Nazi foreign policy aimed to revise the Treaty of Versailles, unite German-speaking people and expand German land. This led to the invasion of the Rhineland, the Austrian Anschluss and the crisis in Czechoslovakia. Britain and France's policy of appeasement led to the Munich Agreement.
Reaction to the Munich settlement was mixed. While many were relieved that war had been avoided, others saw it as a betrayal of democratic state.
Was the Munich settlement a failure for Chamberlain?
a number of British politicians criticised the agreement, including Winston Churchill and the Labour Leader Clement Attlee . However, only one Government Minister, Alfred Duff Cooper actually resigned
Munich was seen as a humiliating surrender to Hitler’s threats. Chamberlain was seen as weak as he had flown to meet Hitler in Germany three times
Hitler’s aggressive behaviour had not been stopped
he had been able to rearm Germany
he had remilitarised the Rhineland
he had completed the Anschluss
now Munich was another occasion in which his tactics had not been challenged
Britain had failed to defend a country which had come into existence atVersailles. Munich was a betrayal of Czechoslovakia
loss of the Sudetenland left Czechoslovakia defenceless against any further German aggression
increased Soviet suspicion of the British and French. The USSR was convinced that Hitler was being encouraged to head east
Was the Munich settlement a success for Chamberlain?
public opinion was supportive of Chamberlain in September 1938. Critics of Munich were in a minority in October 1938. Churchill was in the political wilderness and only one Government Minister resigned over the issue
Hitler resented the fact that a war had been avoided. He said That fellow (Chamberlain) has spoiled my entry into Prague. Some historian think the Hossbach Memorandum suggested that Hitler wanted a war as soon as possible
Czech defences in the Sudetenland had been outflanked by theAnschlussearlier that year. Furthermore, neither Britain nor France believed they could provide military assistance to Czechoslovakia
large sections of the British population were against another war due to the losses of the Great War. This left Chamberlain with few options
the British Empire was threatened by the Japanese, Italians and Germans. Australia, Canada and South Africa had all indicated their reluctance to go to war. Only New Zealand had promised their support
Britain’s military was not ready for another war. Munich bought time to build up its armed forces. It was used to build the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Rader Stations which helped win the Battle of Britain in 1940.
there was no real alternatives to the policy of appeasement.
collective security and the League of Nations were seen to have failed over Manchuria and Abyssinia
Britain lacked reliable allies - the USA was in isolation; the British government were suspicious of the USSR; France was politically unstable due to tensions between left and right
Poland and Hungary had taken parts of Czechoslovakia. They were unwilling to assist Britain and France. Poland refused to allow Soviet troops to cross its territory