Sudetenland Occupation

The Sudetenland is a historical region comprising areas of the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, in the vicinity of the Sudeten Mountains. Though mostly German speaking, following Word War I the treaty of St. Germain incorporated the area into the Czechoslovakian Republic. This had caused deep resentment in Germany, and a point of contention between Germany and Czechoslovakia. Throughout the 1930ís, economic troubles and unemployment drove many to the pro-German stance of Konrad Henlen and his cohorts, who founded the Sudeten German (Nazi) Party. In the summer of 1938, Hitler voiced support for the demands of the German population of the Sudentenland to be incorporated into the Reich. This grew to outright demand from Hitler to annex the area, and threatened war against the advice of his Generals who were sure Germany was not ready to stand up in a World War. Czechoslovakia mobilized, realizing that most of their fortifications and their natural barriers were on their borders and losing these would leave them defenseless.

It was under these circumstances that the Munich Conference was held. Present in Munich on September 29 were Neville Chamberlain (England), Eduard Daladier (France), Mussolini (Italy), as well as Hitler and Ribbentrop. Representatives of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union were not invited. The Conference lasted two days, fearing another war and in the most infamous case of appeasement, the Sudetenland was turned over to Germany. In the end, approximately 10,000 square miles and 3,500,000 persons joined the Reich. Chamberlain held the treaty upon reaching England and boasted that they had achieved "Peace in our time". On March 16 1939, Hitler was in Prague proclaiming that Czechoslovakia no longer existed.

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