Gestern vor 78 Jahren haben Neville Chamberlain (Ministerpräsident Großbritanniens), Édouard Daladier (Ministerpräsident Frankreichs), Benito Mussolini (el Duce) und Adolf Hitler den Weg zur Besetzung des Sudentenlandes freigemacht (und damit zur Zerschlagung der Tschechoslowakei), die durch deutsche Truppen ab dem 1. Oktober 1938 auch erfolgt ist.
Das Münchner Abkommen ist eine jener historischen Fehleinschätzungen, für die Politiker zuweilen berühmt werden. Chamberlain, fest davon überzeugt, den Frieden in Europa gesichert zu haben, hat selbige Überzeugung zu Kamera gegeben und der Nachwelt erhalten.
Kritik hat Chamberlain für seine Appeasement-Politik vor allem von Winston Churchill erhalten. Ein paar Auszüge aus seiner berühmten Rede vor dem House of Commons am 5. Oktober 1938 illustrieren dies und machen deutlich, dass Churchill im Gegensatz zu Chamberlain sehr genau vorhergesehen hat, was auf Großbritannien und den europäischen Kontinent zukommt, wenn Appeasement und nicht Deterrence die Politik gegenüber Hitler Deutschland ist.
[…] The utmost my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been able to secure by all his immense exertions, by all the great efforts and mobilisation which took place in this country, and by all the anguish and strain through which we have passed in this country, the utmost he has been able to gain for Czechoslovakia in the matters which were in dispute has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.
The Prime Minister desires to see cordial relations between this country and Germany. There is no difficulty at all in having cordial relations between the peoples. Our hearts go out to them. But they have no power. But never will you have friendship with the present German Government. You must have diplomatic and correct relations, but there can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power cannot ever be the trusted friend of the British democracy.
What I find unendurable is the sense of our country falling into the power, into the orbit and influence of Nazi Germany, and of our existence becoming dependent upon their good will or pleasure. It is to prevent that that I have tried my best to urge the maintenance of every bulwark of defence – first, the timely creation of an Air Force superior to anything within striking distance of our shores; secondly, the gathering together of the collective strength of many nations; and thirdly, the making of alliances and military conventions, all within the Covenant, in order to gather together forces at any rate to restrain the onward movement of this power. It has all been in vain. Every position has been successively undermined and abandoned on specious and plausible excuses.
We do not want to be led upon the high road to becoming a satellite of the German Nazi system of European domination. In a very few years, perhaps in a very few months, we shall be confronted with demands with which we shall no doubt be invited to comply. Those demands may affect the surrender of territory or the surrender of liberty. I foresee and foretell that the policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press, for it will be said – indeed, I hear it said sometimes now – that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticised by ordinary, common English politicians. Then, with a Press under control, in part direct but more potently indirect, with every organ of public opinion doped and chloroformed into acquiescence, we shall be conducted along further stages of our journey.
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”