64 years ago today, on September 29, 1938: Adolf Hitler, Ed Daladier of France, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Neville Chamberlain of the United Kingdom signed the Munich Agreement, which surrendered to Nazi Germany, the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia.
This agreement was to appease Germany, and keep the world from going to war.
Upon his return to England, in a speech to the British people, immediately following his signature to the Munich Agreement; Chamberlain declared:
“My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep”.
On September 1, 1939, one year to the month from the signing of the Munich Agreement and Chamberlain’s declaration of “peace for our time”, Germany invaded Poland. Two days later, much of the world was at war.
By 1945, when Hitler’s Germany was finally brought down, and by 1946, when Germany’s Japanese Ally surrendered, it is estimated that as many, if not more than 100 Million people might have been killed as a result of the war. The total number of injuries, and costs due to the general carnage is inestimable.
It is without contention, that had Chamberlain not accepted the Munich Agreement, and instead went after Hitler and Germany before Germany had the opportunity to fully rearm and reconstitute its military, which was contrary to the Peace Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919), which specifically detailed to what extent Germany could remilitarize itself after the First World War: World War II would have been substantially different. If indeed at all.
I have to wonder then: Was Chamberlain no less guilty than Hitler for the scope of the Second World War, in the sense that he could have stopped the war before it really began, by doing the right and brave thing? Or was he just a blameless victim of circumstances? In my mind’s eye, he was culpable.
It is now 64 years since the signing of the Munich Agreement, and I have to wonder if we are repeating history all over again with our appeasement of Saddam Hussein and the Fundamentalist Islamist world, just as we did with Nazi Germany and Hitler after they agreed to the Treaty of Versailles.
If the “intellectuals”, and the rest of the world’s “appeasers” have their way, we will react only when it has become too late. And the price we will have to pay for victory, will once again be inestimable.
Who will be the 21st century’s Neville Chamberlain? Or who will be the 21st century’s Winston Churchill?