30th September 1938
British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, arrived back from Germany today and, at Heston Aerodrome, proclaimed:
“The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: ‘ … We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”
The British and German governments have come to an agreement on peace. Later at Downing Street, he pronounced:
“My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”
He was, of course, referring to Disraeli’s 1878 agreements at the Congress of Berlin. That congress didn’t resolve anything much, with a number of conflicts leading up to the Great War in 1914. It took 36 years for the big one to erupt. Let’s hope this agreement holds for longer than that.
The peace has not been bought cheaply, but the cost it seems goes to Czechoslovakia. They’ve been pretty much abandoned by the western powers and have little choice. Either they give up the Sudetenland, or go to war with Nazi Germany – alone. None of the western powers are prepared to back them and have effectively given Hitler everything he wanted to avoid war – even if it wasn’t theirs to give. Appeasement at great cost to the Czechs.