha conceded to German threats and demands, the British Government still failed to act, despite this action being an obvious violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Munich agreement. It is therefore important to consider the reasons why the British then went to war over Denzig in 1939 and the factors behind such a drastic policy change. ...read more.

Middle

They had been angered by Chamberlain's mild action when Czechoslovakia was occupied in March 1939, and called for stronger actions and words from those who represented the British people. This, along with Chamberlain's own anger at events, persuaded him to announce his determination to stand against the German dictator in future acts of aggression. That next threat of aggression from Hitler came when he made moves towards gaining Denzig. This is another reasons why in this particular event, Chamberlain felt little other option but to declare war on Hitler in the event of Danzig's invasion. It is still doubtful, however, that a shift in political and public opinion alone would have been enough to persuade Britain to take a stronger line regarding Poland. In the past, military weakness had been used to justify Britain's policy of appeasement. In the case of the Czech crisis, Britain had felt they weren't in a strong enough military position to declare war. During 1939, and by the time of Germany's demands for Danzig, Britain was in a much more secure position, in terms of her military and defence. The production of aircraft had increased significantly, from 240 a month in 1938 to 660 a month by September 1939. By this time, the radar system in Britain had been significantly developed, and there was much more hope of Britain's being able to defend herself in the event of an air raid. ...read more.

Conclusion

This put Britain in a stronger position to make the threats to Germany, which eventually led to war. Britain also had a stronger ally in Poland then they would have had in Czechoslovakia, who had been to weak to withstand German forces. In conclusion, it can be seen that while many in Britain may have preferred Britain to have gone to war to hep Czechoslovakia earlier that year, Britain was realistically in a stronger position to take on such a responsibility during the Polish issue. When Poland was threatened, Chamberlain and Britain knew they could no longer let Hitler get away with his expansionism. Hitler's previous grievances could have been regarded as justified, and his actions simply trying to rectify the wrongs of Versailles. To a point this was even true when Germany invaded Prague. Poland was, however, a different matter, and any attack against her could not be excused as the right of the German people to exact change. They therefore must endeavour to stop him, even f this meant war. When the Polish guarantee was made, it was unsure whether war would materialise, or Hitler would back down. As it happened, Britain accepted her responsibility to these obligations when Hitler did invade Poland on the 1st September 1939, with her declaration of war on the 3rd September 1939, with the support of France, Poland and the Dominions. Examinaers comments Clear and sustained focus with excellent supporting detail. 55/60 Level 5 ...read more.

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