Eighty years ago, 80 years ago, on September 1, 1939, German troops invaded Poland, triggering the start of World War II, the deadliest military conflict in human history, involving an estimated 100 million people from 30 countries. Britain and France, which had pledged their help to Poland, declared war on Germany and its allies two days later, on 3 September. The start of the war revealed to the world the folly of the Munich Agreement signed less than a year earlier – an agreement seen as a disastrous act of appeasement of Adolf Hitler`s Nazi regime and historical evidence that expansionist totalitarianism cannot be demonstrated by placement. The slogan “Above us, without us!” (Czech: O n`s bez n`s!) sums up the feelings of the Czechoslovakian population (Slovakia and the Czech Republic) towards the agreement. [Citation required] On its way to Germany, Czechoslovakia (as the state was renamed) lost its reasonable border with Germany and its fortifications. Without it, its independence became more nominal than more real. The agreement also caused Czechoslovakia to lose 70% of its steel industry, 70% of its electricity and 3.5 million citizens to Germany. [61] The Sudeten Germans celebrated what they saw as their liberation. The impending war, it seemed, had been averted. Attitudes in some places have been the subject of a referendum. Within four weeks of the signing of the agreement, the Czechoslovakian government was to release from its military and police forces all Sudeten Germans who wished to be released and all German prisoners from the Sudetenland. Six months after the signing of the Munich Agreement, Hitler reversed his commitments and invaded all of Czechoslovakia.

The war was on its way. The New York Times made the front page of the Munich agreement: “Hitler receives less than his claims from the Sudetenland,” and reports that a “joyful crowd” had applauded Daladier on his return to France and that Chamberlain had been “wildly applauded” upon his return to the UK. [54] The American historian William L. Shirer estimated in his “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (1960) that Czechoslovakia, although Hitler was not bluffing about its intention to invade, could have resisted considerably. Shirer believed that Britain and France had sufficient air defence to avoid severe bombing of London and Paris, and could have waged a swift and fruitful war against Germany. [66] He quotes Churchill as saying that the agreement means that “Britain and France are in a much worse position than Hitler`s Germany.” [61] After personally inspecting the Czech fortifications, Hitler privately told Joseph Goebbels that “we shed a lot of blood” and that it was fortunate that there had been no fighting. [67] The agreement was signed between Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain from 29 to 30 September 1938. Hitler`s appeasement in the attempt to preserve peace in Europe was strongly supported by the British Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain. Returning from Munich, Chamberlain signalled the document signed by Hitler and called it a declaration of “peace with honour.” In exchange for European peace, the sudetenland was able to be annexed by the Germans.

The economic consequences of the Munich agreement will certainly be very severe for Czechoslovakia. The loss of industries, railwayheads, knots, etc., cannot help but cause a sharp loss of trade and unemployment.