War and Conflict

World War II

What was the Munich Pact?

It was a failed effort to appease the territory-and power-hungry German leader Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) in the days leading up to World War II (1939–45). After Germany annexed neighboring Austria in the Anschluss of March 1938, it became known that Hitler had designs on the Sudetenland, a heavily German region of Czechoslovakia. With World War I (1914–18) a fresh memory, and European nations still recovering from heavy losses, Europe’s powers were eager to avoid another conflict. On September 29 and 30, 1938, British prime minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in Munich; they were joined by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, a German ally, and French Premier Edouard Daladier, a Czech ally. Czechoslovakia did not have any representatives at the conference. The leaders quickly worked out a plan for Germany to occupy the Sudetenland. Chamberlain considered Czechoslovakia’s concession a reasonable price to pay for peace on the continent. But the effort to assuage Hitler was not successful: In March 1939 Germany moved to occupy the rest of Czechoslovakia; on September 1, Germany marched into Poland, and World War II began.


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