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RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing?

 
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RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 4:39:12 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.

I would claim that it is hard to prove that appeasement doesn't work, because when it works it isn't remembered. If it works then there is no war to prove its failure. How do you rate the reasons for a war that never happened?

Maybe the Cuba Crisis can be seen as a success of appeasement?


I don't consider the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis as appeasement. Since Fidel Castro wanted to initiate a Thermonuclear War with the United States, the Soviets did not want to be involved with that. Then there was an agreement about nuclear weapons in the NATO and western Warsaw Pact area. Both sides got things that they wanted and not just a peace of paper with a promise written on it.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Orm)
Post #: 61
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 6:53:54 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and territory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time the average Joe in the street came to the realisation, beyond doubt, that only war would stop Hitler.


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 9/16/2019 5:34:04 AM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 62
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 7:02:39 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

As an alternate question, how about this.

As so many times before, a smaller European nation found out it was becoming a playing piece among the major powers of Europe. For Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was not consulted. How about if they would have flatly refused? With no good options, just bad and worse options, what if - with the realisation that their country will become undefendable - they would have read the omens and decided to stand out, even alone if necessary? Would Hitler have attacked regardless? If so, would it have played out any differently? Compared to what happened, where Czeckoslovakia was dissolved in a relatively short time frame. Similar fates to Baltic states under the threats from USSR, mind. Appeasement did not work out that well for them either.

Again, Finland provides an alternate example, as she refused the USSR demands that would have made the country undefendable. To this day, some, but not many, Finnish politicians and historians (I leave their political views out of this discussion as politics are not to be discussed here) are of the mind that Winter War could have been avoided if only Stalln would have got his initial demands instead. Yet, Finland only survived the Winter War because of a set of more or less extraordinary events, but it all started from decision to stand up.

If Czechoslovakia would have decided to fight instead, would the anti-Hitler alliances formed out quicker, would there ever been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ...

Again, Chamberlain hardly is the villain here. I know that is not what the OP asks, or hints, but worth writing down perhaps.
warspite1

Please see post 50 for my thoughts. We know Hitler would have ordered Case Green - what every country (and the plotters amongst the German General Staff) does after that? Who knows? As said would the Czechs beat off the Germans? Would they quickly succumb? or what? And without knowing that its all just so much guess work.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 63
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 7:20:54 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

As an alternate question, how about this.

As so many times before, a smaller European nation found out it was becoming a playing piece among the major powers of Europe. For Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was not consulted. How about if they would have flatly refused? With no good options, just bad and worse options, what if - with the realisation that their country will become undefendable - they would have read the omens and decided to stand out, even alone if necessary? Would Hitler have attacked regardless? If so, would it have played out any differently? Compared to what happened, where Czeckoslovakia was dissolved in a relatively short time frame. Similar fates to Baltic states under the threats from USSR, mind. Appeasement did not work out that well for them either.

Again, Finland provides an alternate example, as she refused the USSR demands that would have made the country undefendable. To this day, some, but not many, Finnish politicians and historians (I leave their political views out of this discussion as politics are not to be discussed here) are of the mind that Winter War could have been avoided if only Stalln would have got his initial demands instead. Yet, Finland only survived the Winter War because of a set of more or less extraordinary events, but it all started from decision to stand up.

If Czechoslovakia would have decided to fight instead, would the anti-Hitler alliances formed out quicker, would there ever been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ...

Again, Chamberlain hardly is the villain here. I know that is not what the OP asks, or hints, but worth writing down perhaps.
warspite1

Please see post 50 for my thoughts. We know Hitler would have ordered Case Green - what every country (and the plotters amongst the German General Staff) does after that? Who knows? As said would the Czechs beat off the Germans? Would they quickly succumb? or what? And without knowing that its all just so much guess work.



I smell a wargame - or at least a scenario!

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 64
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 7:24:14 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 65
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 7:39:38 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.
warspite1

Ultimately by the time of WWII the treaty had long since had a coach and horses driven through it.

But re your proposal when would that have happened? and when were 'saner heads' in position in Germany, Britain and France?

The 20's is too soon after the war so that is unlikely to be in any way acceptable to the French - then the Great Depression probably isn't the time for countries to start thinking about others. As for US involvement why would they get involved? Their policy is isolationism.

BUT even if they do, what is the basis for the talks?

Right, we are going to talk about amending the treaty and this will take ages - but while we do, all parts of the treaty remain in place and will be backed up force - even though the fact we are having this conversation means that we don't think its fair and needs to be revised. And, more importantly, because we think that way, we (the western powers) have proved we no longer have the political will to see the treaty provision through, so Germany, if you did want to unilaterally repudiate any of them while we waffle on - you know, like the Rhineland or the Anschluss then just go ahead.....

And then, having re-opened all these wounds, what is to stop Germany simply saying nah anyway? And this time when they say nah, the western powers have lost their ability for all intents and purposes, to continue with the status quo. And if the treaty - as it affects Germany - is going to be re-opened, then what about other countries that got a raw deal.

AND if all this happens before Hitler comes to power, he's not going to be satisfied anyway so Europe is in the same mess anyway..... The argument of course is that you give Germany all she wants to avoid a Hitler type character from coming to the fore. But where does that line get drawn and who agrees to that?

And isn't that appeasement anyway - just in a different guise?




< Message edited by warspite1 -- 9/15/2019 7:45:43 PM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 66
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/15/2019 8:55:51 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.
warspite1

Ultimately by the time of WWII the treaty had long since had a coach and horses driven through it.

But re your proposal when would that have happened? and when were 'saner heads' in position in Germany, Britain and France?

The 20's is too soon after the war so that is unlikely to be in any way acceptable to the French - then the Great Depression probably isn't the time for countries to start thinking about others. As for US involvement why would they get involved? Their policy is isolationism.

BUT even if they do, what is the basis for the talks?

Right, we are going to talk about amending the treaty and this will take ages - but while we do, all parts of the treaty remain in place and will be backed up force - even though the fact we are having this conversation means that we don't think its fair and needs to be revised. And, more importantly, because we think that way, we (the western powers) have proved we no longer have the political will to see the treaty provision through, so Germany, if you did want to unilaterally repudiate any of them while we waffle on - you know, like the Rhineland or the Anschluss then just go ahead.....

And then, having re-opened all these wounds, what is to stop Germany simply saying nah anyway? And this time when they say nah, the western powers have lost their ability for all intents and purposes, to continue with the status quo. And if the treaty - as it affects Germany - is going to be re-opened, then what about other countries that got a raw deal.

AND if all this happens before Hitler comes to power, he's not going to be satisfied anyway so Europe is in the same mess anyway..... The argument of course is that you give Germany all she wants to avoid a Hitler type character from coming to the fore. But where does that line get drawn and who agrees to that?

And isn't that appeasement anyway - just in a different guise?





By the late 1920s, people were seeing the problems. Chamberlain was in the government since 1930, I believe, and one reason why the United Kingdom did not spend that much on their military was the Treaty of Versaille. By this time the NSDAP was a force in German politics and part of the reason why the NSDAP got so many votes was the NSDAP leader's book. So before Hitler became Chancellor, there was at least two years to renegotiate the treaty.

But that is not appeasement, that is righting a wrong (or many wrongs) in the Treatyof Versaille plus all of the secret provisions of other treaties among the western Allies - which included Italy.

One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights.

Inviting Poland and the USSR might also have helped the people in the East as well.

But that is all hindsight. I could include more about the lessons learned but that would bring us to the present, so I won't.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 67
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 5:04:43 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.
warspite1

Ultimately by the time of WWII the treaty had long since had a coach and horses driven through it.

But re your proposal when would that have happened? and when were 'saner heads' in position in Germany, Britain and France?

The 20's is too soon after the war so that is unlikely to be in any way acceptable to the French - then the Great Depression probably isn't the time for countries to start thinking about others. As for US involvement why would they get involved? Their policy is isolationism.

BUT even if they do, what is the basis for the talks?

Right, we are going to talk about amending the treaty and this will take ages - but while we do, all parts of the treaty remain in place and will be backed up force - even though the fact we are having this conversation means that we don't think its fair and needs to be revised. And, more importantly, because we think that way, we (the western powers) have proved we no longer have the political will to see the treaty provision through, so Germany, if you did want to unilaterally repudiate any of them while we waffle on - you know, like the Rhineland or the Anschluss then just go ahead.....

And then, having re-opened all these wounds, what is to stop Germany simply saying nah anyway? And this time when they say nah, the western powers have lost their ability for all intents and purposes, to continue with the status quo. And if the treaty - as it affects Germany - is going to be re-opened, then what about other countries that got a raw deal.

AND if all this happens before Hitler comes to power, he's not going to be satisfied anyway so Europe is in the same mess anyway..... The argument of course is that you give Germany all she wants to avoid a Hitler type character from coming to the fore. But where does that line get drawn and who agrees to that?

And isn't that appeasement anyway - just in a different guise?





By the late 1920s, people were seeing the problems. Chamberlain was in the government since 1930, I believe, and one reason why the United Kingdom did not spend that much on their military was the Treaty of Versaille. By this time the NSDAP was a force in German politics and part of the reason why the NSDAP got so many votes was the NSDAP leader's book. So before Hitler became Chancellor, there was at least two years to renegotiate the treaty.

But that is not appeasement, that is righting a wrong (or many wrongs) in the Treatyof Versaille plus all of the secret provisions of other treaties among the western Allies - which included Italy.

One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights.

Inviting Poland and the USSR might also have helped the people in the East as well.

But that is all hindsight. I could include more about the lessons learned but that would bring us to the present, so I won't.
warspite1

But what was appeasement? What did a policy of appeasement actually mean? Appeasement was (in very large part) 'righting the wrongs of Versailles'. So amending Versailles in a way that would be satisfactory to the German people would be appeasement. Think about it - what would ordinary Germans want to amend?

Well how about having unfettered access to their own territory? Like the Rhineland.
How about the option of joining together with Austria? Like the Anschluss.
How about the right to have proper sized armed forces for the size of the country like any self respecting sovereign nation? Like removing the 100,000 limit on the army, no air force and limiting the navy to a coastal defence force.
How about giving ethnic Germans the right of self-determination? Like incorporating parts of Czechoslovakia into Germany.

And I say again, if Germany gets that treatment then what about the others that felt aggrieved at Versailles? There were over 30 million people in Europe alone that were living in 'foreign lands'. Why should Germans be so different? What about the Italians, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Chinese, Turks, Bulgarians etc. etc.

Holding a plebiscite is not a magic answer. Imagine. Benes is told that the Sudeten Germans will have a plebiscite. With the population of that area majority German there is only one outcome. And taking the Sudetenland from Czech removes skilled workers and industry. Benes wouldn't agree - and nor would any country where the territory involved were important for strategic reasons.

And you mention having minority ethnic populations rights protected? Well that is what Versailles set out to do. But what seems simple in practice (and this didn't seem simple by any means) is not so easy in reality. Not to mention that these laws did not exist for all. Romanians for example asked why there should be protections for those living within their borders, but the US gave no such rights to its black population - and there were many, many such contradictions and inconsistencies - nations with Empires for one.

And how does Versailles 2.0 work? Who runs it? The League of Nations? Well (depending on when its started) there are some pretty big names missing off the list of attendees - names that will need to be on there if this thing is going to be workable.

Who chairs the commission? Who decides what is and isn't fair? Those at the original conference did their best but they couldn't decide at Versailles 1.0 in a way that satisfied everyone - so what is going to be different this time? How are decisions enforced on a country that simply says no (or doesn't show up)?



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 9/16/2019 5:37:25 AM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 68
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 6:05:54 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

By the late 1920s, people were seeing the problems. Chamberlain was in the government since 1930, I believe, and one reason why the United Kingdom did not spend that much on their military was the Treaty of Versaille. By this time the NSDAP was a force in German politics and part of the reason why the NSDAP got so many votes was the NSDAP leader's book. So before Hitler became Chancellor, there was at least two years to renegotiate the treaty.

warspite1

Just to pick up on one other point. The Nazis were a force in German politics yes, but there was no reason to believe that a) they would ever get into power (they were never the majority party) b) that Hitler would become Chancellor (look at the absurdity that got him there) and c) that even if he did, he was going to be and act the way he did. That is far too much crystal ball gazing. That is trying to fit a perfect time into doing something (even assuming that it was possible which I personally don't think it was) by back solving a problem.

But let's assume this Versailles 2.0 is underway in the late 20's/early 30's - who do you think would be barracking from the background and whipping up the German people every time the commission refuses to meet a German request? And how outlandish are those requests to become during the process? And when not met and Germany continues to feel (through a grateful Hitler) that they've been robbed?.......



_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 69
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 1:37:24 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.
warspite1

Ultimately by the time of WWII the treaty had long since had a coach and horses driven through it.

But re your proposal when would that have happened? and when were 'saner heads' in position in Germany, Britain and France?

The 20's is too soon after the war so that is unlikely to be in any way acceptable to the French - then the Great Depression probably isn't the time for countries to start thinking about others. As for US involvement why would they get involved? Their policy is isolationism.

BUT even if they do, what is the basis for the talks?

Right, we are going to talk about amending the treaty and this will take ages - but while we do, all parts of the treaty remain in place and will be backed up force - even though the fact we are having this conversation means that we don't think its fair and needs to be revised. And, more importantly, because we think that way, we (the western powers) have proved we no longer have the political will to see the treaty provision through, so Germany, if you did want to unilaterally repudiate any of them while we waffle on - you know, like the Rhineland or the Anschluss then just go ahead.....

And then, having re-opened all these wounds, what is to stop Germany simply saying nah anyway? And this time when they say nah, the western powers have lost their ability for all intents and purposes, to continue with the status quo. And if the treaty - as it affects Germany - is going to be re-opened, then what about other countries that got a raw deal.

AND if all this happens before Hitler comes to power, he's not going to be satisfied anyway so Europe is in the same mess anyway..... The argument of course is that you give Germany all she wants to avoid a Hitler type character from coming to the fore. But where does that line get drawn and who agrees to that?

And isn't that appeasement anyway - just in a different guise?





By the late 1920s, people were seeing the problems. Chamberlain was in the government since 1930, I believe, and one reason why the United Kingdom did not spend that much on their military was the Treaty of Versaille. By this time the NSDAP was a force in German politics and part of the reason why the NSDAP got so many votes was the NSDAP leader's book. So before Hitler became Chancellor, there was at least two years to renegotiate the treaty.

But that is not appeasement, that is righting a wrong (or many wrongs) in the Treaty of Versaille plus all of the secret provisions of other treaties among the western Allies - which included Italy.

One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights.

Inviting Poland and the USSR might also have helped the people in the East as well.

But that is all hindsight. I could include more about the lessons learned but that would bring us to the present, so I won't.
warspite1

But what was appeasement? What did a policy of appeasement actually mean? Appeasement was (in very large part) 'righting the wrongs of Versailles'. So amending Versailles in a way that would be satisfactory to the German people would be appeasement. Think about it - what would ordinary Germans want to amend?

Well how about having unfettered access to their own territory? Like the Rhineland.
Yes, or maybe a demilitarized zone along borders unless the countries have a separate agreement such as an alliance. Much like the East-West German border area where the West German Army did not go to while in uniform.
How about the option of joining together with Austria? Like the Anschluss.
If Germany wanted it and Austria wanted it.
How about the right to have proper sized armed forces for the size of the country like any self respecting sovereign nation? Like removing the 100,000 limit on the army, no air force and limiting the navy to a coastal defence force.
Yes, with inclusions in Treaties like the Washington Naval Treaty.
How about giving ethnic Germans the right of self-determination? Like incorporating parts of Czechoslovakia into Germany.
already answered:
One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights./color]
But it would also have to be approved by the countries involved and Czechoslovakia would have to approve it as well.

And I say again, if Germany gets that treatment then what about the others that felt aggrieved at Versailles? There were over 30 million people in Europe alone that were living in 'foreign lands'. Why should Germans be so different? What about the Italians, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Chinese, Turks, Bulgarians etc. etc.
already answered:
One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights./color]

Holding a plebiscite is not a magic answer. Imagine. Benes is told that the Sudeten Germans will have a plebiscite. With the population of that area majority German there is only one outcome. And taking the Sudetenland from Czech removes skilled workers and industry. Benes wouldn't agree - and nor would any country where the territory involved were important for strategic reasons.
Much of the agitation within the Sudetenland Germans was because of oppression, with their rights to their language and such protected, they would have had fewer legitimate complaints. If they still did not like living there, relocation would have been an option. Plus, the Sudetenland was historically part of Bohemia.

And you mention having minority ethnic populations rights protected? Well that is what Versailles set out to do. But what seems simple in practice (and this didn't seem simple by any means) is not so easy in reality. Not to mention that these laws did not exist for all. Romanians for example asked why there should be protections for those living within their borders, but the US gave no such rights to its black population - and there were many, many such contradictions and inconsistencies - nations with Empires for one.
No country is perfect. But there could be a commission to handle complaints. As far as the US is concerned, it did work itself out. It is still not perfect, but it is better than before.

And how does Versailles 2.0 work? Who runs it? The League of Nations? Well (depending on when its started) there are some pretty big names missing off the list of attendees - names that will need to be on there if this thing is going to be workable.
It is true that later in the 1930s that some countries left the League of Nations, but if it started in 1930, then the League was still intact - such as it was. The United Stated and other countries concerned would be invited. No country would be forced to attend, but if any country did not participate then that country would not benefit.

Who chairs the commission? Who decides what is and isn't fair? Those at the original conference did their best but they couldn't decide at Versailles 1.0 in a way that satisfied everyone - so what is going to be different this time? How are decisions enforced on a country that simply says no (or doesn't show up)?
A Neutral country such as the US, Switzerland, or one of the Scandinavian countries could be asked. The diplomats at such a conference would decide what is fair and act in accordence with the instructions of their respective governments. The League of Nations could also vote. The original Treaty of Versaille was imposed on Germany which was in such a state of turmoil that the nation was forced to accept it. So if Germany said no or did not show up, they get nothing. Plus an alliance of some sort to aid any country acting in accordance with the new treaty against an aggressor could be part of the treaty. The aid need not be military but could be economic, financial, diplomatic, et cetera.



This is getting to be long winded and I am not a blood sucking creature so I am not used to it. I could get into more but that is getting too close to the present . . .

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 70
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 7:29:51 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

A lesson to be learned is that appeasement does not work. Another lesson is that maybe war should not be considered a last resort. Those are sad lessons to be learned at such high a cost.
warspite1

I would have to disagree - there are times it works and times it doesn't. As Orm says, when it works its taken for granted - but no one knows the scale of war it has averted.

WWII doesn't teach us that appeasement doesn't work generally, because of the circumstances pertaining to that specific situation. It simply confirms that with hindsight it was wrong on that occasion. But that without hindsight - and given the experience of 1914-18 - it was right to try.

When one considers the lengths that the western powers went to placate Germany and 'right Versailles', a sane 'normal' politician would have taken the numerous benefits on offer. But Hitler was not sane, he was not normal, and tervritory, prestige, colonies, trade agreements and economic success - these weren't what interested him.

How many times in history is it said "If only x hadn't acted so rashly, or if only y had sought a peaceful solution". One thing history does show is that war and violence are so very often not the way.

I think because of its very nature, war should always be what is considered the last practical resort. But let's not re-write history, war wasn't the last resort in September 1939. Britain and France could have allowed Poland to be swallowed up too - and that would have been unforgivable. Why? Because Hitler had shown (after Prague) that he definitely wasn't going to compromise and when he said "I have no further territorial ambition in Europe" that was a lie. So one could argue that war was chosen the first time Hitler have the average Joe in the street the realisation beyond doubt that only war would stop Hitler.



A better solution may have been to rewrite the Treaty of Versaille when saner heads were in power. In my opinion, that would have been better than allowing one or more countries to violate the treaty with no repercussions. Discussions with the United States may have gotten the US involved, even though the US had a separate treaty with Germany instead of the Treaty of Versaille.
warspite1

Ultimately by the time of WWII the treaty had long since had a coach and horses driven through it.

But re your proposal when would that have happened? and when were 'saner heads' in position in Germany, Britain and France?

The 20's is too soon after the war so that is unlikely to be in any way acceptable to the French - then the Great Depression probably isn't the time for countries to start thinking about others. As for US involvement why would they get involved? Their policy is isolationism.

BUT even if they do, what is the basis for the talks?

Right, we are going to talk about amending the treaty and this will take ages - but while we do, all parts of the treaty remain in place and will be backed up force - even though the fact we are having this conversation means that we don't think its fair and needs to be revised. And, more importantly, because we think that way, we (the western powers) have proved we no longer have the political will to see the treaty provision through, so Germany, if you did want to unilaterally repudiate any of them while we waffle on - you know, like the Rhineland or the Anschluss then just go ahead.....

And then, having re-opened all these wounds, what is to stop Germany simply saying nah anyway? And this time when they say nah, the western powers have lost their ability for all intents and purposes, to continue with the status quo. And if the treaty - as it affects Germany - is going to be re-opened, then what about other countries that got a raw deal.

AND if all this happens before Hitler comes to power, he's not going to be satisfied anyway so Europe is in the same mess anyway..... The argument of course is that you give Germany all she wants to avoid a Hitler type character from coming to the fore. But where does that line get drawn and who agrees to that?

And isn't that appeasement anyway - just in a different guise?





By the late 1920s, people were seeing the problems. Chamberlain was in the government since 1930, I believe, and one reason why the United Kingdom did not spend that much on their military was the Treaty of Versaille. By this time the NSDAP was a force in German politics and part of the reason why the NSDAP got so many votes was the NSDAP leader's book. So before Hitler became Chancellor, there was at least two years to renegotiate the treaty.

But that is not appeasement, that is righting a wrong (or many wrongs) in the Treaty of Versaille plus all of the secret provisions of other treaties among the western Allies - which included Italy.

One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights.

Inviting Poland and the USSR might also have helped the people in the East as well.

But that is all hindsight. I could include more about the lessons learned but that would bring us to the present, so I won't.
warspite1

But what was appeasement? What did a policy of appeasement actually mean? Appeasement was (in very large part) 'righting the wrongs of Versailles'. So amending Versailles in a way that would be satisfactory to the German people would be appeasement. Think about it - what would ordinary Germans want to amend?

Well how about having unfettered access to their own territory? Like the Rhineland.
Yes, or maybe a demilitarized zone along borders unless the countries have a separate agreement such as an alliance. Much like the East-West German border area where the West German Army did not go to while in uniform.
But what reason is there to believe that Germany (sans Hitler) would be any more interested in maintaining the de-militiarised status of the Rhineland? They want their borders back. If the commission agrees then its appeasement - if they refuse then I suspect Germany will be unhappy (as will Hitler waiting in the wings - or more realistically he will be very happy at this development)

How about the option of joining together with Austria? Like the Anschluss.
If Germany wanted it and Austria wanted it.
So appeasement then because it weakens Versailles

How about the right to have proper sized armed forces for the size of the country like any self respecting sovereign nation? Like removing the 100,000 limit on the army, no air force and limiting the navy to a coastal defence force.
Yes, with inclusions in Treaties like the Washington Naval Treaty.
So appeasement then because it weakens Versailles

How about giving ethnic Germans the right of self-determination? Like incorporating parts of Czechoslovakia into Germany.
already answered:
One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights./color]
But it would also have to be approved by the countries involved and Czechoslovakia would have to approve it as well.
But this is the whole point. The Czechs wouldn't approve it - until they were given no choice by the British and French - and had they still held out then Hitler would have declared war.

And I say again, if Germany gets that treatment then what about the others that felt aggrieved at Versailles? There were over 30 million people in Europe alone that were living in 'foreign lands'. Why should Germans be so different? What about the Italians, Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Chinese, Turks, Bulgarians etc. etc.
already answered:
One thing for the territorial transfers would have been either a plebiscite for contested areas, with provisions for compensation if people wanted to relocate and/or provisions in the new treaty for ethnic minority rights./color]
So this commission is going to re-visit every contested area on the globe?

Holding a plebiscite is not a magic answer. Imagine. Benes is told that the Sudeten Germans will have a plebiscite. With the population of that area majority German there is only one outcome. And taking the Sudetenland from Czech removes skilled workers and industry. Benes wouldn't agree - and nor would any country where the territory involved were important for strategic reasons.
Much of the agitation within the Sudetenland Germans was because of oppression, with their rights to their language and such protected, they would have had fewer legitimate complaints. If they still did not like living there, relocation would have been an option. Plus, the Sudetenland was historically part of Bohemia.
What is this commission going to do to protect rights of minorities that Versailles 1.0 could not do? And are we really falling for the oppressed minority spin doctoring?

And you mention having minority ethnic populations rights protected? Well that is what Versailles set out to do. But what seems simple in practice (and this didn't seem simple by any means) is not so easy in reality. Not to mention that these laws did not exist for all. Romanians for example asked why there should be protections for those living within their borders, but the US gave no such rights to its black population - and there were many, many such contradictions and inconsistencies - nations with Empires for one.
No country is perfect. But there could be a commission to handle complaints. As far as the US is concerned, it did work itself out. It is still not perfect, but it is better than before.
What complaints is any commission going to handle? I suggest Washington, Paris and London will tell the commission where it can go if they suggest they can tell those capitals how to run their country....

And how does Versailles 2.0 work? Who runs it? The League of Nations? Well (depending on when its started) there are some pretty big names missing off the list of attendees - names that will need to be on there if this thing is going to be workable.
It is true that later in the 1930s that some countries left the League of Nations, but if it started in 1930, then the League was still intact - such as it was. The United Stated and other countries concerned would be invited. No country would be forced to attend, but if any country did not participate then that country would not benefit.
As the League of Nations showed, unless there is proper buy in from everyone then the League is a toothless tiger.

Who chairs the commission? Who decides what is and isn't fair? Those at the original conference did their best but they couldn't decide at Versailles 1.0 in a way that satisfied everyone - so what is going to be different this time? How are decisions enforced on a country that simply says no (or doesn't show up)?
A Neutral country such as the US, Switzerland, or one of the Scandinavian countries could be asked. The diplomats at such a conference would decide what is fair and act in accordence with the instructions of their respective governments. The League of Nations could also vote. The original Treaty of Versaille was imposed on Germany which was in such a state of turmoil that the nation was forced to accept it. So if Germany said no or did not show up, they get nothing. Plus an alliance of some sort to aid any country acting in accordance with the new treaty against an aggressor could be part of the treaty. The aid need not be military but could be economic, financial, diplomatic, et cetera.
So a bunch of Swiss diplomats (for example) are going to opine on (and be expected to be listened to) a border dispute between Romania and the Soviet Union.... so on what basis does this get resolved and who is going to enforce anything?



This is getting to be long winded and I am not a blood sucking creature so I am not used to it. I could get into more but that is getting too close to the present . . .
warspite1

I'll top your blue with a shocking red


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 9/16/2019 7:33:13 PM >


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(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 71
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 10:26:22 PM   
RangerJoe


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Well, the unification of Austria with Germany was actually up to an approving vote in the League of Nations.

The Treaty of Versaille actually was just the Allied Powers (less the United States) and Germany.

The Treaty of Saint Germain was with Austria and the Allied Powers.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Saint-Germain

It had problems as well.

< Message edited by RangerJoe -- 9/16/2019 11:20:12 PM >


_____________________________

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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 72
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/16/2019 11:06:49 PM   
philabos

 

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For those of you who did not watch the video, the final vote from the audience was actually quite close.
Not everyone has 90 minutes to devote to watching this, however I can guarantee it will beat anything else on your screen tonight.
I found myself agreeing with all four as they spoke, strange as that may seem.
Lots of humor thrown in as well.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 73
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 3:58:43 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

Well, the unification of Austria with Germany was actually up to an approving vote in the League of Nations.

warspite1

Exactly. And because voting had to be unanimous the French could block it. So much for the right of self determination....

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

The Treaty of Versaille actually was just the Allied Powers (less the United States) and Germany.

The Treaty of Saint Germain was with Austria and the Allied Powers.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Saint-Germain

It had problems as well.

warspite1

Indeed. Versailles was specifically about Germany but was only part of the wider peace conference - and I am as guilty as the next person for calling the wider peace conference by the misnomer Versailles. But the point is, if Germany get their treaty re-visited (particularly re the borders issue) then why not everyone else?


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 9/17/2019 5:30:20 AM >


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Post #: 74
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 3:59:27 AM   
warspite1


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Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
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quote:

ORIGINAL: philabos

For those of you who did not watch the video, the final vote from the audience was actually quite close.
Not everyone has 90 minutes to devote to watching this, however I can guarantee it will beat anything else on your screen tonight.
I found myself agreeing with all four as they spoke, strange as that may seem.
Lots of humor thrown in as well.
warspite1

+1


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Post #: 75
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 6:53:31 AM   
RangerJoe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

Well, the unification of Austria with Germany was actually up to an approving vote in the League of Nations.

warspite1

Exactly. And because voting had to be unanimous the French could block it. So much for the right of self determination....

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

The Treaty of Versaille actually was just the Allied Powers (less the United States) and Germany.

The Treaty of Saint Germain was with Austria and the Allied Powers.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Saint-Germain

It had problems as well.

warspite1

Indeed. Versailles was specifically about Germany but was only part of the wider peace conference - and I am as guilty as the next person for calling the wider peace conference by the misnomer Versailles. But the point is, if Germany get their treaty re-visited (particularly re the borders issue) then why not everyone else?



Why not? If it would have helped to bring reduced tensions and peace.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 76
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 4:57:07 PM   
Crossroads


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

As an alternate question, how about this.

As so many times before, a smaller European nation found out it was becoming a playing piece among the major powers of Europe. For Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was not consulted. How about if they would have flatly refused? With no good options, just bad and worse options, what if - with the realisation that their country will become undefendable - they would have read the omens and decided to stand out, even alone if necessary? Would Hitler have attacked regardless? If so, would it have played out any differently? Compared to what happened, where Czeckoslovakia was dissolved in a relatively short time frame. Similar fates to Baltic states under the threats from USSR, mind. Appeasement did not work out that well for them either.

Again, Finland provides an alternate example, as she refused the USSR demands that would have made the country undefendable. To this day, some, but not many, Finnish politicians and historians (I leave their political views out of this discussion as politics are not to be discussed here) are of the mind that Winter War could have been avoided if only Stalln would have got his initial demands instead. Yet, Finland only survived the Winter War because of a set of more or less extraordinary events, but it all started from decision to stand up.

If Czechoslovakia would have decided to fight instead, would the anti-Hitler alliances formed out quicker, would there ever been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ...

Again, Chamberlain hardly is the villain here. I know that is not what the OP asks, or hints, but worth writing down perhaps.
warspite1

Please see post 50 for my thoughts. We know Hitler would have ordered Case Green - what every country (and the plotters amongst the German General Staff) does after that? Who knows? As said would the Czechs beat off the Germans? Would they quickly succumb? or what? And without knowing that its all just so much guess work.


To continue this off-tangent, I did read your posts, also I did watch the video first. Which was excellent and quite interesting while at it. Again, the original quesion is a most intriguing one: Did Chamberlain do the right thing? I went back and worth on my own though process, not between "yes" or "no", but "yes" and "I don't know". Hindsight not allowed, I could not conclude he did the wrong thing, per se. Sudetenland and 1938 was not "it", imho.

I do agree with the panelist that 1935 and Abessinia was a missed opportunity. The Navy could have so easily kept Mussolini at bay, showing a strong deterrence, and indeed, showing the UK politicians "are not eunuchs". That in mind, in 1940-1941 the Italian embargo did play a strong role in Mussolini choosing Hitler. That, and of course the fact Hitler's Germany had humiliated everyone and appeared all-powerful and non-stoppable.

As for the Munich Agreement, with no hindsight, and keeping in mind it was about 3 million Germans joining Germany proper, i don't see how the public would have agreed to go to war against Germany on those premises. Nor was Anscluss, either. It is such a devilish dilemma with 20/20 hindsight though, as those two annexations left Germany so much stronger.

Which brings me back to my question, or rather pointing my finger at Czechoslovakia instead. Reverting to old bacon-and-eggs joke, and how the chicken participated in preparing breakfast, the pig committed. Yes, Chamberlain participated (strongly) in Munich negotiations, but Czechoslovakia committed to it. If indeed the Sudetenland had her best defences there, the question in black and white was: does she give them up, or does she keep them? Czechoslovakia went with it, with a terrible price, while Hitler received quite an inventory of war material and factories for his use.

So in my mind, it was not Chamberlain, it was the Czechoslovakian government who made the most terrible decision on appeasement. With 20/20 hindsight of course, but it was their call, ultimately. A war against Germany was of course a terrible option, but when the price at the table is your survival as an independent state, it comes ultimately to making a choice there. One of the panelists suggested the war might have been over in a matter of days, but that is of course what was the expected outcome of invasion of Finland by USSR as well. Who knows? Very difficult to speculate, and of course a terrible option for Czechoslovakia as well. I have no doubt Hitler would have done anything butt attacked, and I don't believe there would have been a coup in Germany either. Everyone was terrified of Hitler, there was no coup when Germany attacked France, either, while most of the German Generals were really scared of the potential outcome of Fall Gelb.

-- Edit: and how it played out in history, from this point of view, was how it logically should have played out, too? Annexation of Czechoslovakia finally opened up everyone's eyes to the fact there was no role for diplomacy anymore. From now, it was the arms who'd do the talking. Also, Stalin would have never done anything else given the options. Decadent European powers bleeding each others to death, leaving Europe ripe for pickings, how would he say no. So we are where we are. --

While the past is easier to forecast then future, it is not simple either. I don't know but the overall situation with Czechoslovakia in 1938. Can anyone recommennd a book going in detail about this?

< Message edited by Crossroads -- 9/17/2019 5:05:13 PM >


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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 77
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 5:29:16 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

Well, the unification of Austria with Germany was actually up to an approving vote in the League of Nations.

warspite1

Exactly. And because voting had to be unanimous the French could block it. So much for the right of self determination....

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

The Treaty of Versaille actually was just the Allied Powers (less the United States) and Germany.

The Treaty of Saint Germain was with Austria and the Allied Powers.

https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Saint-Germain

It had problems as well.

warspite1

Indeed. Versailles was specifically about Germany but was only part of the wider peace conference - and I am as guilty as the next person for calling the wider peace conference by the misnomer Versailles. But the point is, if Germany get their treaty re-visited (particularly re the borders issue) then why not everyone else?



Why not? If it would have helped to bring reduced tensions and peace.
warspite1

Sorry, can you go back a step as I've lost the thread here. Who is suggesting this conference? why? for what purpose? and to what end?

Thanks


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 78
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 5:40:41 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

As an alternate question, how about this.

As so many times before, a smaller European nation found out it was becoming a playing piece among the major powers of Europe. For Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was not consulted. How about if they would have flatly refused? With no good options, just bad and worse options, what if - with the realisation that their country will become undefendable - they would have read the omens and decided to stand out, even alone if necessary? Would Hitler have attacked regardless? If so, would it have played out any differently? Compared to what happened, where Czeckoslovakia was dissolved in a relatively short time frame. Similar fates to Baltic states under the threats from USSR, mind. Appeasement did not work out that well for them either.

Again, Finland provides an alternate example, as she refused the USSR demands that would have made the country undefendable. To this day, some, but not many, Finnish politicians and historians (I leave their political views out of this discussion as politics are not to be discussed here) are of the mind that Winter War could have been avoided if only Stalln would have got his initial demands instead. Yet, Finland only survived the Winter War because of a set of more or less extraordinary events, but it all started from decision to stand up.

If Czechoslovakia would have decided to fight instead, would the anti-Hitler alliances formed out quicker, would there ever been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ...

Again, Chamberlain hardly is the villain here. I know that is not what the OP asks, or hints, but worth writing down perhaps.
warspite1

Please see post 50 for my thoughts. We know Hitler would have ordered Case Green - what every country (and the plotters amongst the German General Staff) does after that? Who knows? As said would the Czechs beat off the Germans? Would they quickly succumb? or what? And without knowing that its all just so much guess work.


To continue this off-tangent, I did read your posts, also I did watch the video first. Which was excellent and quite interesting while at it. Again, the original quesion is a most intriguing one: Did Chamberlain do the right thing? I went back and worth on my own though process, not between "yes" or "no", but "yes" and "I don't know". Hindsight not allowed, I could not conclude he did the wrong thing, per se. Sudetenland and 1938 was not "it", imho.

I do agree with the panelist that 1935 and Abessinia was a missed opportunity. The Navy could have so easily kept Mussolini at bay, showing a strong deterrence, and indeed, showing the UK politicians "are not eunuchs". That in mind, in 1940-1941 the Italian embargo did play a strong role in Mussolini choosing Hitler. That, and of course the fact Hitler's Germany had humiliated everyone and appeared all-powerful and non-stoppable.

As for the Munich Agreement, with no hindsight, and keeping in mind it was about 3 million Germans joining Germany proper, i don't see how the public would have agreed to go to war against Germany on those premises. Nor was Anscluss, either. It is such a devilish dilemma with 20/20 hindsight though, as those two annexations left Germany so much stronger.

Which brings me back to my question, or rather pointing my finger at Czechoslovakia instead. Reverting to old bacon-and-eggs joke, and how the chicken participated in preparing breakfast, the pig committed. Yes, Chamberlain participated (strongly) in Munich negotiations, but Czechoslovakia committed to it. If indeed the Sudetenland had her best defences there, the question in black and white was: does she give them up, or does she keep them? Czechoslovakia went with it, with a terrible price, while Hitler received quite an inventory of war material and factories for his use.

So in my mind, it was not Chamberlain, it was the Czechoslovakian government who made the most terrible decision on appeasement. With 20/20 hindsight of course, but it was their call, ultimately. A war against Germany was of course a terrible option, but when the price at the table is your survival as an independent state, it comes ultimately to making a choice there. One of the panelists suggested the war might have been over in a matter of days, but that is of course what was the expected outcome of invasion of Finland by USSR as well. Who knows? Very difficult to speculate, and of course a terrible option for Czechoslovakia as well. I have no doubt Hitler would have done anything butt attacked, and I don't believe there would have been a coup in Germany either. Everyone was terrified of Hitler, there was no coup when Germany attacked France, either, while most of the German Generals were really scared of the potential outcome of Fall Gelb.

-- Edit: and how it played out in history, from this point of view, was how it logically should have played out, too? Annexation of Czechoslovakia finally opened up everyone's eyes to the fact there was no role for diplomacy anymore. From now, it was the arms who'd do the talking. Also, Stalin would have never done anything else given the options. Decadent European powers bleeding each others to death, leaving Europe ripe for pickings, how would he say no. So we are where we are. --

While the past is easier to forecast then future, it is not simple either. I don't know but the overall situation with Czechoslovakia in 1938. Can anyone recommennd a book going in detail about this?
warspite1

Interesting post re the Czechoslovakian take.

I suppose on the one hand one could say Benes did the only sensible thing by the Czech people - it was made clear he would be taking his country to war without the possibility of help coming their way so there would be hundreds of thousands of deaths - many civilian - for little purpose.

On the other hand, as you say, no one knows what would have happened so why not stand firm and see what happens - maybe help will be forthcoming (particularly if they put up a good defence) and worst case the Czechs will be remembered for making a stand against evil. Maybe the reality was that mobilisation would be too badly affected by the loss of the Sudeten Czechs?

But even if help doesn't arrive and they go under, is life for your average Czech really going to be any worse than what life was likely to be like under the Nazis? Or did they too believe that Hitler wouldn't seek any more after the Sudetenland?

I've never really read a critique of Benes and Co's actions. Would be interesting to read.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 79
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 5:54:06 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
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The Soviets still might have come to the aid of the Czechs, somehow.

The conference could have been called by the Western Allies when they saw the repercussions of the Treaty of Versaille and the other treaties. If Germany, Austria, Hungary and others would not come, that would mean that they would get nothing. Remember, the Depression had already started by 1930 and part of the unrest in the Sudetenland was because the Sudetenland ethic Germans had produced a lot of export goods which were now not being exported, hence not produced and therefore a lot of jobs were lost. Think of a version of the "Common Market" being formed in the 1930s . . .

Appeasement is giving the bully your lunch money so he would beat you up. Righting a wrong is correcting a bad contract. There is a difference.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 80
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 6:28:30 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

The Soviets still might have come to the aid of the Czechs, somehow.

The conference could have been called by the Western Allies when they saw the repercussions of the Treaty of Versaille and the other treaties. If Germany, Austria, Hungary and others would not come, that would mean that they would get nothing. Remember, the Depression had already started by 1930 and part of the unrest in the Sudetenland was because the Sudetenland ethic Germans had produced a lot of export goods which were now not being exported, hence not produced and therefore a lot of jobs were lost. Think of a version of the "Common Market" being formed in the 1930s . . .

Appeasement is giving the bully your lunch money so he would beat you up. Righting a wrong is correcting a bad contract. There is a difference.
warspite1

Why not set a scene and give whoever wants to explore this something to work with?

So what is the year? Who suggests this and why exactly i.e. what is the catalyst? What is it going to encompass? Territorial amendments or financial settlements too? How would decisions be made and by whom?

I think this would be helpful because at the moment I am struggling to think of a scenario. Countries don't just give up their positions without there being a good reason, but in proposing this, the Western Powers need to be ready to come with their cheque books out because only one side of the fence is going to be doing the Father Christmas impression.

And if they are doing that then what are they actually getting out of it? What is their fall-back position?


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 81
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 7:10:32 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline
Considering the government at the time with a going senile (in 1933 anyways) James Ramsay MacDonald who had done the London Conference in 1924; MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, and Neville Chamberlain could have started the process. With the advice that for the Parliament of "If we don't get an agreement, we will have to re-arm."

Computer/browser problems so I can't get into too many research sites for detailed work.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 82
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/17/2019 7:34:03 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 2464
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline
Some things were being tried:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Plan

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Plan

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 83
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/18/2019 12:57:57 AM   
philabos

 

Posts: 126
Joined: 7/3/2004
Status: offline
As pointed out in the video, the UK had no agreement with Czechoslovakia, only France was committed based on the 1924 Agreement.

Chamberlain's mistake may have been leaving London in the first place.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 84
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/18/2019 1:37:37 PM   
Crossroads


Posts: 15280
Joined: 7/5/2009
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

As an alternate question, how about this.

As so many times before, a smaller European nation found out it was becoming a playing piece among the major powers of Europe. For Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was not consulted. How about if they would have flatly refused? With no good options, just bad and worse options, what if - with the realisation that their country will become undefendable - they would have read the omens and decided to stand out, even alone if necessary? Would Hitler have attacked regardless? If so, would it have played out any differently? Compared to what happened, where Czeckoslovakia was dissolved in a relatively short time frame. Similar fates to Baltic states under the threats from USSR, mind. Appeasement did not work out that well for them either.

Again, Finland provides an alternate example, as she refused the USSR demands that would have made the country undefendable. To this day, some, but not many, Finnish politicians and historians (I leave their political views out of this discussion as politics are not to be discussed here) are of the mind that Winter War could have been avoided if only Stalln would have got his initial demands instead. Yet, Finland only survived the Winter War because of a set of more or less extraordinary events, but it all started from decision to stand up.

If Czechoslovakia would have decided to fight instead, would the anti-Hitler alliances formed out quicker, would there ever been a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, ...

Again, Chamberlain hardly is the villain here. I know that is not what the OP asks, or hints, but worth writing down perhaps.
warspite1

Please see post 50 for my thoughts. We know Hitler would have ordered Case Green - what every country (and the plotters amongst the German General Staff) does after that? Who knows? As said would the Czechs beat off the Germans? Would they quickly succumb? or what? And without knowing that its all just so much guess work.


To continue this off-tangent, I did read your posts, also I did watch the video first. Which was excellent and quite interesting while at it. Again, the original quesion is a most intriguing one: Did Chamberlain do the right thing? I went back and worth on my own though process, not between "yes" or "no", but "yes" and "I don't know". Hindsight not allowed, I could not conclude he did the wrong thing, per se. Sudetenland and 1938 was not "it", imho.

I do agree with the panelist that 1935 and Abessinia was a missed opportunity. The Navy could have so easily kept Mussolini at bay, showing a strong deterrence, and indeed, showing the UK politicians "are not eunuchs". That in mind, in 1940-1941 the Italian embargo did play a strong role in Mussolini choosing Hitler. That, and of course the fact Hitler's Germany had humiliated everyone and appeared all-powerful and non-stoppable.

As for the Munich Agreement, with no hindsight, and keeping in mind it was about 3 million Germans joining Germany proper, i don't see how the public would have agreed to go to war against Germany on those premises. Nor was Anscluss, either. It is such a devilish dilemma with 20/20 hindsight though, as those two annexations left Germany so much stronger.

Which brings me back to my question, or rather pointing my finger at Czechoslovakia instead. Reverting to old bacon-and-eggs joke, and how the chicken participated in preparing breakfast, the pig committed. Yes, Chamberlain participated (strongly) in Munich negotiations, but Czechoslovakia committed to it. If indeed the Sudetenland had her best defences there, the question in black and white was: does she give them up, or does she keep them? Czechoslovakia went with it, with a terrible price, while Hitler received quite an inventory of war material and factories for his use.

So in my mind, it was not Chamberlain, it was the Czechoslovakian government who made the most terrible decision on appeasement. With 20/20 hindsight of course, but it was their call, ultimately. A war against Germany was of course a terrible option, but when the price at the table is your survival as an independent state, it comes ultimately to making a choice there. One of the panelists suggested the war might have been over in a matter of days, but that is of course what was the expected outcome of invasion of Finland by USSR as well. Who knows? Very difficult to speculate, and of course a terrible option for Czechoslovakia as well. I have no doubt Hitler would have done anything butt attacked, and I don't believe there would have been a coup in Germany either. Everyone was terrified of Hitler, there was no coup when Germany attacked France, either, while most of the German Generals were really scared of the potential outcome of Fall Gelb.

-- Edit: and how it played out in history, from this point of view, was how it logically should have played out, too? Annexation of Czechoslovakia finally opened up everyone's eyes to the fact there was no role for diplomacy anymore. From now, it was the arms who'd do the talking. Also, Stalin would have never done anything else given the options. Decadent European powers bleeding each others to death, leaving Europe ripe for pickings, how would he say no. So we are where we are. --

While the past is easier to forecast then future, it is not simple either. I don't know but the overall situation with Czechoslovakia in 1938. Can anyone recommennd a book going in detail about this?
warspite1

Interesting post re the Czechoslovakian take.

I suppose on the one hand one could say Benes did the only sensible thing by the Czech people - it was made clear he would be taking his country to war without the possibility of help coming their way so there would be hundreds of thousands of deaths - many civilian - for little purpose.

On the other hand, as you say, no one knows what would have happened so why not stand firm and see what happens - maybe help will be forthcoming (particularly if they put up a good defence) and worst case the Czechs will be remembered for making a stand against evil. Maybe the reality was that mobilisation would be too badly affected by the loss of the Sudeten Czechs?

But even if help doesn't arrive and they go under, is life for your average Czech really going to be any worse than what life was likely to be like under the Nazis? Or did they too believe that Hitler wouldn't seek any more after the Sudetenland?

I've never really read a critique of Benes and Co's actions. Would be interesting to read.


I am not blaming Benes as such, just curious to learn more as how and why the decisions in Czechoslovakia were made, at the time. As you wrote, the options were terrible. They just did not have any good options, just bad, and worse, with hindsight required to see how this decision played out.

Again, the safe assumptions Benes could have made were that yes, Hitler would attack, and that outside help was questionable at best, after Munich Agreement. I would not have USSR being available to "help" at this stage a feasible option at all. No one would trust their "help" (hence the parenthesis), and also, they were not much in a shape to help anyone, with the officer purges etc.

And, crucially, there was no prequisite as what it truly means to have appeasement with Hitler, or Stalin for that matter. Czechoslovakia decided to trust the agreement, to their demise. Baltic countries decided to trust their agreements, to their demises. And of course, we have not much touched the subject of how to work with a a pot of nationalities such as Czechoslovakia after the Great War. There are sound reasons why Czechs and Slovaks wanted their independent states after the Cold War. And at the time it was more complex, even.

So, anyone with a good book to recommend on the topic of pre-WW2 Czechoslovakia?

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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 85
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/18/2019 6:46:01 PM   
RangerJoe


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Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: offline
But the Czechs and the Slovaks are somewhat related to each other but not to the Germans except through intermarriage - which did take place. Also, there were no lines on any map which sharply delineated ethnic groups.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 86
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/19/2019 1:17:02 AM   
philabos

 

Posts: 126
Joined: 7/3/2004
Status: offline
Crossroads, see post 42.
Watt gained access to the German Diplomatic files while serving with the British Army in 1947.
It does cover Europe as a whole and not just Czechoslovakia, over 600 pages covering 1938-1939.
Used copies $6 on Amazon.

< Message edited by philabos -- 9/19/2019 1:19:05 AM >

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 87
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/19/2019 6:20:07 AM   
Crossroads


Posts: 15280
Joined: 7/5/2009
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: philabos

Crossroads, see post 42.
Watt gained access to the German Diplomatic files while serving with the British Army in 1947.
It does cover Europe as a whole and not just Czechoslovakia, over 600 pages covering 1938-1939.
Used copies $6 on Amazon.

Thanks, I noticed your post at the time, but was not aware how inexpensive some hard cover used copies were. Bought one!

_____________________________

Visit us at: Campaign Series Legion
---
CS: Vietnam | CS: East Front 1939-1941 IN-THE-WORKS
CS: Middle East 1948-1985 Fully reimaged v2.0 available now!

(in reply to philabos)
Post #: 88
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/19/2019 7:24:24 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 40178
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads


quote:

ORIGINAL: philabos

Crossroads, see post 42.
Watt gained access to the German Diplomatic files while serving with the British Army in 1947.
It does cover Europe as a whole and not just Czechoslovakia, over 600 pages covering 1938-1939.
Used copies $6 on Amazon.

Thanks, I noticed your post at the time, but was not aware how inexpensive some hard cover used copies were. Bought one!
warspite1

I'm trying to get through Gorbachev as quickly as possible so that I can get to this puppy! At least How War Came has given me the impetus I need to get the book on the ex-Soviet leader finished asap!!


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 89
RE: Did Neville Chamberlain do the right thing? - 9/19/2019 8:21:31 AM   
loki100


Posts: 5722
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads
...

So, anyone with a good book to recommend on the topic of pre-WW2 Czechoslovakia?


For some insight into the Czech-Slovak issue you read Hasek's 'Good Soldier Svejk'. Its a deeply black comedy set at the start of WW1 but on the way throws a lot of light on the differences of language and culture.

There is a good biography of him by Cecil Parrott (though long out of print) that goes into these issues in more detail.

Mary Heimann's 'the state that failed' has some good reviews and seems to be a comprehensive study from 1918 to 1992.

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