Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslovakia?

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Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslovakia?

Post by Futurist » 31 Mar 2019 23:12

Would Britain's and France's policies in 1938 (specifically appeasement towards Adolf Hitler and throwing Czechoslovakia under the bus) have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslovakia? This would have eliminated the Soviet need to go through either Poland or Romania to get to Czechoslovakia--which would have reduced the risk of these countries being puppetized by the USSR in the event of a general European war breaking out over Czechoslovakia.

This can be achieved by having the Soviet Union agree to make peace with Poland when Poland was in a bad military position in 1920 instead of advancing up to Warsaw in the hopes of conquering all of Poland. This would require the Soviet leadership in 1920 to see some sense and conclude that the Poles are unlikely to be willingly Bolshevized and that thus it's better to let the Poles keep a rump independent Poland while having the USSR expand up to the Curzon Line.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Apr 2019 06:54

In these circumstances, the USSR would have been in a position to bounce the French into supporting Czechoslovakia at Munich. The British, who, alone of the three, had no military obligations to Czechoslovakia, might well have then been obliged to back the French.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by wm » 02 Apr 2019 15:01

Stalin didn't intend to help Czechoslovakia so it wouldn't change anything.
The reason he didn't want to help was there was nothing in it for him.
Luckily, we know what President Beneš thought of Stalin's involvement in the Czechoslovak-German crisis of 1938. During World War II and even later, Beneš would make a number of flattering statements about the Kremlin and its role in the Munich affair. But he saw through the Soviet charade.

In the fall of 1947 Beneš pointed out that Fierlinger's claims about Soviet readiness to assist the Prague government in 1938 and the official Czechoslovak propaganda were "utterly false."

"The truth is that the Soviets did not want to help us," said Beneš, and he added that Moscow "acted deceitfully."
The president then returned to the questions he had presented at the height of the crisis to Minister Aleksandrovsky: "I asked him three questions, whether the Soviets would help us, and I repeated them. He did not answer, he never answered. That was the main reason why I capitulated."
Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukes

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Futurist » 02 Apr 2019 20:36

Would the opportunity to puppetize Czechoslovakia and make it Communist be worth noting to Stalin?

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by wm » 03 Apr 2019 12:30

That would be a worthy goal but Czechoslovakia was too strong for that, the Czechs/Slovaks/Germans would unite against the Soviets immediately.

The tried that in Spain, in more favorable circumstances and failed miserably.
And actually, the Soviet refused the Czechs' pleas for help on September 29th with "Soviet intervention would create another Spain", "with all the horrible consequences for all of Europe and especially Czechoslovakia."

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Futurist » 03 Apr 2019 16:50

The Czechs did mostly vote for Communists in 1946 in real life, no?

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by wm » 03 Apr 2019 22:12

As a result of the West's abandonment of Czechoslovakia in the fall of 1938, many Czechoslovaks started to rethink their country's position. Hitler and the behavior of French and British diplomats enhanced the appeal of the Soviet Union and its main advocate in Czechoslovakia, the CPC.
The Munich Agreement legitimized the view that "old Europe" was unable to deal with "dynamic" political ideologies, such as Nazism. A young American diplomat who served in Prague observed in late 1938 that, as a result of the deal in Munich, liberalism in general, and democracy in particular, were discredited.
The Franco-British agreement with Hitler allowed for a connection to be formed between Czechoslovak patriotism and sympathy for Stalin. It set in motion processes that slowly gained momentum and culminated in the electoral victory of the CPC in 1946.
Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukes

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Futurist » 03 Apr 2019 22:17

So, if Britain and France are willing to fight, there's not going to be any appeal for Communism in Czechoslovakia--even if the Soviets are also willing to fight on behalf of Czechoslovakia?

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by ljadw » 04 Apr 2019 14:31

Futurist wrote:
03 Apr 2019 22:17
So, if Britain and France are willing to fight, there's not going to be any appeal for Communism in Czechoslovakia--even if the Soviets are also willing to fight on behalf of Czechoslovakia?
1 Britain and France to be willing to fight depended on the possibility of a war, and the possibility of a war between Germany and CZ had nothing to do with the opinion of Britain and France .
Britain and France would fight ONLY if they had to , but they would not help CZ, because they could not .
2 Stalin would not fight for CZ,his alliance with CZ was subordinated NOT on a French DOW on Germany, but on a real French intervention,which was out of the question, And even if there was a French intervention, Stalin would not intervene : he did not fight for Poland, why would he fight for CZ?
3 Stalin wanted France and Britain to fight against Germany and France and Britain wanted the SU to fight against Gemany .
4 CZ had no importance for France and Britain . It had also no importance for the SU .

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by ljadw » 04 Apr 2019 14:39

Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Apr 2019 06:54
In these circumstances, the USSR would have been in a position to bounce the French into supporting Czechoslovakia at Munich. The British, who, alone of the three, had no military obligations to Czechoslovakia, might well have then been obliged to back the French.

Cheers,

Sid.
France had no military obligations to CZ : it promised aid and assistance in case of an unprovoked attack . And who would determine the amount of aid and assistance ? France .And who would decide that the German attack was unprovoked ? France .
It was only an empty promise . Besides, countries do not declare war because of treaties and military obligations .
France had no treaty/military obligations to Denmark,but it would have declared war if Germany had attacked Denmark . Not that this would have helped Denmark .

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by wm » 04 Apr 2019 21:23

Futurist wrote:
03 Apr 2019 22:17
So, if Britain and France are willing to fight, there's not going to be any appeal for Communism in Czechoslovakia--even if the Soviets are also willing to fight on behalf of Czechoslovakia?
It depends who will be ruled Czechoslovakia at the end, after all, as they say, possession is nine-tenths of the law.
The Czechia will be overrun quickly, the Czech Army will retreat to Slovakia, the Soviets will send advisors and weapons, it will be another Spain, the Phoney War will happen. Many disturbing events that could shake the faith in the Czech elites, leadership, the politics as usual.

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Futurist » 04 Apr 2019 23:41

Wouldn't the Nazis have also overran Slovakia, though? I mean, the Nazis might be willing to make an alliance with the Slovaks to give them nominal independence, but are the Slovaks actually going to take the Nazis up on this offer?

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by wm » 05 Apr 2019 20:34

The Germans didn't need Slovakia for anything. The Czechs are going to control it until it fails economically or runs out of food.
Slovakia was easy to defend because of the mountainous terrain but wasn't self-sufficient.

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by maltesefalcon » 06 Apr 2019 22:06

Policy on its own is meaningless if there is no real plan to back it up. A year later both Germany and the Soviets invaded Poland, which had a common border with both.

And though both the UK and France declared war over it, they really did little to help Poland in their darkest hour.

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Re: Would Britain's+France's policies in 1938 have still been the same had the USSR had a common border with Czechoslova

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Apr 2019 06:48

Hi ljadw,

Nevertheless, France had defensive obligations to Czechoslovakia. France would have been under massive pressure to do something active to aid Czechoslovakia because its own credibility as a power would have been at stake. The Munich Agreement gave it a way out. However, if the USSR had been able to intervene on the ground by virtue of a common border, it might have been in a position to undermine any "compromise" of the Munich sort. If the USSR was prepared to defend Czechoslovakia against Germany, how could France renege on its own obligations to Czechoslovakia without losing all international credibility vis-a-vis Germany?

Hi wm,

Slovakia is only relatively easy to defend from the north, but not from the south.

Certainly Germany didn't need Slovakia, but it was useful in a number of ways. For a start it outflanked existing Polish defences and extended the frontier the Poles had to defend. On a political level it showed others that a degree of apparent independence was possible within the German sphere of influence and increased pro-German leanings of minorities such as the Croats. Its existence also drove a wedge into any prospective pan-Slavic solidarity against Germany.

Cheers,

Sid

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