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German Federal Archive
Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured before signing the Munich Agreement.

On This Day: Sudetenland Ceded to Hitler in Munich Agreement

September 30, 2011 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Sept. 30, 1938, Nazi Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, which forced Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland region to Germany. The agreement is most remembered as a disastrous attempt to appease Hitler.

The Munich Agreement

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The Sudetenland was a region of Czechoslovakia that was home to many ethnic Germans. Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler wished to seize the region, and threatened Czechoslovakia that he was take it by force if it did not cede it.

The Czechoslovak government resisted, but its allies, Britain and France, were determined to avoid war at all costs and were willing to negotiate with Hitler. On Sept. 29, Hitler met in Munich with Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain of Britain, Edouard Daladier of France and Benito Mussolini of Italy to reach a final settlement. Czechoslovak leaders were not included in the talks.

Britain and France agreed to let Nazi Germany annex the Sudetenland. They instructed Czechoslovak leaders to either agree to the deal or resist the Nazis on their own. With military ill-equipped to fight the Nazi military, Czechoslovak leaders had little choice but to accept the deal.

Chamberlain believed that the agreement had staved off war. Upon returning to Britain, he declared in front of 10 Downing Street, “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.”

World War II

The Munich Agreement did not, in fact, bring about peace. The Nazis seized the rest of Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939 and in September 1939 invaded Poland, starting World War II.

The findingDulcinea Web Guide to World War II links to the most comprehensive and reliable sources on the war.
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