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Neville Chamberlain Re-examined

Discussion in 'World History' started by wildWolverine, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    The EU would cause itself massive economic difficulties if it did that, and it's completely incapable of responding militarily. I seem to remember you strongly arguing that the EU needed to focus on alternative energy sources to end their reliance upon Russian oil and gas.

    Britain and France - especially France - were actually in a MUCH better position in relation to Germany in 1938-39. No massive economic treaty with the USSR made Germany piss easy to isolate and blockade, and their militaries were strong enough to take it down fairly quickly. It would take time for the French to switch over from defensive strategic planning to offensive planning, but, considering Germany's distraction in Czechoslovakia - and potentially Poland - I doubt Germany could actually have held Czechoslovakia for more than a few months, if that.

    Considerably different to the Georgian situation. Transnistria, now that's another story. But we need to keep it around until it unleashes transgenic plagues on us all.

    They're not failures. They're merely temporary delays in the achievement of success.
     
  2. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Theres a commen belief that if a world war was started in 1938, Britian and France would have invaded Germany, the Nazis would have been defeated and Hitler would have been toppled. There would be peace in Europe for ever and ever.

    However when war was declared in September 1939 Britain and France were more than happy to sit behind the Maginot line and wait for Germany to attack for a good 9 months. Why would have this been different a year earlier?

    There are a lot of arguments that Chamberlain used that extra year to prepare Britian for war.

    And the fact that Daladier supposedly knew what was coming but did nothing anyway show that he is not a man worth even quoting. Particularly given France's proximity to Germany.

    Hitler's promise of 'no more demands' at Munich was a risk both Chamberlain and Daladier saw was worth taking. Rightly so.

    6 million more Jews? What the 35 odd million other Europeans?
     
  3. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    For one thing, General Beck - yes, the same guy behind Operation Valkyrie - offered the British a military coup to remove Hitler, if Britain and vowed to defend Czezhoslovakia, much as they later did Poland. Even if Beck failed - and he probably wouldn't as it doesn't take many people to pull ooff a coup - the resulting indecision and confusion in Germany would be more than enough for France and Britain to intervene.

    Assuming the coup didn't eventuate, I did already state that Czechoslovakia would be on its own until France could switch over to offensive planning. Even if France and Britain didn't invade, Germany didn't have a massive commercial treaty with the Soviet Union, or Czechoslovakia's industry and military materiel in 1938.

    Those arguments are wrong. Britain was more prepared in 1939 than 1938, yes, but Germany prepared far more in that year. In fact, it wasn't really until Hitler's complete occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 that Britain and France really began to prepare for war.

    Actually, Daladier was one of the most competent French leaders of the Third Republic. If he hadn't acquiesced to British pressure to sign the pact, he'd be thrown out of office, and a far less suitable person would have been installed. As it was, Daladier and Reynaud - his successor - were cleared of any culpability for France's dismal performance in the war, and Vichy's leaders - who were military and political leaders at the time of Munich - were found culpable. This occured in a trial in Vichy France during the occupation, which makes it even more blindingly obvious whose fault it was France collapsed. Daladier didn't have a choice in the matter.

    Yeah, right, it was worth taking. Forgetting a little thing that happened afterwards called WWII are we? Hitler spelt out his entire programme in Mein Kampf. He was clearly not going to stop.

    I said; "for one thing."
     
  4. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    No. Anybody who had read what he wrote in Mein Kampf, who had paid attention at intelligence briefings must have known what Hitler's plans were. He wasn't very secretive about it.

    To post another funny analogy, surrendering at munich was tantamount to agreeing to hand over your only gun to a guy who has publicly announced that he plans to kill you.

    If the war had erupted in 1938, it would have been a massacre for Czechoslovakia, but in the long term, Germany would have found itself in an impossible possition: no early alliance with the Soviets = no grain, oil and other raw materials from the Soviet Union; no Czechoslovak army's stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, tanks etc. captured intact / no Czechoslovak industry captured intact = lower war production; no early victory over Poland = no lessons of blitzkrieg learned and the Wehrmacht ends up with a much less effective doctrine.

    In the end, Hitler would try to invade the West and fail. German army would get bogged down in Belgium and the Ardennes and the war turns into a repetition of WW1. While German economy struggles, French and British economy mobilizes for war. The Soviets continue their military buildup. Poland desperately tries to maintain it's neutrality. Italy stays out of the war. Germany is left without allies, resources and a military advantage.

    Eventually, it either crumbles as in 1918 or the Soviets (with the Poles or without them) join the war and seal Germany's fate. The second great war ends after four bloody years. Germany is forced to sign another Versailles like treaty, or it is occupied by the Soviet and Franco-British forces. Czechoslovakia is liberated, Austria is once again separated from the German Reich.

    No holocaust, no invasion of Russia, no millions of dead Europeans. Sound like a MUCH better alternative to OTL WW2.
     
  5. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Without going into much OT here:


    More than a half of the Russian export goes to the EU. Russian economy would simply collapse in a year or two if the EU embargoed Russia. It would, without any doubt, harm the EU economically, but not nearly as much as Russia.

    The "reliance" on Russian oil and gas is not really an issue in Western Europe and Czechia, which have an access to alternate sources of both. It would be an issue in the Baltic States, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Balkans. Today, only about 1/3 of natural gas and even lesses percentage of oil is imported from Russia. It is projected to rise sharply in the future, but in 2008, it would be entirely possible for the EU to deal with a complete oil/gas embargo from Russia.

    What's important here that Russia can't sell its oil and gas to anybody except Europe. So while the EU is partially reliant on Russian resources, Russia is almost totally reliant on the EU to buy them. Without oil/gas revenues, the Russian GDP would plummet rapidly. They'd soon go bankrupt.

    This leads me to the conclusion that if the EU had the balls, it could easily have forced Russia into some acceptable form of cease fire. But of course, that wouldn't be the EU we all know so well :crazyeye: Why do something against an aggressor when you can trade with him? It's true for about every crackpot regime on the planet.
     
  6. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    Fair enough. But would it even be possible to enact such an embargo, or would the states that do rely on Russian oil and gas simply ignore the embargo? I seem to recall Bulgaria being absolutely desperate for gas at the start of the year, for instance.
     
  7. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Actually, Daladier had the agreement- with the USSR to protect Czechoslovakia. Not Chamberlain. There was no one else in Europe more able to move into an unprotected western Germany than the French. Either in 1938 or 1939/40.

    I agree Hitler spelt out his plans in Mein Kampf and it astounds me that no one took it seriously. IIRC the only man to vent his anger at the Munich agreement in British Parliment was the great sir Winston. Maybe he read Mein Kampf.

    And those honourable German generals who would have acted if only Britain did this or France did that......If any one of them believed in the principles they preached at Nuremburg Hitler would have been dead long before Sept 3 1939. It takes 1 man to pull out a pistol and shoot.

    Whose to say a second world war wouldn't have started in 1938 instead of 1939? Whose to say it would have been any less prolonged or violent? Once again, pure speculation.
     
  8. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    What does this have to do with the fact that it was British pressure that got Daladier to sign the Pact? Daladier couldn't go to war without Britain, public opinion wouldn't have allowed it.

    I think Winston just understood warfare better than most MPs, having fought in two of them himself, and been a major political figure during one as well. There were others who denounced the Pact, but none nearly as strongly as Churchill. Most of them later became members of Churchill's War Ministry, as he trusted their judgement.

    Most of those German generals were long dead before Nuremburg. Many of them were killed by Hitler during the course of the war. You're thinking of Nazi war criminals, who hardly had strong morals.

    Also, merely shooting Hitler wouldn't do much. You have to overthrow his government. A dead Hitler is a martyred Hitler, and one of his Lieutenants - likely Goering in 1938, though Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich and others are all possibilities - would simply take over, kill anyone he believed involved in the murder (or considered a rival) and would probably be forced to continue Hitler's policies, even if he didn't personally agree with them, due to public pressure. An assassination is not a coup.

    *sigh* Have you paid any attention? Germany was completely incapable of a successful war with the West in 1938. They had no commercial treaty with the Soviets, a weaker military, no Czech heavy industry, etc..

    The Allies may also have been less prepared for war in 1938, but they were far more prepared than Hitler. If we lookk at a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most prepared and 1 the least, in 1939 Germany would be a 7, France a 6 and Britain a 5. In 1938, it would be more like Germany 3, France 4, Britain 3. Still not very good numbers for the Allies, but considerably better on a relative scale than a year later.

    It's not a matter of "pure speculation." It's simple mathematics. Germany was completely outclassed in 1938. She was far less so in 1939.
     
  9. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Agreed, Hitler spelt out his plans quite clearly in mein Kampf but he also spelt out his outrageous ideas on political ideollogy and the master race. Who would take these ideas seriously?

    The fact that they nailed Poland in 3 weeks shows that blitzkreig didn't need a practise run. With or without Czechoslovakia's 'stockpile' of weapons, or industry.

    Germany had a impossible situation right from the start of the war. The war still dragged on for almost 6 years though.

    BTW your fictionalised 'what if' on how the warwould have panned out is fascinating. You should write a fiction novel.

    NOT
     
  10. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    Poland was defeated by a far superior military force, enlarged by the addition of Czechoslovakia's weapons and industry, which DID encounter problems with the new Blitzkrieg doctrine, which were ironed out afterwards. Those sorts of problems didn't really matter in Poland, but France is a whole different story.

    Germany held on for 6 years due to the German-Soviet Commercial Agreement and its later expansions. Ironically, this is also what enabled Operation: Barbarossa. From the link:

     
  11. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    80 million Germans? :dunno:

    Because the invasion itself was a practice run. Blitzkrieg as we know it was born in the plains of Poland. The operation plan against the Poles was fairly conventional, but thanks to the great successes of armored spearheads and the Luftwaffe, German army as a whole gradually adopted "blitzkrieg" as their official doctrine.

    Stop downplaying it, it's lame. You're falling to the same trap as many others - in hindsight, you see German power as nearly unstoppable in the early years of WW2, whereas the real situation was very different. Eventually, not even the German military believed in a quick success in the West. It was plan and a series of accidents which led to its adoption, which allowed Germany to win so quickly. If they followed the original plan, the war in the West would most likely resemble WW1.

    Now imagine Germany without the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (no resources, no calm in the East allowing Germany to send most of its forces to the West), without the Czech equipment (which played an important role in the French campaign), without the industrial output of Bohemia/Moravia (20-30% of German industrial production in the early years of the war), without any allies, blockaded and demoralized (Germans had only became enthusiastic about the war after the initial easy victories).

    The war would be shorter and MUCH less devastating.

    Take your sarcasms and shove them. Unless you can point out where exactly am I being wrong, why and back it up with some solid reasoning, you're not in position to scoff at my fictional scenarios :p
     
  12. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Poland was defeated by the blitzkreig doctrine.

    18 days!

    It wasn't a case of more men, equipment and the occasional extra Czech made tank. But the fact that Germany had moved on from trench warfare while the rest of the world hadn't.

    In the 16 month trade agreement Germany had with the USSR they managed to stockpile enough raw materials to last them for the next 50 months?
     
  13. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    I certainly don't see Germany as unstoppable and thats been my point from the get go. Genral Adam (you might need to google him) as well as the majority of German generals were stressing about the idea of war. In 1938 and in 1939. With the exception of Keitel of course. If anyone was

    The French and British did nothing in 1939 just the same as they would have a year earlier. Back up your claims that 20- 30% of German military output came from Bohemia-Moravia.

    The Molotov- Ribbentrop pact was just as helpful to the Soviets as it was to the Germans. If Stalin was too blind to see what was coming that was his own fault. But he did know that any Soviet declaration of war against Germany would take a far greater commitment that what was required by Britian.

    What allies did Germany have in the early years of the war? Italy didn't declare until June 1940 and the rest of them until a year later.

    And to your last point....how can I disprove something that only ever existed in your head?

    BTW your smiley faces really help to ram home your points. Am I talking to a 15 year old girl???
     
  14. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    Really? Wow! All this time I thought Poland won! There were still minor teething problems, as there are with any new military doctrine. Overall it performed admirably. But would you really want to break out a completely new, untested military strategy on France? It's not exactly Poland, it's a heavy-hitter, and Germany beat it as much through luck as skill.

    That's funny, Charles De Gaulle's book, published in 1934, clearly outlined a policy almost identical to Blitzkrieg. America and Britain focused on strategic bombing. Russia had its own Blitzkrieg-style doctrine, the name of which I can't remember. It wasn't as good as Blitzkrieg, but it was hardly trench warfare. Japan focused on manpower and manoeuvring over machinery, but they still didn't focus on trench warfare. Even France's focus on fortification and defence wasn't even close to trench warfare. Seems like most of the world had moved on from trench warfare, doesn't it?

    Blitzkrieg only works if you have an advantage in men and materiel over your enemy. Germany had a far greater advantage in men and materiel in September 1939 than they did in September 1938, largely due to their seizure of Czech materiel and industry.

    Yes. Why wouldn't they be able to? You do understand just how much they purchased from the USSR, don't you? Read the link I provided. Here it is again. Here is the 1940 agreement, and the 1941 agreement, both of which increased Russian exports to Germany further.

    If Germany hadn't signed those two commercial agreements with the Soviets, they would have actually run out of rubber and grain before Operation: Barbarossa. They'd have run out of oil and manganese by October 1941. Those are pretty much the four most important resources - excepting manpower - that a military needs to fight a war in the modern world.

    (bolding mine)

    It's patently obvious from all the sources I've provided that the German Soviet Commercial Agreements, of which there were none in 1938, were absolutely vital to the war effort, both in its launch and continued prosecution. And if Germany was so low on such key resources in 1939, even after adding Czechoslovakia to the Reich, how much more pressing would their need have been in 1938?

    This is a strawman. Winner said it provided "20-30% of German industrial production in the early years of the war." Not the whole thing, and not military output alone. Czechoslovakia was a major supplier of consumer goods to the Reich. Though I don't know where Winner is getting the exact figures from, I can still attest thatseizing Czechoslovakia's military and industry was incredibly vital to the Reich.

    (bolding mine)

    Also, as I stated before, France and Britain didn't have to do anything except declare that they would defend Czechoslovakia. The Wehrmacht would take care of the rest by overthrowing the Nazi government. You may want to read this Wiki page, not just for what I'm quoting, but because it happens to be the page on the Munich Pact.

    (bolding and red mine)

    If Britain and France had merely given the word, Hitler would be overthrown. Even if the Nazi Party retained power, it wouldn't be as strong without its inspirational leader, and Goering had no intention of going to war. He's actually the guy who drafted the agreement behind Hitler's back, which Hitler wasn't happy with. Munich also gave Hitler confidence that Britain and France would do nothing to combat him in Poland, making him more aggressive there as well.

    Except for territory - which Russia recevied more of in the Pact than Germany -, all of which it lost within weeks of the German invasion, the Soviets gained little tangible from the Germans. The treaty was supposed to give them a great many things, but little of that had actually been done by the time Germany invaded, and Russia didn't have the time to properly adjust their industrial output to the production of such German materiel as Bismarck-class battleships anyway.

    Germany gained far more, not just economically as previously stated, but militarily as well.

    The Soviet Union was a non-belligerent ally until Operation: Barbarossa. They even conducted a few joint operations. Hungary also assisted in the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

    In addition to this, many nations, such as Bulgaria, were pro-German, even though they didn't actually join the Axis until later. Bulgaria and Hungary participated in the partitions of Rumania and Yugoslavia with Germany, Italy and Russia, for instance. Also, Hungary, Slovakia and Rumania joined the Axis in 1940, not "a year later." Japan was already part of it.

    But in 1938, Germany would have had no Allies. Hungary wasn't going to invade Czechoslovakia if Britain and France guaranteed its borders with military force, especially if Hitler were overthrown by his own military and no German invasion took place. Russia had guaranteed Czechoslovakia's borders itself, and would likely have joined the war against Germany had it invaded Czechoslovakia, rather than being given the country.

    Poland probably would have attacked also. Even Italy was upset by Germany's annexation of Austria. In 1938, Germany would be completely isolated.

    Should be quite easy. If you have the facts on your side, you can show how the outcome Winner proposes is not actually feasible. It's not even that hard, Wiki's a good enough source for that. Failing Wiki, Google should find you something.

    No, but it appears that Winner and I may well be. You're speaking to Winner, who, while I don't always agree with him, is a smart enough guy. And I happen to be doing an honours degree in International Relations. You're the one resorting to childish name-calling and sarcasm, without backing your claims one way or the other.
     
  15. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    There were a number of post war theorists who looked at 'indirect attack' Liddle Hart was one at the forefront. There a difference though to putting something down on paper, and building up your nation's army for that purpose. And then putting it into practise.

    Nothing that Britian and France did from 09/39-05/40 showed that they had embraced the new concept of war. The plan was to let the Germans bleed themselves on the Maginot line and then meet them in Belgium. The whole defensive minded attitude is as far removed from the agression of Blitzkrieg you can get.

    You need an advantage of men and materiels for Blitzkreig to work? Any numerical advantages, if any were marginal in the west and non existent in Russia.

    Granted, the Soviets gave germany a lot of raw material but I'm still not convinced this wouldn't have happened if the world war started in 1938. For much of the 20s and 30s the British had a total mistrust of the Soviets and a dismissal of their military prowess. It was only in the last year of peace that they went to Russia, cap in hand and decided they wanted an alliance. Stalin laghed at them.

    By siding with Hitler, Stalin got 3 extra years of peace (supposing it all kicked off in 1938) , and a free hand at bullying any of his smaller neighbours.

    Both Hungary and Poland were more than happy to take their little slices of Czech territory when given the chance and I can't imagine either of them would allow Soviet troops right of passage over their land- or airspace to meet the Germans.

    I don't buy the Whole general Beck if only.... No one else in Germany was more akin to Hitler's plans than the generals. No one else in Germany was more able to have him killed. If they truely cared about Germany's future, more than how their actions were interpreted Hitler would be a dead man, many years before 1945.

    I apologise if I've hurt your's or Winner's feelings. I'm not the only one here posting sarcastic comments. I never questioned your intellegence, but I do question that everything you post refers to Wiki and how every point you make comes from this 1 source. It takes no great amount of knowledge to toggle between Wiki and CFC and simply regurgitate facts.

    Shirer's book 'Rise and fall of the Third Reich' would be a good place to start. Its a big book, but its worth it.
     
  16. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Actually when I looked up the numbers, I found it was less, between 10%-20% percent (but the significance of the Czech region rose later in the war due to its relative safety from Allied bombing) (source)

    Thanks for supporting my argument - do you think Italy would have joined the war if it wasn't impressed by the stunning German victory in France? I doubt it. I also doubt than anybody else would get on board a sinking ship, and that includes Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria or Finland.

    You could start by refuting my basis premises, so far you've failed.

    You're not that lucky :p Smileys are here to be used, if you don't like them, your problem.
     
  17. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Germany invades Czechoslovakia, Britian and France declare war. It would take longer to over run them than it did Poland, but it would have happened anyway.

    A defeatist France and an unprepared Britain wait for Germany to attack and when they do the western allies are defeated. Probably not as quickly as in 1940 but decisively anyway. The main reason for the Germans not being as strong is a lack of airpower and Panzer IIIs and IVs. Not a lack of Czech built tanks.

    The wily Hitler assures Poland of his friendliness (IIRC they had a non agression pact already signed) and Poland, happy to grab a slice of Czechoslovakia hopes Germany will be her protector. Lets not forget, Poland's main fear during the 20s and 30s was Russia. Much the same as the right wing government in Hungary. When all the other Eastern European countries later joined the Axis it was because of their fear of Stalin.

    As for Russia, once again Hitler was canny enough to keep Stalin in check. The Soviet Union wanted bits and peices of their neighbours in Eastern Europe and Hitler didn't mind giving him the green light. Lets not forget, Britian and France contemplated intervening in the 'Winter War' in 1939. Although Hitler wasn't happy about it he did very little, knowing his time would come.

    The Soviets had nothing to gain from fighting the Germans just because Britain and France did. They wanted nothing to do with the Soviets until it was too late. A willing trade partner and someone who guarenteed them he wouldn't act when he took the Baltic states, on Germany's borders.

    Just like Britain and France, the Soviet Union didn't see Czechoslovakia worth starting a massive war over, they had their own fish to fry. Stalin didn't want war with Germany.

    Your 'basic premisis' as so fractured I've forgotten what your main points were. I've based mine on what actually happened later. I've condensed it as much as possible because you seem to be blind to my points. To put it into 2 simple sentences:

    Britain and france got smashed in 1940 just as they would have a year earlier. Stalin preffered a friendly Germany than a beligerent one, and thats why he signed the non agression pact in 1939 insted of joining the western allies.
     
  18. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    [Evidence for assertions]

    Wait, I've found it. There isn't any. You've just decided that what held true for history, would necessarily hold true adjusting for circumstances. I'm going to call that out as a fallacy of composition. If A --> B --> C therefore A --> B1 ---> C where B is the Munich Agreement and B1 is Czechoslovakia gaining support from the Western Allies, A & C are assumed constants. It doesn't necessarily follow as Sharwood and Winner have pointed out.
     
  19. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    If you're saying that C will be different because of B1, explain why.

    The only way to judge a possible B1 - given that its a 'what if', is to look at A-->B-->C and to prove how/why B-->C would differ from B1-->C. I don't Think it would.
     
  20. Sharwood

    Sharwood Rich, doctor nephew

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    Actually, I've explained why B1--> Cwould differ from B-->C. It is now your job to refute it. So how about you come up with some sort of evidence, or theory, to show how I'm wrong? Or you could admit that you've been wrong all along, rather than just pretending my argument is false because Wikipedia has somehow been taken over by evil Czech revisionist-historians.
     

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