Sept. 30, 1938, 70 years ago, Neville
visited Adolf Hitler`s apartment in Munich, got his
signature on a three-sentence declaration and flew home
to Heston Aerodrome.
"I`ve got it,"
he shouted to Lord Halifax.
"Here is a paper
which bears his name." At the request of George
VI, Chamberlain was driven to Buckingham Palace, where he joined the king on the
balcony to take the cheers of the throngs below. An
Then it was on to
10 Downing Street, where, to
choruses of "For
He`s a Jolly Good Fellow," Chamberlain
"This is the second time in our history that there has
come back from Germany to
Downing Street peace with honor. I believe
it is peace for our time."
Munich, the summit of infamy, endlessly invoked as
the textbook example of how craven appeasement leads to
That is the great myth. And like
all myths, there is truth to it.
Chamberlain had indeed signed away
the Czech-ruled Sudetenland to Germany,, rather than risk a new war
like the one of 1914-1918 that had taken the lives of
700,000 British and 1.3 million Frenchmen.
Modernity spits on the name of
Neville Chamberlain. Yet, consider the situation
confronting the British prime minister that September.
The seeds of
had been planted at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, in
the treaties of
Versailles, St. Germain and Trianon.
agreed to an armistice based on
Wilson`s 14 Points and principle of
self-determination, millions of Germans had been
consigned to alien rule. Some 3.25 million Bohemian
Germans (Sudetenlanders) were handed over to
Prague, as were 2.5 million
Slovaks, 800,000 Hungarians, 500,000 Ukrainians and
Germans will be
citizens, President Masaryk told his parliament. Not a
single German was in the National Assembly that drew up
the constitution. Repeated protests by the German
minority to the League of Nations
were made—to no avail.
Lloyd George said the Czechs had
lied to him at Paris when they had
promised to model
Czechoslovakia on the
Swiss Confederation, with autonomy for ethnic
By the 1930s, most British and the
Tory government believed an injustice had been done to
the Sudeten Germans that must be rectified by diplomacy
if a new war was to be averted.
After the Saarr
voted 90 to 10 to rejoin the Reich, and
had been annexed, the Sudeten Germans began to agitate
for secession and annexation by
Germany. And as
Chamberlain wrote his sister, he
"didn`t care two hoots whether the Sudetens were in the
Reich or out of it."
The issue was not worth a European or
had no alliance with
nor any vital interest in
East-Central Europe, where no British Army
had ever fought before, what was Chamberlain even doing
He feared that if war broke out
between Czechs and Germans, and
invoked its French alliance, a Franco-German war might
follow, dragging Britain in as it
had in 1914.
Three times that September,
Chamberlain flew to Germany to
negotiate the peaceful transfer of the provinces of Czechoslovakia where Germans were in
the clear majority. After his second trip, to Bad
Godesberg, where Hitler had threatened to march,
Chamberlain had ordered mobilization of the fleet.
Hitler had backed down and urged
Chamberlain to continue his pursuit of a negotiated
settlement, which was finalized at Munich.
Why did Chamberlain not tell Prague to defy Hitler and commit Britain to fight
for a Czech Sudetenland?
was utterly unprepared for war. The Brits had not a
single division in France, no Spitfires, no draft and no
allies save France. Britain`s World War I allies were
was with Hitler.
was now hostile.
was lost to Bolshevism.
South Africa were
unwilling to fight, if the issue was keeping Germans
under Czech rule.
And the Americans had gone home.
Indeed, FDR had
"Those who count on the assured aid of the
in case of a war in Europe
are totally mistaken."
Roosevelt`s aides informed
Paris that, if
war broke out,
America, under the
neutrality acts, would not even deliver the planes France had already purchased.
declare a war it could not win for a cause—Czech control
of 3.5 million Germans—in which it did not believe, a
war certain to bring death to millions and the ruin of
We Americans did not go to war for
the Czechs in 1938, or the Poles in 1939, or the French
in 1940, or the Hungarians in 1956. Last month,
marched into Abkhazia and
Sudeten lands of
Georgia. Did we declare
If the Russian majorities in east
Ukraine or Crimea demand the right to secede and return
to Mother Russia, will we go to war to keep these
millions of Russians under Ukrainian rule?
If not, upon what ground do we
stand to condemn Chamberlain?
Chamberlain`s failure was that he
trusted Hitler at Munich—as his great rival
Winston Churchill would trust Joseph Stalin at Moscow,
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.