Revisiting Munich


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    I think one needs to look at British finances as well, which had been decimated after the Great War, and restoring the strength of the Pound was essential to a British economy that could fight another war. The Depression didn’t help, nor IIRC did Americans in refusing to flex loan terms.

    So my own quick brush of the history is the British were involved in substantial drawdowns on government expenses, including some fairly unpopular military reductions that Churchill participated in after 1919. After Munich, Britain ramped up for war. I think Chamberlain is portrayed as more naive than he really was.Report

    • Thanks for reminding us about that, I probably should have noted that in more detail above. Although Churchill was pushing for much bigger increases, it’s worth noting that British military expenditures didn’t start increasing at all until, IIRC, 1936-1937, more than tripling between 1935/36 and 1938/39. Those expenditures, of course, take time to work their way through the system, so their effects were probably just beginning to be felt at the time of Munich.Report

  2. Avatar Nob Akimoto says:

    At the very least, strategically Munich bought the UK a fair amount of time to modernize the RAF, which is a fairly significant matter. And as horrible as the Holocaust was, it does pale before the actual human cost of the first World War as an overall matter. It effectively destroyed Western Europe as the center of power in the world, helped ignite the Spanish Flu Pandemic, and all sorts of other nasty things. The ex-Entente was in no mood to sacrifice ten million more people (a figure which would probably have seemed low to them given the advances in military technology in the intervening 20 years) especially over territory that to them was rather peripheral to their own interests.Report

  3. Avatar Rj says:

    This Munich business has very little to do with whether WWII would have been less catastrophic. It’s all about the neoconservative hero narrative in which it’s always 1939, your average think tanker/columnist gets to dress up as Churchill and the other guys play Holocaust-causing appeasers.

    From Team B inveighing against non-existent Soviet weaponry in the ’70s through PNAC and others inveighing against non-existent Iraqi weaponry in ’02-’03, the one constant is the self-image of a lonely voice protecting civilization. Thinking of yourself this way feels good, even if it has very little connection to reality.Report

  4. Avatar Dave S. says:

    Sorry to beat a dead steppe pony but there was no “Hungarian Spring.” The Hungarian uprising took place in October; the Townhall keyboard whacker conflated Hungary and the 1968 Prague Spring.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    Wow, great post. I love the all-out assault on anti-appeasement argumentation. I think it’s quite obviously far and away the most destructive viewpoint in political discourse.

    Just to add to this:

    If hawks wish to claim that Chamblerlain’s actions at Munich were overly influenced by the fear of another WWI, then they should be willing to recognize that they may be overly influenced by the fear of another Cold War.

    1. Given that what ultimately transpired dwarfed the Great War in carnage, wasn’t Chamberlain of course justified even in hindsight in being quite heedful of that fear.

    2. Given that we won the Cold War and earned a huge peace dividend in the process, and could have done so with minimal casualties (barring Armageddon, of course) if not for bungled applications of sound geostrategic insights that lead to tragic loss of life in tangentially-related elective conflicts, really, what’s so, so scary about a new Cold War in the first place? I mean, when you bottom line it, the Ruskies could still nuke us out of existence any damn day they felt like it (and we them). The Cold War never ended, it just warmed over.Report