On 29th September 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement which transferred to Germany the Sudetenland, a fortified frontier region that contained a large German-speaking population. I know, not breaking news but bear with me.
When Eduard Benes, Czechoslovakia's head of state, who had not been invited to Munich, protested at this decision, Chamberlain told him that Britain would be unwilling to go to war over the issue of the Sudetenland.
The Munich Agreement was popular with most people in Britain because it appeared to have prevented a war with Germany. However, some politicians, including Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden, attacked the agreement. These critics pointed out that no only had the British government behaved dishonorably, but it had lost the support of Czech Army, one of the best in Europe.
One staunch critic of appeasement was the journalist Vernon Bartlett. He was approached by Richard Acland to stand as an anti-Chamberlain candidate at a by-election in Bridgwater. Bartlett agreed and in November, 1938, surprisingly won the previously safe Tory seat. Henry (Chips) Channon , a junior member of the government wrote in his diary: "This is the worst blow the Government has had since 1935".
In March, 1939, the German Army seized the rest of Czechoslovakia. In taking this action Adolf Hitler had broken the Munich Agreement. The British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, now realized that Hitler could not be trusted and his appeasement policy now came to an end. Sometimes it is simply right to fight because the activities of a certain state can clearly be characterised, as in the breaking of the Munich Agreement, as wrong.
To fight against wrong is always right, but how do you know what is wrong? I started to address this issue in the latest episode of The Good News Radio Show . It is, however, a complex issue - we are to be at war with evil but where is the dividing line between evil and something that's just undesirable? More on this in later articles.