Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Agreement Concluded at Munich, between Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy, 29 September 1938

In August 1938, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler demanded that Czechoslovakia cede to Germany the Sudetenland, a portion of that state's territory the population of which was largely of ethnically German origin. The Czechs proclaimed their willingness to fight Germany and sought assistance in doing so from Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. While the latter state proclaimed its own willingness to aid the Czechs, Britain and France were far more reluctant to contemplate war. Eventually Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister, flew to meet Hitler at Berchtesgaden in Germany and, with French assistance, brokered an agreement whereby Czechoslovakia handed over the Sudetenland to Germany. Welcomed by many at the time and subsequently defended on the grounds that in September1938 Britain was militarily too ill-equipped to face war against Germany, the controversial Munich Agreement nonetheless quickly came to symbolize the interwar irresolution of the Western democracies in dealing with any serious threat to international peace and order.

GERMANY, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, taking into consideration the agreement, which has been already reached in principle for the cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory, have agreed on the following terms and conditions governing the said cession and the measures consequent thereon, and by this agreement they each hold themselves responsible for the steps necessary to secure its fulfilment:

1. The evacuation will begin on 1st October.

2. The United Kingdom, France and Italy agree that the evacuation of the territory shall be completed by the 10th October, without any existing installations having been destroyed, and that the Czechoslovak Government will be held responsible for carrying out the evacuation without damage to the said installations.

3. The conditions governing the evacuation will be laid down in detail by an international commission composed of representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia.

4. The occupation by stages of the predominantly German territory by German troops will begin on 1st October. The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order:

The territory marked No. I on the 1st and 2nd of October; the territory marked No. II on the 2nd and 3rd of October; the territory marked No. III on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of October; the territory marked No. IV on the 6th and 7th of October. The remaining territory of preponderantly German character will be ascertained by the aforesaid international commission forthwith and be occupied by German troops by the 10th of October.

5. The international commission referred to in paragraph 3 will determine the territories in which a plebiscite is to be held. These territories will be occupied by international bodies until the plebiscite has been completed. The same commission will fix the conditions in which the plebiscite is to be held, taking as a basis the conditions of the Saar plebiscite. The commission will also fix a date, not later than the end of November, on which the plebiscite will be held.

6. The final determination of the frontiers will be carried out by the international commission. The commission will also be entitled to recommend to the four Powers, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in certain exceptional cases, minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination of the zones which are to be transferred without plebiscite.

7. There will be a right of option into and out of the transferred territories, the option to be exercised within six months from the date of this agreement. A German-Czechoslovak commission shall determine the details of the option, consider ways of facilitating the transfer of population and settle questions of principle arising out of the said transfer.

8. The Czechoslovak Government will within a period of four weeks from the date of this agreement release from their military and police forces any Sudeten Germans who may wish to be released, and the Czechoslovak Government will within the same period release Sudeten German prisoners who are serving terms of imprisonment for political offences. . . .

ANNEX TO THE AGREEMENT

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the French Government have entered into the above agreement on the basis that they stand by the offer, contained in Paragraph 6 of the Anglo-French Proposals of 19 September, relating to an international guarantee of the new boundaries of the Czechoslovak State against unprovoked aggression.

When the question of the Polish and Hungarian minorities in Czechoslovakia has been settled, Germany and Italy for their part shall give a guarantee to Czechoslovakia.


Further Reading
J. Noakes and G. Pridham, eds., Nazism: A Documentary Reader 1919–1945, Vol. 3: Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination (Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 1988), 110–111. .
 

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