The Sudetenland Crisis and the Munich Agreement

Appeasement: when a country is unwilling to support or defend a policy and give into more demands to avoid war.

This policy was a policy of Britain and France in the 1930s which allowed Hitler to break the terms of the Treaty of Versailles as the gave into his demands to avoid war.

The Sudetenland Crisis

The 3 million German speakers who lived in the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia claimed that the Czech government was not treating them fairly. Hitler encouraged them to stir up trouble in Czechoslovakia and demand for them to be allowed to join with Germany.

The Czech leader, Edvard Benes, became concerned that Hitler would invade his country, so he asked Britain and France to support him if it came to war. However, they were reluctant to do so and Britain sent a politician to Czechoslovakia to recommend that certain parts be given to Germany.

British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, met with Hitler, declaring that the Czech government had agreed to give him certain parts of the Sudetenland. Hitler was unhappy with this settlement and demanded the whole of the Sudetenland. As Chamberlain refused, war seemed likely, so people in Britain began constructing air raid shelters.

The Munich Agreement

Mussolini helped to arrange a meeting, which became known as the Munich Agreement, between Britain, France and Germany in Munich in September 1938. It was agreed that Hitler be given the entire Sudetenland.

As Chamberlain returned to Britain, he was saluted as a hero as he was able to prevent war. German soldiers siezed the Sudetenland on October 1st 1938 with no shots fired.

Two days later, the Czech leader resigned.