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Munich Coursework Assignment

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Introduction

Munich Coursework Assignment 1. Describe how German policy from 1935 to March 1938 lead to increased tension in Europe. Hitler came to power in 1933 and became Fuhrer in 1934. He had made it clear in his book entitled 'Mein Kampf' that he wanted to create a new, stronger Germany and become the dominant power in Europe. In order to do this he had several aims. The first was to over throw the Treaty of Versailles and recover the land lost in 1919. He wanted to unite all German-speaking people in a new 'Greater Germany'. Hitler also wanted to give all Germans 'lebensraum' or living space, as he believed that Germany was crowded and did not have enough food or raw materials. In order to do this he would have to conquer Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia. He believed that the conquest of 'inferior' Slavs would show the world that the Aryans were the master race. Hitler knew that most of this would lead to a war but felt that it would be a good thing to strengthen the nation. However, he also knew that Germany hadn't re-armed and wasn't strong enough to fight a war. This meant that Hitler would have to tread slowly. Hitler had pretended to believe in peace in the earlier years and said he was looking for the ' rectification of Germanys just grievances'. Many people in Europe, especially the British, believed that the Treaty of Versailles had been too harsh on the Germans and so sympathised with Hitler. He wanted to see how much he could get away with. He was prepared to back down if the opposition seemed strong until Germany was capable of winning a war. As part of the Treaty of Versailles, the Saar Coalfield was given to the League of Nations for 15 years. After this, a plebiscite was to be held. This was organised by the League of Nations in January 1935. ...read more.

Middle

Ever since the Czechoslovakian democracy had been created by the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler disliked it. Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland in particular, was a valuable source of raw materials, essential to the mastery of central Europe. However, Hitler had to be careful in what action he took. Germany, by 1938 was still not ready for war with Europe and so was reluctant to use force against Czechoslovakia. At the end of March, Hitler summoned Henlein, leader of the Sudetenland Nazi's to Berlin. He told Henlein to cause as much trouble as he could for the Czechoslovakian government. Hitler hoped that this would encourage the British and French to abandon Czechoslovakia. Hitler believed that the British and the French had already given up on Czechoslovakia and were hoping that the Germans would deal with them when the time came. Hitler's guesses were not far from wrong. Britain was reluctant to risk war to prevent the Sudetenland Germans from joining Germany. Chamberlain simply believed that all Hitler wanted was to unite all German-speaking people. In May 1938 Konrad Henlein visited London and impressed the British officials. He led them to believe that the Czech government were being unreasonable. These views were reinforced by messages received by the British ambassador in Berlin, Sir Neville Henderson. His sympathies were clearly with the Germans. He was influential because his views coincided with those of Chamberlain. They both believed that Europe could be saved from a war by solving the German grievances. Henderson regarded the Czech prime minister, Eduard Benes as being small and pig headed. The British minister on Prague, Basil Newton, supported Henderson's views. He believed that since Czechoslovakia was such a mix of nationalities that it was an artificial creation and would not survive, even without the German pressure. It would have been unwise for Britain to go to war over a country that would fall apart. The French ambassador Sir Eric Phipps, who had also served in Berlin sent Chamberlain a stream of gloomy messages about the morale in France. ...read more.

Conclusion

Britain was not strong enough to fight on her own. France could not go to war without Britain, and therefore could not pursue the alliance with Czechoslovakia. France was weak and could not fight a war on her own. Italy had signed the agreement as she had agreed to Britain's request in persuading Hitler to hold one last conference at Munich, and so had raised her profile in Europe. Mussolini felt he should sign the agreement as he was now part of matters, as well as the fact that he was Hitler's ally. The Munch Agreement was signed to keep the peace in Europe but it would still not save Czechoslovakia. 4. Explain the difference reactions in Britain to the news of the signing of the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain received delighted reactions from the British Public, as well as from a number of Germans. People were overjoyed that a war had been avoided. There was a general feeling of relief from the British press. The Daily Express wrote an article telling people to give thanks to God that their children were safe and a war had been avoided. Many of the members of the House of Commons reflected the public opinion by congratulating chamberlain enthusiastically. However, Duff Cooper, the head of the Admiralty, resigned. He felt that the Munich terms were no real improvement on the demands Hitler made at Godesberg. He said that Chamberlain had put too much faith in Hitler's trust. Other members of the cabinet felt that the Munich Agreement only acted as breathing space and felt that Britain's re-armament should be sped up. Chamberlain disagreed as he felt that this would lead to another arms race and hoped Munich would be the start of international discussion on the abolition of bombers. There were two main views on Chamberlain signing the Munich Agreement. People argued that he was wrong to give into the threat of force and that he had thrown away a valuable alliance with the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia had a strong and well equipped army ...read more.

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