In a post entitled It was never OK to Carve up Czechoslovakia "Captain Ed" attacks Bruce Ramsey for his "defense" of Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement. Of course, Ramsey in his blog ed cetera doesn't really defend Chamberlain, he simply states we have judged Britain and France too harshly for its actions at Munich and that our criticism based entirely on 20/20 hindsight.
Per "Captain Ed" this is "Hogwash" and further:
As Captain Ed would say "Hogwash". The Czech Republic was cobbled together in 1919 by the Allies at Versailles. Neither the German-speakers nor the Slovaks were consulted, simply forced into the new country. And Chamberlain did not "dismember" Czechoslovakia anymore than the Allies "dismembered" Austria in 1919 by giving the Czechs their independence. Further, England had no moral obligation to go to war to prevent 3 million Germans from leaving Czechoslovakia and exercising the right of self-determination.
"it attempts to rescue Neville Chamberlain by ignoring his greatest crime. No nation has the right to dismember an allied nation without its approval, or even its participation. The ministers of Czechoslovakia were barred from the Munich negotiations by Hitler, and Chamberlain presented them with the loss of the Sudetenland as a fait accompli, warning the Czechoslovakian ministers that Britain and France would break the mutual defense treaty if they refused to sign away their territory."
The Wehrmacht high command was stunned at this turn of events. They knew, as did the British and the French, that they had forcibly removed the one great impediment to German ambitions in the East.
False. Czechoslovakia was NOT a "Great impediment". It was a small country of 15 million people made up of 7.5 Czechs, 3 million Germans who wanted to join Germany, 3 million Slovaks who wanted their own country & a couple million Poles, Hungarians, etc . The country had no modern air force. By comparison Germany had 70 million people and the largest, most modern air force in the world.
The mountains of Moravia and Bohemia presented a formidable natural defense against German invasion, and the Czechoslovakians had added modern military fortifications that would have stopped even a blitzkrieg cold,
False. Look at a map of Czech in 1938. Prague is only 100 miles from the German/Austrian border in 3 directions, north, south, and west. There were little or no fortifications on the Austrian border, which was over 100 miles long. The Czechs had no air force and were cut off from outside aid. The Czechs would have been overrun in a month just like the Poland was in Sept 39.
leaving Germany’s western frontier open to assault from the much larger French Army.l
False. The French had no plans of launching an assault on Germany's western border in Sept 38. They had no plans to do so in Sept 39. Their war plan against Germany in 1938-1939 never changed. The war plan called for France to mobilize, then remain on the defense behind the Maginot line, while Britain built up an Army in France, and the blockade weakened Nazi Germany.
And the French had almost no modern Air Force in Sept 38, they had a few modern planes in Sept 39, and still didn't have a modern air force capable of taking on the Luftwaffe in June 1940. The French Army wasn't "much larger". In any case, it wasn't large enough to have punched through the Siegfried Line in the fact of constant air attacks from the Luftwaffe. Also, note that Germany in fact had twice the manpower of France. 12 million men of military age vs. France's 6 million. In June 1940 Germans had 200 Divisions to the French 100 Divisions.
Any thought of stopping Hitler from within ended at Munich and didn’t seriously reappear until the senior German officers realized the war was lost after Normandy in 1944.
German officers tried several times to kill Hitler prior to July '44, and/or mount coups against him. After the war, the German High Command had every incentive to overplay their willingness to overthrow Hitler and to blame the Allies for their failure to do so. Given their incompetence in the '44 coup attempt, there is no reason they could have overthrown Hitler in Sept 38, or even tried to do so.
They had given the natural defense of eastern Europe away for a promise, thanks to politicians who dreamed of peace at any cost, and who sold Czechoslovakia out to get it. Six months later, the same two nations wouldn’t even lift a finger to protect the rump Czech state as Hitler rolled across it, preparing for his assault on Poland and eastern Europe.
False. Chamberlain allowed the Sudetenland with 2.5 million Germans to leave Czechoslovakia and become part of Germany. Its called self-determination. It corrected the mistake of 1919.
Hitler by conquering the Czechs in March 1939 and breaking his agreement, showed Chamberlain - and everyone else - that he was just another Pan-German imperialist and couldn't be trusted. When UK and France went to war in Sept 1939 they had the moral high ground, since everyone knew -based on Hitlers actions- that he wasn't interested in Danzig but in conquest.