For those of you old enough to remember the cause leading up to World War II, you will remember it was the “blitzkrieg war” invasion of Poland by Hitler on September 1, 1939.
For those of you not old enough to know, or those who slept through history classes, let me give you a brief account of the underlying documented situations which led up to the sudden and unprovoked invasion of Poland on that September morning in 1939.
It was “appeasement” on the part of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the leaders of France and Italy. Some grade school kids may recognize this as situations like “Give me your lunch money, kid, and I promise I (bully kid!) won’t bother you anymore,”… only to have the same or similar situations go on and on with greater catastrophes!
With countries, “appeasement” is a diplomatic policy of granting political, material, or territorial concessions to an aggressive power (bully!) in order to avoid conflict (repercussions on a “weaker nation!). Such is the current situation between Russia (bully!) and Ukraine (“little kid being picked on”!).
The Munich Agreement of Sept. 30, 1938 was supposed to prevent Hitler and the Nazi War Machine from any incursion into Czechoslovakia if Czechoslovakia “gave up” the Sudentenland region to Germany. The Sudentenland is an area where more than 3 million people, mainly ethnic Germans, lived. The Sudentenland had been recognized as a natural border between the Czech and the German states since the early Middle Ages. It provided a natural obstacle from any possible German attack. The Sudentland was of absolute strategic importance to Czechoslovakia!
Germany had started a “low intensity” (“minor incursion” where have we heard that phrase, recently?!) of Czechoslovakia on Sept. 17, 1938. Great Britain and France, which had “alliances,” or “security pacts” with Czechoslovakia, did an “about-face” on those agreements, and formally asked Czechoslovakia to “give up” its territory to Hitler which was followed by Poland (Sept. 21, 1938) and Hungary (Sept. 22, 1938) subsequently giving up some of their territory, also.
The Munich Agreement of Sept. 29-30, 1938 was quickly and peacefully reached on Hitler’s terms, and signed by the Fascist and Nazi leaders of Italy and Germany and the leaders of Great Britain and France. British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, claimed that this agreement promoted “peace for our time” on Sept. 30, 1938. Hitler invaded Poland less than a year later on Sept. 1, 1939 in a “blitzkrieg-type-war” or “lightning war” which culminated 35 days later (Sept. 1, 1939 – Oct. 6, 1939) with the surrender of Poland. Great Britain and France immediately declared war on Germany starting World War II.
The Munich Agreement of Sept., 1938 is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement, and has become a byword for the futility of appeasing expansionist totalitarian states.
To those living in some countries of Eastern Europe, the Munich Agreement of 1938 has become known as The Munich Betrayal because it allowed Germany and the Third Reich to quickly and peacefully take over Czechoslovakia’s borderlands. It was supposed to be Hitler’s last territorial claim in Europe in order to promote peace. As you can see, this didn’t stop Hitler’s appetite for more territory and greater power. It just delayed the inevitable!
Today, nearly a century later, we have a “bully” in Russia under the reign of Putin. He has slowly and steadily regained control of former Soviet states which claimed their independence after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Left unchecked, he will gobble up Eastern Europe, and create another Russian Empire! Former President Ronald Reagan and former Pope John Paul, II must be turning in their graves! Former members of the Polish Solidarity Union must be trembling! These three were the key players in crumbling the walls of the former Soviet Empire!
While Putin may become the Hitler of the 21st century, Biden is certainly the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st Century by his appeasement to Putin of the Nord Stream Pipeline (a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea providing Germany and all of Europe with Russian natural gas, thus enriching Putin with enough money to wage war upon his neighbors as Hitler did less than a century ago!) and not reinforcing our NATO Allies with American military might sooner.
Let’s hope and pray history doesn’t repeat itself!
Nick De Mayo
Sugar Hill, NH