Ya I mean Hitler ordered his troops to tuck tail and run if French Troops appeared when they took the Industrial areas taken by France at the end of the war.
I assume you are talking about the Rhineland in 1936. This was not ‘taken by France at the end of the war’. It was a demilitarised zone that was garrisoned by British and French troops as per the Treaty of Versailles. France and Britain had withdrawn troops in 1929/30 – before the time the treaty obliged them to do so in 1935. During the time the Versailles Treaty was being negotiated, upon signing, and then increasingly thereafter, there was sympathy for Germany and the harshness of the treaty. Yes French troops could have stepped in to oppose German troops entering sovereign German territory in 1936. But that would have been a move out of step with public opinion of German treatment under Versailles.
And Chamberlain NOT defending Czechoslovakia worked out so well for them too.
Britain had no treaty with the Czechs. France did – but Britain didn’t. Why do you believe Britain had an obligation to defend the Czechs? Remember you can’t use hindsight if you are to have a meaningful conversation. 1938 was not about defending Czechoslovakia, it was about the right of 3 million Germans to self-determination. (Remember, despite the high ideals of Wilson’s 14 points, 30 million Europeans found themselves under ‘foreign’ governments post WWI).
So let’s be crystal clear about the situation that faced Chamberlain here. The slaughterhouse that was WWI was still fresh in every sane politician’s mind in the 1930’s. Avoiding another war was pretty much top of every democratic politicians list – as was public opinion. Chamberlain had been told by the Dominions that they weren’t going to war over the Czechs. Against that backdrop there was, as mentioned, a strong feeling that Versailles was too harsh. There was a degree of sympathy for the German position.
So, had Britain gone to war in 1938 what would they have been going to war for? Britain is going to declare war on Germany because three million Germans want to be governed by a German Government. Yeah, that’s a reason for going to war that would have the backing of the general public isn’t it?
And the thing I find most distasteful about 1938 is the position of the German generals. So here is the story (and then try and put this in a modern context). We, the German people – and specifically our elected politicians have got ourselves a leader that many (but by no means all (see election results) of us realise was a massive mistake. So disastrous do we think this man will be for Germany, we in the German Army would like to get rid of him. But, we will only do so if the British and French take their people into yet another war on our behalf. And if you do we promise we’ll shoot him and mount a coup (honest!). And then, if you don’t go to war and the whole things goes tits up, we’ll blame the British and French while the German general staff are blameless. Pathetic - but then their actions and protestations before, during and after the war were in the same vein....
And of course his appeasement protected Poland as well, right?
You seem to be under the impression that it was Britain’s job to go around protecting everyone?? A Government’s first job is to protect the interests of its own people. The US Government decided to detach itself from what was going on in Europe for this reason. It did not want to send its young men over to die in a foreign field thousands of miles away. It had done that once and didn’t fancy another go. Public opinion and all that. Well public opinion was important in France and Britain too. Appeasement (right or wrong (and no hindsight allowed)) was designed for the purposes of stopping the outbreak of another ruinous war, while protecting the interests of the British and French by each Government.
If the governments of Czechoslovakia, the United Kingdom and France would have believed Stalin and trusted him to assist, then Germany could have been stopped.
Lets make the assumptions that for once the Soviets were telling the truth ... what would Poland have done if Britain had demanded they offered transit rights to say 2 Soviet divisions? So enough that any German invasion would have tangled with Soviet formations but not enough to be a domestic threat within Czechoslavakia?
Well the first quote ignores Poland (I'll look at the loki's point below). But more to the point, it’s important to keep in mind the reality of the time. Why would the western democracies believe Stalin? Governments were far more afraid of the Communist threat – not necessarily as a direct threat even, but because of the possibility of revolution. Just remember how bad the Great Depression – following on the heels of WWI – was. Getting involved in the Soviet Union was not something that appealed and as for trust……
So recently discovered documents suggest Stalin offered to send his armies to the German border to aid the Poles….
It’s interesting that many see Britain as wrong for their involvement in handing Czechoslovakia to Germany, but then seek to blame Britain for not handing Poland to the Soviet Union. There are three aspects here. Firstly, was such an offer genuine? I think that this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Why would this only just be discovered now? Why wouldn’t Stalin have been singing this from the rooftops post June 1941? And certainly post 1945, when the Soviets could effectively blame the West for everything that happened between 1941 and 1945?
The second aspect assumes the offer to be genuine. Given everything we know about the Soviet Union does it make sense that Stalin is going to offer this without a quid pro-quo (in the form of Polish territory)? Just look at the history of these two countries.
But the third aspect relates to the point already mentioned above. We have to look at this from the reality of the time. Let’s not forget the fear that Communism was going to spread its tentacles. I mean King George V left his cousin and his family to their, ultimately, tragic fate because of this fear. It was very real. And the possible consequences of any such Alliance need to be considered too. So what happens? Suppose a shooting war breaks out? Once again the Soviets are going to be in Berlin before the hapless French Army and the non-existent British Army. How palatable is that to the Western Democracies mulling over the options in 1938/9? But there is a suggestion that the Soviet presence can be limited to two divisions. This would still need Poland to trust the Soviets - and I don't think they would - but if they did, how would this work in the event of a shooting war? What use are two divisions? They are unlikely to co-operate with the Poles and are not a sufficient force to fight independently without air support, logisitics etc.
I think the feelers put out to the USSR by the British and French were just that. Now of course, if the offer was genuine, if Uncle Joe had no designs on Poland and would have retreated back to their borders once Germany were ‘sorted’ (all of which could never be known) then this is another reason, with hindsight, to say that Chamberlain was wrong. But we are dealing with what was known or thought was known.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 8/18/2019 1:07:05 AM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805