The latter will leave this morning at 6 a. Ashton Gwatkin, who accompanies M. Mastny, will give you, simultaneously with the French text of this document, the attached map. You should as a matter of extreme urgency get in touch with M. Benes in order to make sure of his agreement. I request you to express to him my deep emotion at the end of these negotiations-and to assure him that it was not by my choice that no representative of Czechoslovakia was present. I have no doubt, however painful the sacrifices imposed by the present situation, that M. Benes will agree with me that it is of the highest importance, whilst safeguarding for the future the essential conditions enabling his country to retain its faith in its destiny, to save the Czechoslovak nation from the more redoubtable trial of war.
Paris, October 2, Krofta to express the sentiments of profound sympathy with which, from hour to hour, I have followed his noble and courageous personal handling of the situation during so painful a national trial. Please assure him of the admiration felt by myself and by all my countrymen for the strength of character and the incomparable self-control shown by all Czechoslovak leaders, whose clear-sightedness has done so much to protect their country from the horrors of war.
Will you assure him of my most loyal personal friendship and of my desire to help him to the best of my ability in the constructive task which now lies before him. The dignity and the self-abnegation shown by the entire Czechoslovak nation afford proof of its reserves of strength and vitality, the best safeguard of her historical patrimony and of her proud and free destiny. Paris, October 3, Neville Chamberlain conveyed to him in Berlin the day before by Sir Horace Wilson was not such as to bring about a relaxation of the general tension.
Herr Hitler refused to make any concessions, and maintained his decision to send his troops into the territory inhabited by the Sudeten Germans on the 1st of October.
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Field-Marshal Goering still further emphasized this attitude by declaring to Sir Nevile Henderson on September 27 that, if the Czechoslovak Government had not accepted the terms of the Godesberg memorandum on the next day, September 28, by 2 p. In spite of this German intransigence, the French and British Governments persevered in their efforts to find a basis for a peaceful solution of the Czechoslovak question. In the evening of September 27, Sir Nevile Henderson presented to the German Government a new plan consisting mainly of the occupation, on October 1, of the territories of Eger and Asch.
This plan not having been accepted, the French Ambassador immediately approached Herr Hitler himself, during the morning of September 28, with another proposal which, while conforming with the procedure contemplated in the British plan, considerably enlarged the zone of territory to be occupied by the Germans from the 1st of October. As a result of this conversation, which lasted a whole hour and during the course of which the Chancellor had behaved in a calm and almost friendly manner, our Ambassador had the impression that it might not be impossible to reach an agreement.
Without rejecting the French proposal, Herr Hitler reserved his reply with a view to a written communication. It was in these circumstances that, as a result of a suggestion made by Mr.
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After laborious negotiations, which began at midday on September 29, an agreement was signed during the night of the 29thth of September. There is no need to summarize here the text of that agreement, which was published on the 30th of September; nevertheless, it seems useful to compare the principal points of the agreement with the demands formulated by Herr Hitler at Godesberg on the 23rd September. At Munich it was agreed that this occupation would take place by stages, being spread over a period of ten days. At Munich, an international commission was to determine it finally. At Munich, he abandoned this claim, leaving it to the international commission to decide upon the advisability, and to determine the territorial limits, of any plebiscites.
At Munich, Britain and France have undertaken unconditionally and without delay to participate in an international guarantee of the new Czechoslovak frontiers against any unprovoked aggression; Germany and Italy have undertaken to give their guarantee as soon as the question of the Polish and Hungarian minorities shall be settled. The Czechoslovak Government, with the highest self-abnegation, and in a spirit to which we must pay tribute, has accepted the agreement of the 29th September.
All the measures provided for in this agreement are now in course of execution.
Berlin, October 4, The Chancellor's speech delivered on September 26 and the news of the military measures taken by France and Great Britain had brought the prevailing anxiety to a high pitch. The Chancellor had burnt his boats. It was felt to be unthinkable that he could retreat. Contrary to general expectations, the Western Powers appeared resolved to fight. During the days of the 27th and 28th September, one could sense the hourly approach of the catastrophe. This state of mind was clearly visible in the expressions of the Berliners who had been urged, during the evening of the 28th September, to listen to a speech by Dr.
Goebbels, the general opinion was that he was to announce general mobilization. It was in this atmosphere that on Wednesday, towards 10 p. It immediately aroused a feeling of immense satisfaction. Nobody doubted for a moment that the imminent danger of war had been averted.
Das alles, auf Ehr'
The miracle that all had ceased to hope for had occurred. With the exception of a few fanatics, very few Germans thought that the Sudetens were worth the risk of a European war. The great masses of the people knew nothing of the Sudeten: they were in no way conscious that the Sudeten had ever belonged to the Reich; they were hardly more interested in their fate than in that of the Germans in Rumania.
They would have been quite pleased with a punitive expedition against Czechoslovakia, but they certainly would have abandoned the Sudeten rather than see the entire world in arms against Germany. At the moment when the German-Czech conflict threatened to turn into a European conflagration, the atmosphere in Germany was very different from the feverish and aggressive atmosphere of August In that respect one can discern two separate schools of thought.
He was preparing to dictate terms to Czechoslovakia as to a vanquished country. He had, with a unilateral gesture, determined on a map the zone which German troops were to occupy from the 1st of October The time allowed for evacuation was so short that the Czechs could not have retired in an orderly fashion. Even though he has obtained satisfaction on the main issues, he was obliged to accept an international procedure as regards the mode of execution, in spite of his repeatedly expressed dislike of such methods.
He was not able to go as far as he wished. He recognized that he had reached the limit beyond which foreign opposition threatened to become armed intervention.
EHRENWORT DES BARONS GERMAN DOCUMENT Original (PDF)
In German high political circles, and even among the most convinced and influential Nazis, there is no lack of counsels of moderation to the effect that the Germans should be satisfied, for the time being at least, with the results obtained, that they should allow themselves a respite, relax the economic and financial tension, and seek to reach some arrangement with the Western Powers.
These are the circles which, during the crisis of the 28th September, influenced Field-Marshal Goering and whose counsels prevailed over Herr von Ribbentrop's. Yet there are many who proclaim that one must continue to go ahead and to take the utmost advantage of the military superiority which the Reich believes itself to possess at present. Their influence is felt within the International Commission itself, where they assume the attitude of victors who have the right to formulate imperative demands. It has been necessary more than once to remind them that the agreement of September 29 was not a German "Diktat," but an international arrangement.
The annexation of the Sudeten, following the Anschluss of Austria after an interval of seven months, has not satisfied their appetites. At the very moment when the German army is occupying the mountains which have hitherto been the historic frontiers of Bohemia, they are scanning the horizon in search of new demands to formulate, new battles to fight out, new prizes to conquer. Clearly anxious to spare the feelings of France and Great Britain, to allay mistrust and awaken hopes, the German Press has not ceased during these days to affirm that the Munich Agreement might become the keystone for building a new Europe released from prejudices and mutual hatreds, ruled by respect for the vital rights of all peoples and orientated towards a harmonious cooperation between the nations.
The newspapers of the Reich are prodigal in expressions meant to please France.
They have repeatedly stated that no subject of contention now exists between France and Germany. They have been at pains to pay tribute to the role played by M. Daladier at the Munich conference; they have praised him as an ax-serviceman whose chief concern is to spare his country and Europe the horrors of a new war. Daladier, politics become a practical proposition. Evidently the primary condition would be that France, adopting a realistic policy, should draw certain conclusions from the events which had so profoundly shaken the whole of Europe.
In that respect, the Munich conference should serve us as a warning. In order that the agreement which assigns to Czechoslovakia new frontiers and a new place in Europe should become the starting-point of a reorganization of the Continent on an equitable basis, it is indispensable that the Western Democracies should draw a lesson from the dramatic events of last week. It is necessary that while continuing to affirm their will to peace and neglecting no means of reaching an understanding with the totalitarian States, they should nevertheless eliminate all causes of internal weakness, that they should fill up as quickly as possible any gaps in their armaments, and that they should give to the outside world tangible proof of industry, cohesion and strength.
This is the price we must be prepared to pay if Europe is not to undergo again, after a respite of uncertain duration, crises similar to the last one just settled at the Munich conference after threatening for several days to degenerate into general pandemonium. Berlin, October 19, THE Chancellor of the Reich gave me a farewell audience yesterday afternoon, not at Berchtesgaden, but in the eagle's eyrie which he has had built on a rocky spur 6, feet high with a view extending over the vast arena of mountains which surround Salzburg.
The conversation, at which the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs was present, soon assumed an interesting and important character. Referring to the Munich Agreement, Herr Hitler expressed his regret that subsequent events had allowed a dangerous state of tension to continue between the Great Powers, and had not fulfilled his hopes.
With regard to France, he took a rather indulgent attitude but on the other hand he insisted bitterly on the fact that he could, so he said, discern in the British attitude the expression of a fundamental antagonism. Endeavouring to moderate and correct his views, I tried more especially to explain to him the reasons for the currents of opinion in France and in England as a result of the speech at Saarbrucken, and after the conclusion of an agreement which had saved peace, but at the price of heavy sacrifices.
The Chancellor declared in a general way that he was prepared to seek ways and means of improving existing conditions and to develop the potentialities of appeasement and conciliation which the Munich Agreement seemed to contain. He is of the opinion that, owing to the practical difficulties which would arise if a programme of disarmament were to be set up without further preliminaries, it would be wiser and more opportune to begin with a programme for the humanization of war bombardment of open cities, etc.
But he declared that, having little knowledge of these matters, he would gladly, if need be, have recourse to the services of experts. At the end of this conversation, and in conclusion, the Chancellor asked the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs to cause the different suggestions that had been examined in the course of the interview to be studied, and more or less detailed plans on their execution to be prepared.
The texts thus drawn up would then be communicated to us for careful consideration and eventual correction and criticism. In view of the conversations I have had with Your Excellency, I took it upon myself to give the assurance that the French Government would consider with the greatest sympathy all proposals or suggestions favourably received by the Chancellor or initiated by him. We agreed that the preliminary study of these questions should remain confidential until further notice, it being understood that we would for our part ascertain the views of the British Government while Germany reserves the right to inform the Italian Government.
Berlin, October 20, WHEN on the evening of October 17, the German Chancellor asked me to see him as quickly as possible, he placed one of his private planes at my disposal. I therefore left by air for Berchtesgaden on the next day accompanied by Captain Stehlin. I arrived there towards three in the afternoon.
From a distance, the place looks like a kind of observatory or small hermitage perched up at a height of 6, feet on the highest point of a ridge of rock. The approach is by a winding road about nine miles long, boldly cut out of the rock; the boldness of its construction does as much credit to the ability of the engineer Todt as to the unremitting toll of the workmen who in three years completed this gigantic task. The road comes to an end in front of a long underground passage leading into the mountain, and closed by a heavy double door of bronze.
At the far end of the underground passage a wide lift, paneled with sheets of copper, awaits the visitor. Through a vertical shaft of feet cut right through the rock, it rises up to the level of the Chancellor's dwelling-place.
Here is reached the astonishing climax. The visitor finds himself in a strong and massive building containing a gallery with Roman pillars, an immense circular hall with windows all round and a vast open fireplace where enormous logs are burning, a table surrounded by about thirty chairs, and opening out at the sides, several sitting-rooms, pleasantly furnished with comfortable arm-chairs.
On every side, through the bay-windows, one can look as from a plane high in the air, on to an immense panorama of mountains. At the far end of a vast amphitheatre one can make out Salzburg and the surrounding villages, dominated, as far as the eye can reach, by a horizon of mountain ranges and peaks, by meadows and forests clinging to the slopes. In the immediate vicinity of the house, which gives the impression of being suspended in space, an almost overhanging wall of bare rock rises up abruptly. The whole, bathed in the twilight of an autumn evening, is grandiose, wild, almost hallucinating.
The visitor wonders whether he is awake or dreaming. He would like to know where he is-whether this is the Castle of Monsalvat where lived the Knights of the Graal or a new Mount Athos sheltering the meditations of a cenobite, or the palace of Antinea rising up in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Is it the materialization of one of those fantastic drawings with which Victor Hugo adorned the margins of his manuscript of Les Burgraves, the fantasy of a millionaire, or merely the refuge where brigands take their leisure and hoard their treasures?