By Alex Krainer
This is part 2 of a 3-part series [originally published on TheNakedHedgie.com] shedding light on the role of British secret diplomacy in the run-up to World War 2. Here’s the link to Part 1. The 46 min. video report on YouTube covers all three parts.
The sacrifice of Czechoslovakia
The treacherous sacrifice of Czechoslovakia to Germany is one of the least well understood episodes leading to the tragedy of World War lI. Conventional history associates the Czech crisis with Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement at Munich. The story we were taught in school was that the British government agreed to partition Czechoslovakia only as a desperate measure to avoid a greater European war. This view is based on the idea that Germany was already an overwhelming military power that could easily crush Czechoslovakia’s weak defenses. However, this idea is patently false. In late 1938 Czechoslovakia did in fact capitulate without resistance, but this was not because her defenses were weak. Rather, Czechoslovakia’s government was paralyzed and sedated as a result of the treacherous scheming of Britain’s secret diplomacy.
The beginnings of the Czech crisis
Created in 1919, Czechoslovakia was the most prosperous, most democratic, most powerful and best administered of the states that emerged from the Habsburg Empire. Situated along its northwest frontier with Germany, the Sudeten region was the most industrialized part of the country and had a majority German population. Although Czechoslovakia instituted equitable treatment for all of its minorities, in the 1930s, Sudeten Germans began to press for greater political power and autonomy within Czechoslovakia. They established their own Nazi party and with funding from Berlin their relentless agitation and propaganda became a destabilizing factor for the nation.
In 1934 the Czech government finally banned the party, but under Konrad Henlein’s leadership, they merely changed the party’s name to Sudeten German Party and continued to consolidate influence and power. Henlein coordinated his party’s agenda with Hitler and their strategy was to keep pressing the Czech government for ever greater concessions which escalated the crisis to a boiling point in1938.
The school curriculum vs. the truth
Conventional history holds that Britain only became involved in this crisis in order to prevent a greater war from erupting. The Wikipedia entry says that, “Germany had started a low-intensity undeclared war on Czechoslovakia on 17 September 1938. In reaction, the United Kingdom and France on 20 September formally asked Czechoslovakia to cede its territory to Germany…” That pretty much sums up history as it is still being taught in schools everywhere. The truth is very different: as early as March 1938 and until the very end, British representatives took a very active role in the negotiations between the Germans and the Czech government.
Behind the false cloak of impartiality, the British representatives consistently bolstered German demands and pressured the Czechs to yield. The Czech government responded by offering substantial concessions and formulating a plan for the minorities that included economic benefits, cultural and administrative autonomy and even political federalism. This was however brushed aside by the German and British counterparts as inadequate. Then, on 24 April 1938, Henlein formulated the extreme “Karlsbad Demands.” After months of torturous negotiations, and under severe pressure from Britain, in September 1938 the Czech government yielded on most of these demands. But at that point, rather than declaring victory and accepting a settlement, Henlein abruptly broke off the negotiations and fled to Germany.
The balance of military power
History regards Chamberlain’s 1938 appeasement of Hitler as an ill-advised and cowardly policy, but ultimately a justifiable, or at least well-intentioned bid to prevent a greater European war. The Czech situation was invariably presented as a lost cause since the overwhelming power of the German Wehrmacht could easily crush Czechoslovakia’s weak defenses. But the ideas that the Germans had a military advantage and that Czech’s security was weak were both fabrications of a sustained propaganda campaign, which was orchestrated by the British media and government representatives to mislead the British and European public.
To be sure, Germany had been building up its military power since the early 1930s, but in 1938 it was still no match for Czech defenses: the Germans had 35 infantry divisions and only 4 motorized divisions, none of them fully manned or equipped. Of these, only 22 partially trained divisions were stationed near the Czech frontier. At the same time, Czechoslovakia had 34 well equipped divisions and was able to mobilize and arm fully 1,000,000 troops. While all of Germany’s tanks were below 10 tons (except for a handful of Mark III 18-ton tanks) and armed with 37-mm guns, the Czech army had hundreds of 38-ton tanks armed with 75-mm cannons.
Moreover Czech army was better trained, had very high morale and had built powerful fortifications along its borders. In terms of quality, armaments and fortifications, the Czech army was known to be the best in Europe and was superior to German army in every way except for air support. On September 3rd 1938 the British military attaché in Prague wrote a cable to London, stating: “There are no shortcomings in the Czech army, as far as I have been able to observe…” In addition, Czech security was supported by strategic alliances with France and the Soviet Union both of whom were at that time very keen on holding Germany in check and both of whom were significantly superior to Germany in terms of military strength.
The abortive mutiny of the top German generals
Germany’s military leaders were well aware of all this and believed that, even without her alliances, Czechoslovakia could easily defeat German army in any military confrontation. When, on 21 April 1938 Hitler ordered General Wilhelm Keitel to draft plans to invade Czechoslovakia, German military brass were deeply alarmed – so much so that a group of top commanders, clustered around Hitler’s Chief of the General Staff, General Ludwig Beck, hatched a three phase strategy to disrupt Hitler’s reckless pursuit: (1) they would try to dissuade Hitler from pursuing them; (2) they implored the British to stand firmly by Czechoslovakia and warn Hitler that Britain would oppose him; and (3) if Hitler persisted in his resolve to wage war, they would proceed to assassinate him. The date for this act was set for September 28, 1938.
During the frenzied first two weeks of that month, message after message was communicated to London by Baron Ernst von Weizsacker (state secretary in Hitler’s Foreign Ministry), Erich Kordt (Joachim von Ribbentrop’s chief of staff), a number of generals and various German missions in Europe. But not only did the British ignore all these pleas for help, they even took measures to shield Hitler from General Beck’s conspiracy. Chamberlain himself flew to Germany twice during the peak of the crisis (on the 15and 22 September 1938) to broker an agreement that would enable Hitler to seize Czechoslovakia without waging war.
The role of British secret diplomacy
Britain’s covert foreign policy was run by a small group of men led by the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. It included Lord Halifax, Sir Horace Wilson, Sir John Simon, Lord Runciman and Sir Samuel Hoare. Their objective was to advance the three-block vision of the global order which entailed securing Germany’s hegemony over Central and Eastern Europe. The plan for Czechoslovakia, as presented by Lord Halifax to the Czech ambassador in London on 25 May 1938 included three key provisions:
- Separation of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia
- Neutralization of the rest of Czechoslovakia by revising her treaties with Russia and France
- An international guarantee of this rump Czechoslovakia (though not by Britain).
That, in fact was the same arrangement that would ultimately be forced on the Czechs by the Four-Power Conference in Munich on 30th September 1938. For the British, it was essential to achieve these objectives without war. As Herbert von Dirksen, Germany’s ambassador to London wrote to foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on June 8, 1938, “Anything which can be got without a shot being fired can count upon the agreement of the British.” To facilitate this, the British maneuvered Czech government to yield without resistance. Avoiding war was important for a number of reasons, but primarily to prevent a strong public outcry in Britain and to preempt Russia and France from coming to their ally’s aid.
Moscow’s efforts to intervene were consistently ignored and played down in public. Already in March of 1938, the Russians tried to form a united front against Hitler and proposed holding a security conference in Bucharest along with France, Britain, Poland and Romania, but this initiative was ignored. The French position was neutered through the Anglo-French conference of September 18, 1938, where the British maneuvered the French to back their solution to the Czech crisis and to help pressure the Czechs to yield.
Inducing a fake news war panic at home
The cabal also needed to sell all this to the British public which was viscerally opposed to Nazism. Accordingly, British officials and the media launched a propaganda campaign that gathered pace throughout the crisis. The opening salvo was an article in Lord Rothmere’s Daily Mail, published on 6 May 1938. It denounced Czechoslovakia as an artificial monstrosity and an aberration of 1919. It also falsely accused the hateful Czechs of mistreating the German-speaking population, an outrage that Britain could not tolerate. In addition to demonizing Czechoslovakia, the media also fomented a general war scare. Anxiety about the relentless German mobilization was built up day by day, convincing the public that Germany could easily overwhelm the Czechs in a few days and wipe out Prague.
By late September 1938, the war psychosis was intensified to fever pitch with reports that German air force might imminently launch air raids against Paris and London and bomb the civilian population with poison gas ordnance. As panic set in, the British government began to fit the people of London with Gas masks while the king and Prime Minister called on the Britons to dig trenches in the parks and squares. School children began to be evacuated to secure detention facilities away from London. Every report or rumor that exacerbated the panic and defeatism was played up and any voice that encouraged taking a decisive stand against Germany was sidelined.
Pushing Czechoslovakia to commit suicide
At the same time, France and Britain ordered the Czech government not to mobilize its troops for fear of provoking Germany, and pressured them to accept the Anglo-French solution to the crisis. But the Anglo-French proposal would further weaken Czechoslovakia’s security in exchange for vague promises of international guarantees. The government of President Edvard Beneš protested vigorously and rejected the solution. In their turn, London and Paris rejected the Czech refusal and mounted further pressure on the Czechs. Chamberlain explained the imperative to force Czechoslovakia’s government to yield: “The idea of territorial cession would be likely to have a more favorable reception from the British public if it could be represented as the choice of the Czechoslovak Government themselves and it could be made clear that they had been offered the choice of a plebiscite or of territorial cession and had preferred the latter. This would dispose of any idea that we were ourselves carving up Czechoslovak territory.” To turn up the pressure, France threatened to revoke their alliance and abandon the Czechs to Germany. Finally, on 21 September 1938 the Czech government relented and accepted the Anglo-French dictate.
The Godesberg ultimatum
The very next day, Chamberlain paid Hitler a visit at Godesberg on the Rhine in order to personally deliver the good news. At that meeting, Hitler and Chamberlain formulated yet another set of even more extreme demands and had the British military attaché rush these to Prague. The Godesberg Ultimatum was ostensibly Hitler’s own brainchild, but it was almost certainly godfathered by Chamberlain himself. Hitler now inexplicably demanded self-determination not only for the Sudeten Germans, but also for the Poles, Hungarians and Slovaks. In addition, German troops were to enter Czechoslovakia before October 1st 1938 and occupy territories within borders that would be determined at Hitler’s own discretion.
Back in London, on 23rd September the British Cabinet overtly rejected Hitler’s Godesberg ultimatum and agreed to support France if it chose to go to war against Germany. The French government also rejected Hitler’s ultimatum as did the Czechs. The Soviets responded by explicitly reiterating their security commitment to Czechoslovakia. However, this last-moment appearance of a united front against an aggressive Germany finally shaping up was yet another deception.
Chamberlain’s perfidious double game
On 27 September 1938, Chamberlain delivered a radio address to the nation feigning his dismay at the incomprehensible events on the continent: “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing…” The very same day, Chamberlain sent a telegram to Czechoslovakia’s President Beneš, warning him that if he failed to accept Hitler’s ultimatum by 2 PM on the following day (28 September), Czechoslovakia would be overrun by the German Army and nothing could save her. After that he sent a message to Hitler to propose holding a four-power conference and reassuring him that Britain and France would force Czechoslovakia to accept any agreement, on condition that Germany abstained from going to war.
On 28 September 1938 at 3 PM, Chamberlain appeared at the House of Commons where he gave a long speech about the events in Europe. His speech caused great consternation among the MPs who sat aghast, wondering if Goering’s bombs were about to start raining down on London. In a theatrical stunt near the end of his speech, a message was brought to him and he announced at once that it was an invitation to a four-Power conference at Munich. Chamberlain forgot to mention that he himself had organized the conference, but the MPs were not in the mood to question the good news: they erupted in a roar of relief and Chamberlain immediately hurried form the building without a formal ending of the session.
The betrayal at Munich
In Munich, on 30th September 1938 Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini and France’s Daladier carved up Czechoslovakia without consulting anyone, least of all the Czechs. The four Powers agreement was handed to the Czech minister in Berlin who had been waiting outside the doors for over ten hours. It reached Prague only eighteen hours before the German occupation was to begin.
The agreement provided that some designated areas of Czechoslovakia would be occupied by the German army in several stages during the first and second weeks of October 1938. The progress of the occupation would be supervised by an international commission. A joint German-Czech commission would order and supervise plebiscites and guarantee the rights of various ethnicities who would have a six months grace period to move into and out of the areas designated under the agreement. Property was to be protected and none of it was to be seized by the occupying troops. The remainder of Czechoslovakia would be guaranteed by France and Britain, with Germany and Italy joining this guarantee as soon as the Polish and Hungarian minority issues had been settled.
The Munich agreement was utterly worthless; it merely put a thin veil of diplomatic civility over the real agenda, which was a brazen act of destruction of a prosperous central European nation with the premeditated objective of empowering Nazi Germany and pushing the people of Europe closer to one of the greatest tragedies in their history. Almost before the ink could dry on this shameful document, it was violated on every point in favor of Germany which simply occupied whatever areas of Czechoslovakia it chose to. The nation’s infrastructure was severely impaired as every important railroad or highway was cut or crippled, collapsing the Czech economy. The international commission that was set up to oversee the occupation process in reality simply rubber-stamped every decision of the German General Staff.
For their neutrality Poland and Hungary were subsequently rewarded with chunks of Czechoslovakia: Hungary obtained a southern portion of Slovakia while Poland took the areas with a Polish minority. Czechoslovakia’s Soviet alliance was abolished and the Communist Party outlawed. As for the plebiscites, they were simply forgotten. Anti-Nazi refugees from the Sudetenland were rounded up by the new government in Prague and handed over to the Germans to be destroyed. The stipulated guarantee of the rump of Czechoslovakia was ignored.
All that the Munich Agreement accomplished was to give Hitler everything he wanted, but without the cost and casualties of war. As a result, Nazi Germany was made the supreme power in central Europe and any possibility of checking its hegemony was lost. This was exactly as Chamberlain intended it. When German troops overran Czechoslovakia, they captured 469 tanks which were much superior to German tanks, along with 1,500 planes, 43,000 machine guns, and over 1 million rifles. The unused arsenal was a posthumous testament to the power that failed to defend itself against Hitler’s aggression. It was sedated and paralyzed through the devious activities by Neville Chamberlain and his cabal.
March 1939: appeasement ends, but support for the Nazis continues
Hitler did not content himself with occupying the Sudeten region for long. Apparently he felt that the Munich Agreement cheated him out of a war said that it would be his first and certainly the last international conference. The next time, he said, he hoped that no “dirty pig” would suggest a conference. By early March 1939 the German troops were poised to occupy the rump of Czechoslovakia and there was nothing to stop them. On 14th March 1939 Hitler summoned Czechoslovak puppet president Hácha to Berlin where he forced him to sign documents handing the nation over to Germany and ordering all resistance to the invading German forces to stand down. Within a week, Bohemia-Moravia was declared a German protectorate.
Conventional history holds that the events of March 1939 finally revealed Hitler’s true intentions and marked the end of the naïve policy of appeasement. While this may have been true for the heavily propagandized public, it was certainly not true for the protagonists of this drama. For Chamberlain and his cabal, events were unfolding as intended, although it was necessary to continue deceiving the British people. When Hitler broke the Munich Agreement and annexed Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain only issued a feeble protest, but on 15 March 1939 he explicitly accepted Germany’s seizure of Czechoslovakia in the House of Commons and refused to accuse Hitler of bad faith. Only two days later, on 17 March, he went to his constituency in Birmingham and denounced Hitler’s actions before the public. And while he publicly declared the seizure as illegal, his government immediately accepted it as a fact and recognized at law by accrediting the British consulate general in Prague to Germany.
As the public outrage mounted, on 28 March 1939 Chamberlain made a further gesture in announcing the cancellation of trade talks with Germany (the planned visit to Berlin of the British Board of Trade led by the Board’s President, Oliver Stanley). But true to form, only five days later, the German commercial attaché in London was secretly informed that the British were ready to reopen the discussions. In May 1939, Bank of England’s Montagu Norman turned over to Germany the £6,000,000 in Czech gold reserves held in London. When the news of this transfer leaked out, the cabinet hid behind the preposterous excuse that the British government could not give orders to the Bank of England.
Setting the target at Poland
In July 1939 the Reich commissioner for Germany’s “Four Year Plan,” Helmut Wohlthat visited London at an international whaling conference. Recall, this was about two months after Chamberlain issued his strange guarantee of Poland’s independence. On the occasion, he was approached by Chamberlain’s personal representative, Sir Horace Wilson who communicated to him the proposals which the British government wished to discuss with Germany. Again, the proposals were consistent with the cabal’s “three-block” agenda and the seven-point program for Germany and included (1) a non-aggression pact (between Britain and Germany), (2) a delimitation of spheres of interest, (3) colonial concessions in Africa, (4) an economic agreement, and (5) a disarmament agreement. In his report to Berlin, German ambassador to London Herbert von Dirksen stated that, “Sir Horace Wilson definitely told Herr Wohlthat that the conclusion of a nonaggression pact would enable Britain to rid herself of her commitments vis-à-vis Poland.” With Czechoslovakia destroyed, Poland was next.
In Part 3 of this series we’ll look at the continuity of the 3-block agenda and the way the banking cabal is shaping policy to this day, still obsessed with making Germany the centerpiece of its domination of continental Europe. This is part 2 of a 3-part series shedding light on the role of British secret diplomacy in the run-up to World War 2. Here’s the link to Part 1 and the 46 min. video report that covers all three parts.
Alex Krainer – @NakedHedgie is a former hedge fund manager, founder of KRAINER ANALYTICS and publisher of the daily TrendCompass reports. I-System TrendCompass provides daily CTA signals on over 200 financial and commodities markets so you can navigate trends profitably, with confidence and peace of mind. Subscription rates start at below 85 Eur/month (1,000 Eur/yr) and one-month test drive is always free of charge. To learn more, please visit TrendCompass page or drop us an e-mail at TrendCompass@ISystem-TF.com. For qualified investors, we can also propose superbly engineered turn-key portfolio solutions, including a high-octane inflation hedging portfolios.