Everything you can put on
hold your bloody hand, hold on, gentlemen!
Wellington, Colonel of the British Colonial Army
hold your bloody hand, hold on, gentlemen!
Wellington, Colonel of the British Colonial Army
Wars don't start so easily - there must be reasons for war. In addition to the reasons, there must be pretexts: it’s necessary to explain why you are forced to fight.
Every big war begins with the fact that the aggressor checks whether it can go unpunished? It is one thing to talk about “living space” and demand the unification of the Germans in Greater Germany, and another thing to try in practice. For the "practice" and you can get on the head.
The national revolution of Hitler from the very beginning came into conflict with the policies of the victors in the First World War.
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria began the life of an independent national state. Unwillingly. Austrian Germans did not want to be separated from Germany. October 30 1918 in Vienna The Provisional National Assembly decided on the accession of Austria to the rest of Germany. But the victorious powers banned reunification - the Anschluss. They did not want the gain of Germany.
September 10 1919 Austria signed the Treaty of Saint Germain with the British Empire, France, USA, Japan and Italy. 88-I article of the contract expressly forbade the Anschluss.
In Austria there was the same sluggish civil war, as in Germany. Even sharper, because there were more political forces: communists, social democrats, fascists, national socialists. Social democrats, fascists and nazis had armed organizations, no worse than the Mouth of the Front, and fought with each other. Losses are called different - from 2 — 3 thousand people to 50 thousand.
Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dolphus
In 1933, the new Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dolfus, a Catholic and pro-fascist, banned the Communist and Nazi parties, dismissed the armed units of the Social Democrats "Schutzbund." He increased the number of armed units of the fascists, the "heymvera", to 100 thousand people, dissolved the parliament and proclaimed the "authoritarian system of governance" modeled on the Italian Mussolini. He pressed the Communists and Social Democrats with an armed hand, and at the same time signed the Rome Protocols, declaring the creation of the axis Italy-Austria-Hungary.
25 July 1934, the Nazis kill the Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dolphus. In a number of cities, armed Nazi detachments come forward demanding an Anschluss.
And then Mussolini hastily mobilizes four divisions, orders them to approach the border, on the Brenner Pass. Italians are ready to go to help the Austrian government. Mussolini counts on the support of Great Britain and France - but just these powers have done absolutely nothing.
Mussolini speaks for the press: “The German Chancellor has repeatedly promised to respect the independence of Austria. But the events of recent days have clearly shown whether Hitler intends to respect his rights before Europe. One cannot approach with ordinary moral standards a person who with such cynicism violates the elementary laws of decency. ”
What is characteristic is that the prospect of a war with Italy was quite enough for Hitler to retreat and not bring troops into Austria. Without the support of Germany, the coup failed.
That all changed when Italy launched the war against Ethiopia in October 1935. The West is protesting: since November 1935, all members of the League of Nations (except for the US) have committed themselves to boycott Italian goods, refuse the Italian government in loans, and prohibit the importation of strategic materials into Italy. And Germany supports Italy.
8 May 1936, in connection with the victory in Ethiopia, Mussolini proclaimed the rebirth of the Roman Empire. King Victor Emmanuel III took the title of Emperor of Ethiopia. The West does not recognize these seizures. Who knows that India is ruled by the viceroy as the possession of Britain! It is possible to Britain, but some Italy is impossible. Hitler supports the idea of a second Roman Empire and sends congratulations.
Mussolini does not want the communists to win in the Spanish Civil War. He sends serious help to General Franco — by people, by planes, by money, by equipment. Hitler also fights in Spain. With 1936, the convergence of Mussolini and Hitler begins.
True, after this Mussolini had to mollify for a long time. 4 January 1937, Mussolini, in negotiations with Goering, refuses to recognize the Anschluss. He states that he will not tolerate any changes in the Austrian question.
Applause to Hitler in the Reichstag after the declaration of the Anschluss of Germany with Austria. By joining Austria, Hitler received a strategic foothold for the capture of Czechoslovakia and further offensive in Southeastern Europe and the Balkans, sources of raw materials, human resources and military production. As a result of the Anschluss, the territory of Germany increased by 17%, the population by 10% (by 6,7 million people). The Wehrmacht included 6 divisions formed in Austria. Berlin, March 1938.
Only 6 November 1937, Benito Mussolini, said he was “tired of defending Austria’s independence”. But after that, Mussolini is trying to prevent the creation of "Great Germany". No specific statements from the UK or France were again given. Italy alone is opposed to Germany ... And the international situation has changed.
Now Hitler is sure that Italy will not start wars because of Austria. 12 March 1938, the 200-thousandth army of the Third Reich crosses the Austrian border. West again said nothing. The USSR suggests in the League of Nations "to discuss the Austrian question." In response - silence. Do not want.
The problem of the Sudetenland
According to the Treaty of Saint-Germain, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia were recognized as parts of the new country - Czechoslovakia. But Czechoslovakia is not one, but three countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Carpatoria. In addition, many Poles live in the Tenishevsk region in the north of Czechoslovakia. In the Sudetenland - a lot of Germans. Many Hungarians live in Carpatorossia. In the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it did not matter, and now it is very much.
The Hungarians wanted to join Hungary. Poles - to Poland. Slovaks wanted to have their own state. The most calm was in Carpathorossia, but there were also many supporters of leaving under Hungary: Hungary has long-standing ties with Transcarpathian Rus, since Galician Russia.
In fact, Czechoslovakia is the Czech Empire. There were fewer street battles than in Germany and Austria, but there was a sluggish civil war in this country.
Since 1622, the Czech lands were part of the Austrian Empire. In the Sudetenland, the Germans predominate. They want to enter Germany, and Hitler supports them.
The Czechoslovak authorities prohibit the National Socialist Party (NSDAP). But immediately there is a Sudeten-German party. At its congress in Karloni Vari in April 1938, this party demands the broadest autonomy, up to the right to secede from Czechoslovakia and join Germany.
The Nazis cannot refuse to join the Sudetenland: they will not be understood either in Germany or in the Sudetes. Millions of Germans are closely watching their policies. They want a national revolution.
But once the Nazis enter Czechoslovakia, Britain and France will start a war with her. After all, these countries are the guarantors of the independence of Czechoslovakia.
... And an amazing thing happens: the Western countries themselves are persuading Czechoslovakia to capitulate. In April, 1918, at the Franco-British meeting, Chamberlain said that if Germany chose to occupy Czechoslovakia, he did not see the means to prevent it from doing so.
In August, the Commissioner of Britain, Lord Ransimen, and the US Ambassador to Germany, G. Wilson are in Prague 1938. They persuade the Czechoslovak government to accept the transfer of the Sudetenland to the Third Reich.
At a meeting with Hitler in September in Bertehsgaden, Chamberlain agreed to Hitler’s demands. Together with French Prime Minister Daladier, they persuade Prime Minister Benes to agree to the dismemberment of the country.
In September, 1938, the French government declares that it is unable to fulfill allied obligations to Czechoslovakia. September 26’s Hitler states that the Third Reich will destroy Czechoslovakia if it does not accept its conditions.
All this - against the backdrop of the already started 13 September 1938, the German insurgency in the Sudetenland and the Slovaks uprisings.
A Sudeten woman, unable to hide her emotions, meekly welcomes the victor-Hitler, who is a serious tragedy for millions of people who are forced into “Hitlerism” and who are at the same time “humble silence”.
The Munich Agreement 29 — 30 of September 1938 of the year only crowns these efforts of Western countries.
On these two days in Munich, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini agreed on everything. Without the participation of the Czechoslovak government, they signed an agreement on the transfer of Germany to the Sudetenland, Cieszyn region to Poland and Transcarpathian Rus - Hungary. They obliged the Czechoslovak state to satisfy the claims against it within three months. France and Britain acted as guarantors of the "new borders of the Czechoslovak state."
The consequences are obvious. Already October 1 The Third Reich is sending troops into Czechoslovakia. Slovakia is instantly separated. October 2 Poland introduces troops in the Cieszyn region, and the Hungarians begin to occupy Transcarpathia. Since then, the National District of the Carpathoros is part of Hungary.
Soon the Nazis seized the rest of the Czech Republic, proclaiming the creation of a “protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”. They are trying to return to the times of the Austrian-German occupation of the country and begin its systematic Germanization. Hitler declares that a part of the Czechs are Aryans, they need to be Germanized and the rest destroyed. On what basis Germanize and destroy, he does not specify. Goebbels assumes that it is necessary to Germanise blondes, and to destroy brunettes ... Fortunately for the Czechs, this strong idea remains a theory, in practice it is not used.
March 13 in Slovakia an independent Slovak state emerges under the leadership of Tiso. It declares itself an ally of the Third Reich.
The government of Benesa is running abroad. It is in London until the end of the war.
In the USSR, the Munich Agreement was explained very simply: the Anglo-American and French bourgeoisie agreed with Hitler to incite him against the USSR.
In France, the Munich shame was explained by the lack of strength.
In Britain, the reluctance to shed the blood of the British because of the Czechs.
In the latter there is a grain of truth: after the unbelievable, monstrous losses of the First World, Western countries try to avoid any military clashes. The idea of “appeasing the aggressor” even at the cost of “surrendering” the allies in Eastern Europe seems to them more attractive than war.
- The British! I brought you peace! - Chamberlain shouts, going down the ramp after returning to Britain.
Churchill on this occasion said that Chamberlain wanted to avoid war at the cost of shame, but he received shame and war. Fair, because the Munich Treaty of 1938 of the year became a kind of mandate for the division of the world. It could not have happened if it were not for the psychological consequences of the First World War and its improbable losses.
But there are two more simple, quite rational reasons.
В stories with the division of Czechoslovakia, absolutely everything is not the way we were taught. The Third Reich does not act as an aggressor, but as a fighter for justice. Hitler wants to unite all Germans ... He performs the same task that Garibaldi and Bismarck performed. Hitler rescues the Germans, who do not want to live in a foreign state, in Czechoslovakia.
But Czechoslovakia is an empire! The Czechs in it impose their own language and their own orders on the Slovaks, Germans, Poles, and car-pators. This strange state has no long-standing tradition. It has a very remote relationship to the Czech kingdom of the Middle Ages. It arose only in the 1918 year, on the wreckage of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on the money of another empire - the Russian.
The Bolsheviks took the gold reserve of the Russian Empire to Kazan, fearing the German offensive in 1918. There, the gold reserve was captured by officer units of BO Kappel. Admiral A.V. disposed of this gold. Kolchak, as the Supreme Ruler. But the Czechs guarded it ... And when it smelled fried, they easily “grabbed” gold and surrendered the admiral to the Bolsheviks.
In December 1919, the Bolsheviks set a condition for the command of the Czechoslovak Corps: they would release the Czechs with all the gold of the Russian Empire, with all the loot ...
Such a state did not cause much respect and was deprived of legitimacy in the eyes of the West.
The second reason is that the Nazis are revolutionaries and socialists. This is very much appreciated in France - a country with a long tradition of the socialist movement. In the same year, 1919, the French corps had to be withdrawn from the south of Russia, because the Bolsheviks were very active in it.
Let me remind you - the Munich Agreement was signed by the same Edward Daladier, who personally presented the gold medal to Leni Riefenstahl. For the documentary film "Triumph of the Will".
In general, the position of the Third Reich and Hitler seemed in the West more attractive and even more noble than the position of Czechoslovakia and Benesh.
Position of the USSR
The USSR stands on the side of poor Czechoslovakia. September 21 he raises the "Czechoslovak question" in the League of Nations. The League of Nations is silent.
Then, on the instructions of the Soviet government, the head of the Czech Communists, C. Gottwald, handed over to President Behinsh: if Czechoslovakia begins to defend itself and asks for help, the USSR will come to its aid.
Noble? Handsomely? Probably ... But how could the USSR imagine such “help”? The USSR did not have a common border with Czechoslovakia then. In this case, Gottwald said: the USSR will come to the rescue, even if Poland and Romania refuse to let the Soviet troops pass.
If Benesh agreed, it could be so ...
The Third Reich strikes, enters the troops. The Czechoslovak army is trying to stop the aggressor. Naturally, Poland and Romania, the Soviet troops do not miss. Soviet troops enter Poland and Romania ... If they do not even reach Czechoslovakia and get bogged down in a war with these countries, a hotbed of war arises. Moreover, the future showed that the Western world is ready to stand up for the freedom of Poland.
Done: The Second World War began, with the West acting together with the Third Reich against the USSR.
The second option: the Soviet troops instantly crushed the Polish units, reached the borders of Czechoslovakia ... Yes, in time for the Slovak state, which is not at all eager to become one of the Soviet republics. And the Nazi tankers are already pulling levers, suggesting gun barrels ...
And in this case, the West - on the side of Hitler.
In general, the most disastrous version of the beginning of the war. Two assumptions are possible:
1) Stalin understood from the very beginning that he would be refused. A noble gesture will remain in the memory of nations a noble gesture.
2) Stalin hoped that first all participants in the events would get bogged down in the war and each other would be drained of blood. After all, it is not at all necessary to fulfill the allied duty right now ... For the time being, diplomatic squabbles will take place, while the noble position of the USSR will be brought to the whole world ...
Czechoslovakia will begin to resist, and the war with the Third Reich, and with Poland, and with Hungary "shines" with it ... And the Communists in all these countries immediately begin to fight with the external enemy, and with their governments.
Bloody mess, where nothing can be disassembled ... And after a month or two nightmares, the fresh Red Army will be piling on all the participants of the events ...