History, Politics & Society
World War 2

Why were the British people expecting war in September 1938?

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2015-01-08 00:45:34

If they were expecting war, it was not immediately between

Germany and themselves. Hitler at the time was making threats and

incursions against Czechoslovakia, but although Czechoslovakia was

'created' by the Allies (including Britain) after WW 1, a defense

treaty existed only between that country and France, not

Britain.

Up to then, Hitler had only annexed territories that had been

part of Germany anyway until 1918, and the Austrians had themselves

asked the Allies for a Union with Germany as far back as 1919 but

had been refused. Czechoslovakia also had been partly made up of

territories taken away from Germany after 1918 - most prominently

the Sudetenland. And is was generally agreed at the time that

Hitler's further-reaching ambitions were all directed eastward, not

against France or Britain.

So at the time the British people never felt themselves

threatened. But many feared that finally Britain would be dragged

into some military involvement by a country or ally crying out for

its help. So apart from a few 'cynics' like Winston Churchill, the

public in Britain generally stood firmly behind prime minister

Chamberlain's policy of containing Hitler's further ambitions by

the Munich treaty.


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