03 октября / 2018

The 80th anniversary since the signing of the Munich Agreement

On September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his French counterpart Edouard Daladier met with German Reich f?hrer Adolf Hitler and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in Munich to sign an agreement that later became known as the Munich Betrayal. On the same day Chamberlain and Hitler separately drafted a non-aggression pact, and France signed a similar declaration with Germany on December 6, 1938.

The Czechoslovak representatives were not admitted to the Munich conference. Under enormous pressure from London and Paris they were forced to sign the pact, that legitimized the partition of their country. This deal allowed the Nazi Reich to annex Czechoslovak Sudetes region without any hindrance.

Poland and Hungary also took part in the unceremonious parcelling of the independent state. On September 20 Germany signed an agreement on joint actions against Czechoslovak Republic with these countries. Poland sized Cieszyn Silesia, Hungary – Sothern part of Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. It is symbolic that in 1939 Poland fell victim of a similar provocation by the Hitler Reich.

From the very beginning the USSR expressed a firm determination to help Czechoslovakia in case of its fight for independence. Unfortunately, the Soviet proposal to establish equal and indivisible security system in Europe, capable to deter German militarism, was dismissed by major Western European powers. Their leaders opted for a tactic which consisted of appeasing the aggressor, thinking that this would fend off the threat and direct Germany’s expansionism to the East. It was the Munich deal that enabled Adolf Hitler to unleash the World War II that resulted in a global catastrophe and brought untold suffering to humankind, especially to the USSR, which sacrificed more than 28 million of its citizens’ lives to gain victory over the brown plague.

The Munich deal was de facto capitulation by the West to the emerging power of Nazism. It took an enormous amount of effort on the part of all progressive forces and made it necessary to create an anti-Hitler coalition to fight and defeat Hitler, and liberate Europe. The Nazi misanthropic ideology and practice, incongruous with respect for human rights, was condemned by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

The events of September 30, 1938 must serve as a permanent reminder of the consequences of public opinion manipulation in political purposes and flirting with Nazism. Therefore, we consider as inappropriate the attempts of number of European states to ignore the neo-Nazi development.

Documents of the Federal Archival Agency of the Russian Federation, which reflect events in Europe on the verge of the World War II, are published on the web-site http://munich.rusarchives.ru.