Skip to comments.HITLER'S DEMANDS AND YANKEES CLINCH PENNENT (9/19/38)
Posted on 09/19/2008 5:46:53 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
I am not happy with today’s mess. I had articles giving the details of the gory Czech situation and covering the Redskins/Dodgers and Bears/Packers games, but they were chopped off at the bottom so I left them off the main thread. I will post them as replies so you can see what I mean. And under the editorial there was a cool ad to reduce tension over the world situation by smoking a Camel. I have checked future stories and this cropping problem goes on into next week and then goes away.
And so at noon on September 19 the British and French ministers in Prague jointly presented the Anglo-French proposals to the Czech government. They were rejected the next day in a dignified note which explainedpropheticallythat to accept them would put Czechoslovakia "sooner or later under the complete domination of Germany." After reminding France of her treaty obligations and also of the consequences to the French position in Europe should the Czechs yield, the reply offered to submit the whole Sudeten question to arbitration under the terms of the German-Czech treaty of October 16, 1925. But the British and French were in no mood to allow such a matter as the sanctity of treaties to interfere with the course they had set. No sooner was the note of rejection received by the Anglo-French envoys in Prague at 5 P.M. on the twentieth than the British minister, Sir Basil Newton, warned the Czech Foreign Minister, Dr. Kamil Krofta, that if the Czech government adhered to it Britain would disinterest herself in the fate of the country. M. de Lacroix, the French minister, associated himself with this statement on behalf of France. In London and Paris, in the meantime, the Czech note was received with ill grace. Chamberlain called a meeting of his inner cabinet and a telephone link with Paris was set up for conversations with Daladier and Bonnet throughout the evening. It was agreed that both governments should subject Prague to further pressure. The Czechs must be told that if they held out they could expect no help from France or Britain.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Pg. 389-390
Reads just like today's anti-Iraq war pansies. They too, will be relegated to the dustbins of history.
As for the Yankees clinching the pennant - their top four starters that year (Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Monte Pearson, and Spud Chandler) accounted for 73 complete games that year. So far this year, there have been only 72 complete games thrown - by the entire American League.
Russia gave unequivocal pledge of loyalty to Czechs if French did help. (". . . the Czechoslovak Government addressed a formal inquiry to my Government as to whether the Soviet Union is prepared in accordance with the Soviet‑Czech pact, to render Czechoslovakia immediate and effective aid if France, loyal to her obligations, will render similar assistance, to which my Government gave a clear answer in the affirmative." Doc. Int. Affairs 1938, Vol. II, p. 225.) Russia warned Poland not to attack Czechoslovakia. (Lee, p. 340; Survey 1938, Vol. I, p. 696.) - 78th Congress, 2d Session House Document No. 541 "Events Leading up to World War II".
I am not happy with todays mess.<<<
You are doing a fine job, don’t worry about a few glitches, we are not going to complain.
You are doing a fine job of getting history out for us to read, for that I thank you.
Probably, in 1938. But no long-term peace with the Nazis was possible, any more than you can "make peace" with a rabid dog.
Nazism had to be defeated and destroyed. By 1938 it was already far too late to do this without a major war.
Political preparations for the final blow against Czechoslovakia also continued. The captured German Foreign Office documents abound with reports of increasing German pressure on Hungary and Poland to get in on the spoils. Even the Slovaks were brought in to stir up the brew. On September 20 Henlein urged them to formulate their demands for autonomy "more sharply." On the same day Hitler received Prime Minister Imredy and Foreign Minister Kanya of Hungary and gave them a dressing down for the hesitancy shown in Budapest. A Foreign Office memorandum gives a lengthy report on the meeting.
First of all, the Fuehrer reproached the Hungarian gentlemen for the undecided attitude of Hungary. He, the Fuehrer, was determined to settle the Czech question even at the risk of a world war ... He was convinced [however] that neither England nor France would intervene. It was Hungary's last opportunity to join in. If she did not, he would not be in a position to put in a word for Hungarian interests. In his opinion, the best thing would be to destroy Czechoslovakia . . .
He presented two demands to the Hungarians: (1) that Hungary should make an immediate demand for a plebiscite in the territories which she claimed, and (2) that she should not guarantee any proposed new frontiers for Czechoslovakia.
Come what might with Chamberlain, Hitler, as he made clear to the Hungarians, had no intention of allowing even a rump Czechoslovakia to long exist. As to the British Prime Minister:
The Fuehrer declared that he would present the German demands to Chamberlain with brutal frankness. In his opinion, action by the Army would provide the only satisfactory solution. There was, however, a danger of the Czechs submitting to every demand.
It was a danger that was to haunt the dictator in all the subsequent meetings with the unsuspecting British Prime Minister.
By this time President Benes realized that he was being deserted by his supposed friends. He made one final effort to rally at least France. Shortly after 8 P.M. on the, twentieth he had Dr. Krofta put the vital question to Lacroix: Would France honor her word to Czechoslovakia in case of a German attack or would she not? And when at 2:15 on the morning of September 21 Newton and Lacroix got Benes out of bed, bade him withdraw his note of rejection and declared that unless this were done and the Anglo-French proposals were accepted Czechoslovakia would have to fight Germany alone, the President asked the French minister to put it in writing. Probably he had already given up, but he had an eye on history.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp. 387-388, 390
Egged on by Berlin, the Polish government on September 21 demanded of the Czechs a plebiscite in the Teschen district, where there was a large Polish minority, and moved troops to the frontier of the area.
All through . . . September 21, Benes, aching from fatigue, from the lack of sleep and from the contemplation of treachery and disaster, consulted with his cabinet, party leaders and the Army High Command. They had shown courage in the face of enemy threats but they began to crumble at the desertion of their friends and allies. What about Russia? As it happened, the Soviet Foreign Commissar, Litvinov, was making a speech that very day at Geneva reiterating that the Soviet Union would stand by its treaty with Czechoslovakia. Benes called in the Russian minister in Prague, who backed up what his Foreign Commissar had said. Alas for the Czechs, they realized that the pact with Russia called for the Soviets to come to their aid on condition that France did the same. And France had reneged.
Late in the afternoon of September 21, the Czech government capitulated and accepted the Anglo-French plan. We had no other choice, because we were left alone, a government communiqué explained bitterly. Privately, Benes put it more succinctly: We have been basely betrayed. The next day the cabinet resigned and General Jan Sirovy, the Inspector General of the Army, became the head of a new government of national concentration.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Pg. 388, 390-391
Buchanan argues that Hitler was not interested in WESTERN Europe, only in the East, so if Britain & France had let him have Poland too, there would have been no World War Two and millions of lives would be spared.
He also says that a war between Hitler and Stalin would have prevented the triumph of Communism, the 45 year long Cold War, and those tens of millions killed by Communists.
Finally, Buchanan clinches his argument by noting that, compared to Poland, Czechoslovakia came out of the war in pretty good shape -- with less than 10% of the deaths & destruction experienced by the Poles.
So, it seems what Buchanan wants us to learn from this is: when faced with a Hitler-like character, it's better to surrender quickly, and join his side, than it is to fight honorably to the death, to preserve your country.
Of course, I think Pat is nuts, but what I think doesn't matter. Maybe someone should ask the Poles, how many agree with Buchanan?
Though Chamberlain was bringing to Hitler all that he had asked for at their Berchtesgaden meeting, both men were uneasy as they met at the little Rhine town of Godesberg on the afternoon of September 22. The German charge d'affaires, after seeing the Prime Minister off at the London airport, had rushed off a wire to Berlin: "Chamberlain and his party have left under a heavy load of anxiety . . . Unquestionably opposition is growing to Chamberlain's policy."
Hitler was in a highly nervous state. On the morning of the twenty-second I was having breakfast on the terrace of the Hotel Dreesen, where the talks were to take place, when Hitler strode past on his way down to the riverbank to inspect his yacht. He seemed to have a peculiar tic. Every few steps he cocked his right shoulder nervously, his left leg snapping up as he did so. He had ugly, black patches under his eyes. He seemed to be, as I noted in my diary that evening, on the edge of a nervous breakdown. "Teppichfresser!" muttered my German companion, an editor who secretly despised the Nazis. And he explained that Hitler had been in such a maniacal mood over the Czechs the last few days that on more than one occasion he had lost control of himself completely, hurling himself to the floor and chewing the edge of the carpet. Hence the term "carpet eater." The evening before, while talking with some of the party hacks at the Dreesen, I had heard the expression applied to the Fuehrer in whispers, of course.
Despite his misgivings about the growing opposition to his policies at home, Mr. Chamberlain appeared to be in excellent spirits when he arrived at Godesberg and drove through streets decorated not only with the swastika but with the Union Jack to his headquarters at the Petershof, a castlelike hotel on the summit of the Petersberg, high above the opposite (right) bank of the Rhine. He had come to fulfill everything that Hitler had demanded at Berchtesgaden, and even more. There remained only the details to work out and for this purpose he had brought along, in addition to Sir Horace Wilson and William Strang (the latter a Foreign Office expert on Eastern Europe), the head of the drafting and legal department of the Foreign Office, Sir William Malkin.
Late in the afternoon the Prime Minister crossed the Rhine by ferry to the Hotel Dreesen where Hitler awaited him. For once, at the start at least, Chamberlain did all the talking. For what must have been more than an hour, judging by Dr. Schmidt's lengthy notes of the meeting, the Prime Minister, after explaining that following "laborious negotiations" he had won over not only the British and French cabinets but the Czech government to accept the Fuehrer's demands, proceeded to outline in great detail the means by which they could be implemented. Accepting Runciman's advice, he was now prepared to see the Sudetenland turned over to Germany without a plebiscite. As to the mixed areas, their future could be determined by a commission of three members, a German, a Czech and one neutral. Furthermore, Czechoslovakia's mutual-assistance treaties with France and Russia, which were so distasteful to the Fuehrer, would be replaced by an international guarantee against an unprovoked attack on Czechoslovakia, which in the future "would have to be completely neutral."
It all seemed so simple, so reasonable, so logical to the peace-loving British businessman become British Prime Minister. He paused with evident self-satisfaction, as one eyewitness recorded, for Hitler's reaction.
"Do I understand that the British, French and Czech governments have agreed to the transfer of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia to Germany?" Hitler asked. He was astounded as he later told Chamberlain, that the concessions to him had gone so far and so fast.
"Yes," replied the Prime Minister, smiling.
"I am terribly sorry," Hitler said, "but after the events of the last few days, this plan is no longer of any use."
Chamberlain, Dr. Schmidt later remembered, sat up with a start. His owllike face flushed with surprise and anger. But apparently not with resentment that Hitler had deceived him, that Hitler, like a common blackmailer, was upping his demands at the very moment they were being accepted. The Prime Minister described his own feelings at this moment in a report to the Commons a few days later:
I do not want the House to think that Hitler was deliberately deceiving me I do not think so for one momentbut, for me, I expected that when I got back to Godesberg I had only to discuss quietly with him the proposals that I had brought with me; and it was a profound shock to me when I was told . . . that these proposals were not acceptable . . .
Chamberlain saw the house of peace which he had so "laboriously" built up at the expense of the Czechs collapsing like a stack of cards. He was, he told Hitler, "both disappointed and puzzled. He could rightly say that the Fuehrer had got from him what he had demanded."
In order to achieve this he [Chamberlain] had risked his whole political career . . . He was being accused by certain circles in Great Britain of having sold and betrayed Czechoslovakia, of having yielded to the dictators, and on leaving England that morning he actually had been booed.
But the Fuehrer was unmoved by the personal plight of the British Prime Minister. The Sudeten area, he demanded, must be occupied by Germany at once. The problem "must be completely and finally solved by October first, at the latest." He had a map handy to indicate what territories must be ceded immediately.
And so, his mind "full of foreboding," as he later told the Commons, Chamberlain withdrew across the Rhine "to consider what I was to do." There seemed so little hope that evening that after he had consulted with his own cabinet colleagues and with members of the French government by telephone it was agreed that London and Paris should inform the Czech government the next day that they could not "continue to take the responsibility of advising them not to mobilize."
At 7:20 that evening General Keitel telephoned Army headquarters from Godesberg: "Date (of X Day) cannot yet be ascertained. Continue preparations according to plan. If Case Green occurs, it will not be before September 30. If it occurs sooner, it will probably be improvised."
For Adolf Hitler himself was caught in a dilemma. Though Chamberlain did not know it, the Fuehrer's real objective, as he had laid it down in his OKW directive after the May crisis, was "to destroy Czechoslovakia by military action." To accept the Anglo-French plan, which the Czechs already had agreed to, however reluctantly, would not only give Hitler his Sudeten Germans but would effectively destroy the Czech state, since it would be left defenseless. But it would not be by military action, and the Fuehrer was determined not only to humiliate President Benes and the Czech government, which had so offended him in May, but to expose the spinelessness of the Western powers. For that, at least a military occupation was necessary. It could be bloodless, as was the military occupation of Austria, but it must take place. He must have at least that much revenge on the upstart Czechs.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Pg. 391-393
The reason I post this is you can see the topography of the Sudetenland on this map. As you can see it was a very mountainous frontier and additionally the Czechs had many border fortifications in these areas that bordered Germany. Not to mention all the coal, and other resources in the area.
The Czech's could have put up stiff resistence on this frontier but it was clear to them that they couldn't do it on their own. The loss of the Sudetenland took the teeth out of any future defence of Czechoslovakia.
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