World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

The Munich Agreement - Sept 29th 1938
From Spartacus Educational

In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister, met Adolf Hitler at his home in Berchtesgaden. Hitler proposed invading Czechoslovakia unless Britain supported Germany's plans to takeover the Sudetenland. After some discussion  with  Edouard Daladier (France) and Eduard Benes (Czechoslovakia), Chamberlain told Hitler that his proposals were unacceptable.

Hitler was in a difficult situation but he also knew that Britain and France were unwilling to go to war and he thought it unlikely that they would wish to link up with the Soviet Union, whose totalitarian system was hated more that Hitler's fascist dictatorship.

Benito Mussolini suggested to Hitler that they could hold a conference of Germany, Britain, France and Italy. This would exclude both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, and therefore increase the likelihood of reaching an agreement, which would undermine the solidarity that was developing against Germany.

The meeting took place in Munich on 29th September, 1938. Anxious to avert war, and an alliance with Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe.

On that day, Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement, which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany.

When Eduard Benes, Czechoslovakia's head of state, protested at this decision, Chamberlain told him that Britain would be unwilling to go to war over the issue of the Sudetenland.

The Munich Agreement was popular with the British people because it appeared to have averted a war with Germany but some politicians, including Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, disapproved of the agreement. They pointed out that not only had the British government behaved dishonourably, but it had lost the support of Czech Army, one of the best in Europe.

In March, 1939, the German Army seized the rest of Czechoslovakia. In taking this action Adolf Hitler had broken the Munich Agreement. The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, now realized that Hitler could not be trusted and his conciliation policy now came to an end.

Chamberlain shows the agreement to the jubilant crowd

Click 'Play' button below to hear speech

Peace In Our Time

The phrase "peace for our time" was spoken on 30 September 1938 by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his speech concerning the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration.

Less than a year after the agreement, following continued aggression from Germany and its invasion of Poland, Europe was plunged into World War II.

It is unknown how deliberate Chamberlain's use of such a similar term was, but anyone of his background would be familiar with the original.