Munich conference

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The Munich Conference took place between the 28th and 30th of September, 1938 when the Soviet Union, Germany, Britain, France, and Italy met to decide how to cope with Germany’s aggression in Czechoslovakia during the Sudeten crisis. The partecipating states decided to enforce a treaty where they would allow Germany to eliminate the boundaries of the Versailles Treaty and annex the Sudetenland. It was also agreed that the government of Poland would be protected and a boundary was set over which Germany would not be allowed to cross without risking full scale war. The Munich Treaty reflected the policy of Appeasement which the western powers were pursuing towards Nazi Germany.

Germany's land seizure in Czechoslovakia was allowed to stand uncontested. Czechoslovakia was not given a say in this decision. Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Britain at that time, is best known for his role in piecing together the treaty and buying what he believed would have been "peace in our time".

As Nazi Germany increased its aggression towards Czechoslovakia through infiltration and subversion (including support of the pro-Nazi Sudeten German Party of Konrad Henlein and its terrorist offshoots) [1], Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles claimed over the radio that President Franklin Roosevelt had sent a personal message to Mussolini[2] and one to Hitler begging him to intervene and that, on this request, Mussolini had done so. As a result, Hitler had halted his soldiers and sent an invitation to Chamberlain to come to Munich. Five days later, Secretary of War Harry Woodring made the same claim. And the White House secretariat put out a record of all the messages from the President synchronized with the events in Munich to prove that Roosevelt had turned the scales for peace. Later, in the 1940 campaign, Republican presidential challenger Wendell Willkie charged that Roosevelt had boasted of his part in the appeasement of Hitler. Secretary Hull denied this at the time, however Hull later admitted that Roosevelt did indeed send a "message to Mussolini" and one to Hitler[3] encouraging negotiations. Hull wrote "whether the actions taken by the President brought about these results it is impossible to say. But undoubtedly they exercised considerable influence." Hull produced a letter from King George VI to the President saying "I have little doubt that your efforts contributed largely to the result." [4]

See also

References

  1. International Military Tribunal Nuremberg, Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946, Page 207.
  2. President Roosevelt to the Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) with a Message to Mussolini, Telegram, September 27 1938, U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 427).
  3. President Roosevelt to the Chancellor of Germany (Hitler), Telegram, September 27 1938, U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 427-428).
  4. Cordell Hull, Memoirs, New York Times, January 26 to March 6, 1948.
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