Why The Munich Agreement Failed

In the spring of 1938, Hitler openly began to support calls from German spokesmen 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 Czechoslovakian government hoped that Britain and France would help in the event of a German invasion, but British Prime Minister Chamberlain tried to avoid war. He made two trips to Germany in September and offered favorable agreements to Hitler, but Fuhrer responded to his demands. The question of researching this paper is: What are the factors that led Neville Chamberlain to his fatal threat analysis and what lessons can this case study use today? The focus is not on the intelligence analyst`s analysis, but on the client`s (political) use of intelligence. Chamberlain`s appeasement strategy has traditionally been interpreted as “naivety, failed diplomacy and even cowardice” (Ripsman – Levy, 149), but a revision of the analysis of the British and French threat and the tools of state art is needed to shed light on the use of appeasement as a threat management policy. Can this analogy be used correctly today, given the frequent frequency of appeasement on the part of policy makers? Khong notes that policy makers often misuse analogies and that there is something about the psychology of analog reasoning that makes it difficult, but not impossible, to properly use historical foreign policy analogies. (Khong 1992, 13) The literature on the failure of the Munich Agreement to verify Hitler`s ambition began to appear almost immediately, with the fall of the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. After the defeat of Hitler`s Germany, the most accepted texts were published in 1948, including J.W.

Wheeler-Bennett`s Munich: Prologue To Tragedy. The rush to make appeasement responsible for the war was immediate; “Historians, with a clear reminder of events and without access to government archives, have made immediate historical judgments.” (McDonough 1998, 2) Wheeler-Bennett insulted Appeasement as a policy of madness championed by an ineffective leader who did not question the morality of Hitler`s claims. Memoirs by political and military leaders, including Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, were also published, explaining “how easy it would have been to avoid the tragedy of the Second World War.” (Churchill 1948, 17) The British and French relied on Hitler to keep his word and their ability to react when he did not. But in hindsight, neither was well placed to respond to the German aggression. The appeasement made sense with the caveat that if there was evidence that it did not work, there would be more exchange of deterrent attitudes. It also follows that Britain should upgrade and maintain its will, which it has not done. The conclusion of this research is that this gap is dangerously similar to today`s Iranian agreement. U.S. politicians such as President Obama and presumed Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton are proposing to respond quickly with sanctions if Iran violates conditions. The President said: “If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all sanctions can be reinstated.” (Obama 2015) I think Iran is counting on the fact that this is not the case or that it is ineffective or too late to prevent nuclear weapons.

Arguably the best reason why Hitler`s aggression was not considered an immediate threat and that appeasement was chosen as a strategy was the illusory appreciation of Hitler by the Allies. J. L. Richardson said, “The main reason for the failure of appeasement was that Hitler`s goals far exceeded the limits of reasonable arrangements that the Appeasers were willing to look at.” (Rock 2000, 49) The nuclear agreement