Why Was the Munich Agreement a Failure

[silent] An agreement signed at the Munich Conference in September 1938 ceded the German-speaking Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia to Germany. The agreement was concluded between Germany, Italy, Great Britain and France. Czechoslovakia was not allowed to participate in the conference. In March 1939, six months after the munich accords were signed, Hitler violated the agreement and destroyed the Czech state. Stephen R. Rock, a UCLA Film and Television Archive, describes his methodology in Appeasement in International Politics as a “structured and focused comparison.” (Rock 2000, 16) Using this technique, the researcher conducts a detailed study of a small number of cases, asks the same questions in each case, and identifies crucial similarities and differences. This article uses the same techniques, although even fewer cases are studied here than in Rock`s research. However, the objective is the same; Why did Chamberlain decide to appease Hitler in 1938, and is there an applicability of the failure of this appeasement to the case of Iran`s nuclear program today? Rock notes that “comparative methods often cannot provide conclusive empirical verification of theoretical statements” (ibid.) and that this conclusion is even more applicable using this very limited research. This article will not claim to be crucial in terms of theoretical generalizations just to examine the unique properties of a specific case and at best to be “very insightful and highly persuasive.” (ibid., p.

17) Chamberlain had escaped the trap set for him by his political rivals. True to its form, many of them interpreted the Munich Agreement as meaning what it meant for their own perspectives. Some feared that Chamberlain would call an early general election in which he would rage to victory. A panicked Churchill considered building an alliance with labour, liberals and rebellious Conservatives, suggesting that a commitment to the League of Nations and “collective security” could form the basis of a joint campaign. When Macmillan protested, “This is not our jargon,” Churchill shouted back, “This is jargon we may all need to learn!” The British and French expected Hitler to keep their word and their ability to respond if he didn`t. In retrospect, however, neither was well placed to respond to German aggression. Appeasement made sense with the warning that if evidence surfaced that it didn`t work, it would swap a more frightening position. It also follows that Britain should rearm and keep itself ready, which it has not done. It is the conclusion of this research that this gap is dangerously analogous to today`s Iran deal. U.S. leaders such as President Obama and likely Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton are proposing to respond quickly with sanctions if Iran violates the conditions.

The president said: “If Iran violates the deal within the next ten years, all sanctions can come back into effect.” (Obama 2015) In my opinion, Iran expects this not to happen or to be ineffective – or too late to prevent a nuclear buildup. Probably the best reason why Hitler`s aggression was not seen as an immediate threat and appeasement was chosen as a strategy was the illusory assessment of Hitler by the Allies. J. L. Richardson explains, “The main reason for the failure of appeasement was that Hitler`s goals went far beyond the limits of reasonable precautions that the soothing were willing to consider.” (Rock 2000, 49) The purpose of this paper is to analyze the British response to the threat of German expansion and link it to the threat posed by Iran`s nuclear program today. There seems to be a strange similarity between the ambitions of the two regimes. J.L. Richardson explains: “The main reason for the failure of appeasement was that Hitler`s goals went far beyond the limits of reasonable precautions that the soothing were willing to consider” (Rock 2000, 49) and based on the tehran regime`s past statements and actions, today`s P5+1 may be guilty of similar naivety. This study claims that today`s leaders are naïve and deceived, just as Chamberlain was not supposed to judge that appeasement of Iran will not lead him to develop nuclear weapons. Based on Iran`s words and actions since its 1979 revolution, this research concludes that the Munich analogy is applicable. After Tehran received the bomb, Saudi Arabia would likely do the same, leading to an extremely destabilizing arms race in the region. If the West really wants to prevent this, it must offer Iran what it longs for: security against foreign intervention.

The Geneva Convention is a major step in this direction. By signing the deal, the US showed that it accepted the Iranian regime – even reluctantly – and did not seek its violent overthrow or a strike on its nuclear facilities. Although appeasement, conventionally defined as the act of satisfying grievances through concessions aimed at avoiding war, was once considered an effective and honorable foreign policy strategy, since the Munich Conference it symbolized cowardice, failure and weakness, with Winston Churchill describing appeasement as “someone who feeds a crocodile in the hope that he will eat it last.” [6] In the spring of 1938, Hitler openly began to support the demands of German speakers living in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia for closer relations with Germany. Hitler had recently annexed Austria to Germany, and the conquest of Czechoslovakia was the next step in his plan to create a “Greater Germany.” The Czechoslovak government hoped that Britain and France would come to the rescue in the event of a German invasion, but British Prime Minister Chamberlain was anxious to avoid war. He made two trips to Germany in September and offered Hitler favorable deals, but the Führer continued to increase his demands. The resurgence of the term “appeasement” in relation to the West`s policy towards Iran`s nuclear program, and in particular the recent agreement with Iran, makes it a particularly opportune time to review the Munich Accords of 1938. In retrospect, this pact is widely regarded as the Greatest Possible Political Failure of the Allies. According to some, a perfect opportunity was missed to stop the Nazi advance before it really began. Since the post-war investigation and assessment of the chain of events that led to World War II, governments have sought not to “appease” dictators, which is now seen not as avoiding conflict, as Chamberlain had hoped, but as further reinforcing aggressive action. U.S. presidents cited the failure of appeasement in 1938 when they decided to go to war in Korea. Vietnam and Iraq in 1990 and 2003, as well as in many presidential campaigns.

(Ripsman & Levy 2008, p. 148) The word itself was so vilified that it could not be seriously considered a diplomatic strategy. J. David Singer explains: “The emotional symbolism of appeasement has such a hold on the political mentality of the West that anything that has the slightest smell of appeasement is rejected with remarkable force. (Klein 1991, 2) The Prime Minister`s spectacular triumph proved short-lived. Within a few weeks, the colony of Munich dissolved. Referendums never took place and Hitler simply seized the disputed territories. Some had predicted it from the beginning. In fact, Halifax offered little resounding support to Munich when he publicly called the agreement “the best heinous election of evil.” Churchill predicted, “This is just the beginning of the count.” September 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of the infamous Munich Agreement. It was carried out in response to Nazi Germany`s request to annex the border regions of neighbouring Czechoslovakia, where 3 million ethnic Germans live. Hitler was simply threatening to smuggle his troops across the border and conquer the disputed territory, the Sudetenland.

It seemed likely that Britain, France and the Soviet Union would all be dragged into it if a conflict broke out. The research question in this article asked what factors led to the choice of appeasement in 1938 and what lessons can be drawn from today`s Iranian nuclear problem. The justification that Hitler could be saturated by obtaining the Sudetenland proved illusory, so Chamberlain`s threat analysis turned out to be the same. Synthesizing the relevant literature on appeasement, the specific reasons why Chamberlain chose it as his answer, the failure of the strategy against Hitler, and the similarities between Hitler`s regime and the Iranian regime today, this study concludes that the lessons of Munich`s failure can be properly applied today. Studies like Khong`s prove that the Munich lessons are not applicable in all diplomatic crises – as has often been the case, but the historical analogy applies in some cases. On September 29, Chamberlain rushed to Munich to meet Hitler for the third – and last – time, and entered a 14-hour trial that ended in the middle of the night. According to the agreement, the German-speaking regions of the Sudetenland were to be incorporated into the Reich and an international commission was to oversee referendums elsewhere along the border. Chamberlain and Hitler also signed the Anglo-German Declaration, in which they “reaffirmed the desire of our two peoples never to go to war again.” .