Munich 1938: historical lessons should teach many things / News / News agency Inforos
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Munich 1938: historical lessons should teach many things

Documents reveal details of the Munich Agreement, or rather Betrayal, that Western leaders concluded with Hitler in 1938

Munich 1938: historical lessons should teach many things
Context:

            The Inforos.ru website got a large set of documents earlier declassified by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service that deal with the Munich Agreement signed on September 30, 1938. This agreement that was signed by Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, allowed Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia and thus start WW II.

            Of course, the Foreign Intelligence Service for quite obvious reasons didn't declassify all of documents regarding the activity of the Soviet intelligence related to the Munich Agreement. However, this amount of unclassified documents, and there are more 250 documents on almost 1,000 pages, is enough to make a trustworthy picture of what was happening prior and after the conclusion of the Munich Agreement.

            Not that the Soviet Union knew nothing about Paris and London striking a deal with Hitler and ultimately pushing him towards the division of Czechoslovakia alienating the Sudeten region. But as the saying goes "there can never be much truth." And the documents intended for supreme Soviet leaders convincingly prove that Chamberlain and Daladier, who then were prime ministers of the United Kingdom and France, prepared a meeting with Hitler and Mussolini. Moreover, the documents prove that British and French ambassadors in Prague twisted the arms of then Czechoslovakia's President Eduard Benes urging him to put up with the loss of a part of his country's territory. Moreover, Czechoslovakia was demanded to void mutual assistance agreements with other countries, including the Soviet Union.

            Naturally, we cannot go into detail about each unclassified document of the Foreign Intelligence Service on the Munich Agreement, but some of them are worth looking into more deeply. For example, the secret memorandum No. 8604 dated September 20, 1938 from Prague on the need of Germany's annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten region.

            The document proves that British Ambassador Newton and his French counterpart de Lacroix on behalf of Chamberlain and Daladier passed a message to Czechoslovakia's Prime Minister Milan Hodza saying, "Guided by the high principles of keeping peace in Europe, they think that it is necessary to attach the Sudeten region to Germany. The system of pacts on mutual assistance between Czechoslovakia and other states is annulled. In turn, all countries neighboring Czechoslovakia plus France and England ensure the inviolability of its borders."

            Having received this information, Soviet leaders undertook extraordinary measures seeking to put some kind of a barrier to Hitler's aggression. Moscow offered Prague to deploy four fighter aviation regiments in Czechoslovakia in an attempt to boost the capabilities of its military aviation. But Prague rejected this Moscow's proposal under pressure from London and Paris…

            It is valuable that the Foreign Intelligence Service's documents are the firsthand information that has not been subject to any analytical processing, these are source materials. By the way, Stalin didn't like analytical reports much. The Soviet leader liked being reported mere facts believing that he is capable of analyzing them and making proper conclusions himself. It's not surprising that analytical department appeared within Soviet intelligence services only in 1943, when the amount of intelligence grew manifold.

            Declassified Soviet intelligence documents about 1938 expose details of extensive communication between European embassies and their foreign ministries. In particular, the British ambassador in Warsaw sent a telegram to the Foreign Office saying that if Germany intruded Czechoslovakia, the Polish leadership would annex Cieszyn Silesia, which actually happened. This means that Poland also took part in the division of Czechoslovakia.

            Moreover, the documents prove that Warsaw was ready at that time to carry out subversive activities against the Soviet Union utilizing "white emigres" living in Poland. This is quite an uncommon fact in Russia that was hushed up for a long time, as the Polish People's Republic was for a long time part of the Socialist commonwealth. A special message of the foreign department of the Main Directorate of State Security said that the second department of the Polish General Staff "worked against the USSR with the help of national elements of white emigration."

            It is absolutely obvious today that the Munich meeting was just a maneuver of the British and French diplomacy who tried to justify themselves before the international community for Germany's annexation of the Sudeten region. Politicians in London and Paris tried to appease Hitler so that he didn't wage a war on Europe. But they made his appetite just grow.

            Many historians are right to think that the Munich meeting on September 29-30, 1938 and the concluded agreement provoked WWII, as Hitler felt his impunity and Europe's support, namely on behalf of Britain and France, and eventually annexed the Sudeten region. And the Soviet intelligence timely reported to the Kremlin on all these things.

            There are documents that directly dealt with the Soviet Union among materials declassified by the Foreign Intelligence Service. For example, a message from Lavrentiy Beria, then chief of NKVD that comprised foreign intelligence, to Comrade Stalin received from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Hitler and Ribbentrop were resolved to speed up intervention in the USSR. Noteworthy, that was two and a half years before Germany attacked the Soviet Union! This message is just another proof that the Soviet intelligence had warned the leadership long before June 22, 1941 that Hitler was ready to wage a war on the USSR.

            However, Stalin didn't trust intelligence much and was sure that Germany wouldn't start a war against the Soviet Union. Everybody knows well what that resulted in. Our country lost about 27 million people in the Great Patriotic War…

            More than 80 years passed after the Munich Agreement, but the events of that time should teach the right lesson even today. First of all, it is worth remembering that never can an aggressor be encouraged and danced to his pipe. One should always be ready to offer resistance. Today, the situation when the United States of America is preoccupied with global dominance and doesn’t want to give up the functions of a global policeman resembles the events that took place 80 years ago. It is well known what was the end of the global dominance pretender. One wouldn't like the history repeat itself, although with some nuances…

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