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Sudetenland Essay

1009 words - 5 pages

Between the dates of 1 October, 1938 and 10 October, 1938 the northern and western border regions of Czechoslovakia, known as the Sudetenland, were ceded to the Third Reich of Germany via the Munich Agreement. The desire in France, the United Kingdom and Czechoslovakia to avoid war with Germany led to a policy of appeasement. Through a series of meetings a consensus was reached, led by Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which specified that Sudeten Germans had a legitimate complaint and Germany’s expansionistic intentions did not reach beyond the Sudetenland. That it was an attempt to avoid a second war with Germany is not in question; however, what is in question ...view middle of the document...

The United Kingdom only had nine. The preceding numbers alone are a recipe for disaster from a British point of view; furthermore, Britain had only made minimal efforts in increasing the size and readiness of its army despite the massive German rearmament program and its use during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1938). Frank McDonough writes, “In November of 1935 the DRC produced a secret report on the condition and requirements of Britain’s national defense. It concluded that Britain was not only incapable of defeating a combination of Germany, Italy and Japan in a future war, but incapable of defending its own cities from a German air attack.” Faced with a rearming and expansion minded Germany, as well as, a woefully unprepared military Neville Chamberlain and the British government chose the course of appeasement in the hopes that it would lead to a peaceful settlement.
While Britain chose to pursue an appeasement policy in regards to the Sudeten Crisis Edvard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia, on 19 May, 1938 began to mobilize his army. It is entirely possible that the Czech army could have defeated a German invasion in 1938. The Czech army was well trained and armed and would be fighting along a well-fortified border. In 1938 the Czechoslovak army “comprised 17 infantry and 4 mobile divisions. Full mobilizations yielded a further 17 reserve divisions giving a field army of 38 divisions.” The Czech had superior infantry numbers, as well as, better equipment especially when it came to armored warfare (tanks). Even within the British military the belief was that the Czechs could not only hold their own in a war with Germany but very well may win it. In September of 1938, Lieutenant Colonel Stronge, British Military Attaché, gave a brief on the readiness of the Czech army. “The Czech General Staff undoubtedly have a capacity for organization, and I do not expect any serious hitch in the process of rapid mobilization. For an army that is not absolutely at...

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