What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

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wm
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by wm » 05 Oct 2023 11:02

Pavel Novak wrote:
05 Oct 2023 10:33
But major difference will be that there will be no Munich crisis as developed in reality as it required leader like Chamberlain to repeatedly fly to Germany for repeated negotiations (and humiliations) with Hitler and I really doubt that Churchill had any desire for it.
Yes, that would be a problem, but actually for both of them. Facing such a formidable and bellicose negotiator, Hiter wouldn't be so brave himself.

But let's not forget Hitler really wanted that war and felt cheated when war was prevented.

ljadw
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 05 Oct 2023 15:25

Pavel Novak wrote:
05 Oct 2023 10:33
Steve wrote:
02 Oct 2023 21:47
In 1937 Churchill published a book of collected essays entitled Great Contemporaries in which he assessed Hitler. He attacked “the darker side of his work and creed” and his Jewish policy and internal repression. He also wrote the following:- “the story of that struggle cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate or overcome, all the authority or resistance which barred his path.”

In July 1938 Churchill was asked by the Gauleiter of Danzig whether German discriminatory legislation against Jews would prevent an understanding with Britain. Churchill said “it was a hindrance and an irritation but probably not a complete obstacle to a working agreement, though it might be to comprehension”.

If Churchill had been PM in September 1938 he would have had the same advice from the Chiefs of Staff as Chamberlain had. This was that the fall of Czechoslovakia could not be prevented that Britain could come under aerial bombing and that only two divisions were available to help the French. Not surprisingly the French seem to have been no keener to fight in 1938 than they were in 1939. There was also the Czech alliance with the Soviet Union to take into account. Chamberlain said he had no wish to see the Red Army in Vienna. The British public did not view the Sudetenland as an issue worth going to war over and the Empire was divided. I think it very likely that if Churchill had been in power during the Munich crisis he would have done the same as Chamberlain.
I think that Churchill in Chamberlain position in 1938 would be more cautios from mentioned reasons.

But major difference will be that there will be no Munich crisis as developed in reality as it required leader like Chamberlain to repeatedly fly to Germany for repeated negotiations (and humiliations) with Hitler and I really doubt that Churchill had any desire for it.

So it could develop that there will be lot of rumblings, lot of warnings but no serious negotiations at all as Germany refused to negotiate directly with Czechoslovakia. At the end at some point Germany would just launch "unexpected" invasion of Czechoslovakia as they actually planned and British and French leaders would havo to decide if stay away from it or join it but without possibility to prevent it.
There would still be a'' Munich negotiation '', not crisis ,as the Czechs refused initially to give the Sudetenland ,and changed their opinion,because it became obvious that when Hitler would attack them,Britain and France would declare war , but would/could not help the Czechs .
And this would not be different,if Churchill was PM and nothing would change if he did not go to Munich ,besides he went to Yalta and Potsdam, thus,why not go to Munich .
The only thing Britain could do ( and would do if France declared war )was to declare war,but it could not help Prague .The result of such a DOW would be a German occupation of Czechia and a war of 6 years ,where the Czechs would suffer .
The only thing Britain wanted was to prevent a general war and the only way to do this was to prevent a war between Germany and the Czechs,and the only way to prevent such a war,was to force the Czechs to say yes to Hitler .

Pavel Novak
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by Pavel Novak » 05 Oct 2023 19:32

Maybe there would be negotiations with similar result to Munich one as threat of war could compel politicians to do something about it. But I have specifically reacted to idea that Churchill would be prime minister in 1938 and my doubt that Churchill would fly to Germany repeatedly like Chamberlain for meetings with Hitler.

Without these meetings the road to "Munich negotiation" would be significantly hindered and so I think that more probable in that case is German surprise invasion of Czechoslovakia as this was what Germany planned and what Hitler demanded. Why would he change mind if nobody comes to him to convince him to give up his war?

Czechoslovakia could not prevent such invasion on its own as Germany has refused to negotiate with Czechoslovakia and thus Czechoslovakia could not accept any German demands as there were no concrete German demands officially presented by Germany to Czechoslovakia. It required Chamberlain's mediation to get to it. This is kinda similar to that elusive German peace proposal to Britain in 1940 - lot of talks but nothing on paper.

In military terms I agree that Czechoslovakia could not withstand German invasion. But that is something which wasn't questioned by contemporary czechoslovak military leadership. Whole czechoslovak military strategy was based on forcing Germany to allocate vast majority of its forces against Czechoslovakia so French invasion of Germany would be practically unopposed. It was successful in drawing most of German army to Czechoslovak borders (out of all German army only three german active divisions were not allocated to Czechoslovakia) but without French invasion it would be pointless and just matter of time - but again not a choice for Czechoslovakia.

ljadw
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Re: What if Neville Chamberlain never became Prime Minister?

Post by ljadw » 05 Oct 2023 20:42

[quote="Pavel Novak" post_id=2496077 time=1696530744 user_id=135 Whole czechoslovak military strategy was based on forcing Germany to allocate vast majority of its forces against Czechoslovakia so French invasion of Germany would be practically unopposed.
[/quote]

This was an illusion : France would /could not invade Germany when the majority of the French forces were committed against CZ .For a French attack,the presence of a strong BEF would be needed,and even then,it was very unlikely that France would start an offensive against Germany .
The non written ''alliance '' between France and CZ had for the French only one aim = that CZ would attack Germany if Germany attacked France,and in 1938 there was no danger that Germany could/would do this .
The French expected that Czechs would die to help France,if needed, not that French would die for CZ if this was needed .

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