The Munich Conference was a diplomatic meeting held in Munich, Germany, in September 1938, in which the leaders of Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany gathered to discuss the future of Czechoslovakia. The conference was called in response to the German demands for the annexation of the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia inhabited by a German-speaking minority.
At the conference, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier agreed to allow Germany to annex the Sudetenland in exchange for a promise from German Chancellor Adolf Hitler to respect the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia. The agreement, known as the Munich Agreement, was signed on September 30, 1938.
The Munich Conference is widely regarded as a failure of appeasement policy towards Nazi Germany, as the agreement did not prevent Germany from eventually invading and annexing the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. The Munich Agreement is also seen as a significant moment in the lead-up to World War II, as it showed the willingness of European powers to make concessions to Hitler and demonstrated the ineffectiveness of diplomatic efforts to prevent the escalation of the war.
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Neville Chamberlain is a British politician of the Conservative Party who served as Prime minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement on 30 September 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany.
Following the Versailles Treaty, a 3-million ethnic German minority, known as the Sudeten, was left living in Northern Czechoslovakia. In 1933, an ultra-nationalist party was formed there. It called for autonomy, which the Czech government refuse to grant. So, the Sudeten turned to Hitler, demanding full incorporation into Germany.
At the Munich Conference, on September 29-30, 1938, in the absence of a delegation from Czechoslovakia or its Soviet ally, Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier agreed on German annexation of the region. France and Britain put pressure on their Czech ally in the hope that war could be averted.
Chamberlain returned to London in triumph. Large crowds mobbed Heston, where he was met by the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Clarendon, who gave him a letter from King George VI assuring him of the Empire’s lasting gratitude and urging him to come straight to Buckingham Palace to report. The streets were so packed with cheering people that it took Chamberlain an hour and a half to journey the nine miles from Heston to the Palace. After reporting to the King, Chamberlain and his wife appeared on the Palace balcony with the King and Queen. He then went to Downing Street; both the street and the front hall of Number 10 were packed.
- Appeasement policy