The Munich Agreement Documentary

London, FridayThe Munich agreement gives Hitler everything he wants (first), except to the extent that he may not be quite able to get it as quickly as he would have done under Godesberg`s full ultimatum. He will begin tomorrow the invasion of Czechoslovakia, as he threatened in his speech of 12 September. It is free to occupy all the regions where the Sudeten Germans are the majority, and this by leaps and bounds. One aspect of the huge riots of the past two weeks must affect anyone who thinks about its history. In the three most powerful countries in Central and Eastern Europe, people had no right to know what was said and done outside. There seems to have been very little news in Russia. In Germany and Italy, the message was deliberately falsified while it was not repressed. The German people were not to know the embassy of President Roosevelt. The Italian people were led to believe that Chamberlain agreed with Hitler and was only putting pressure on Benes. One of his speeches gave them a false version. Robert Kee`s sober account, dramatic newspaper images and memories of Czechoslovakians, British, Germans and others capture the tragic dimensions of Munich. The intelligent and moving 90-minute documentary will air tonight at 9 a.m.

on Channel 13. The most moving memories here come from Czechoslovakians, old enough to remember the overwhelming pressure exerted on their leaders, not only Hitler, but also their so-called protectors. In an interesting detail, the documentation reports that german officers and diplomats opposed to Hitler pushed London to a strong position and that the Czechoslovaks themselves were more than ready to fight, as evidenced by excerpts from news roles of the time. On his way back from Munich, Chamberlain told an excited crowd at Heston airport: “It is peace for our time” and he praised the agreement he had signed with Hitler. This was the culmination of the policy of appeasement. Six months later, Hitler stopped his promises and ordered his armies to invade Prague. Within a year, Britain and France were at war with Germany. The Manchester Guardian covered every corner of history, from the details of the deal Chamberlain, which appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, to unease among other nations. One editorial found that the sheet of paper he was waving on his return to Britain was almost worthless. This is the only record I can find from this 1988 TV comedy/film sketch.

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