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The Munich Conference and American Isolationism

by: Katharine Anthony

The Munich Conference and American Isolationism HIS113U

Marketplace > Pace University > History > HIS113U > The Munich Conference and American Isolationism
Katharine Anthony

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Notes fro the Munich Conference and American Isolationism. Notes for 3/15/2016
The American Experience: The United States and the World
Barbara Blumberg
Class Notes
American History, History. 1917-Present
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katharine Anthony on Tuesday March 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIS113U at Pace University taught by Barbara Blumberg in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see The American Experience: The United States and the World in History at Pace University.


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Date Created: 03/15/16
I. The Munich Conference, Sept. 1938 a. Hitler considering appeasement was in action realized he could get away with a lot. b. He proceeded to try and take the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. c. Czechoslovakia had made a treaty with France and England at the time it start. i. Neville Chamberlain and France's leader wanted to stay with appeasement. d. Hitler turned a deaf ear to France and England asking him to stop this. e. He begins to put deadlines on when to give the Sudetenland and got more serious and loud about taking over all of Czechoslovakia i. Chamberlain realized that they would have to honor the treaty and war would begin in 1938 if Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. f. Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, France's leader all agree to meet in Munich. i. Czechoslovakia is not invited. ii. When meeting opens Hitler greeted the others with a raving ranting denunciation against the Czechs and tells both Britain and France they have to make them make sense. iii. This scares both of them and they both agree that they will tell Czechoslovakia they have to give up the Sudetenland and if they resisted they are on their own. iv. Hitler promises if they give him the Sudetenland that was the last thing Germany would take. v. Czechoslovakia gives them the Sudetenland and all the Czechs who were hated by the Germans were treated like the German Jews. g. Chamberlain was proud that he pulled Britain and the world back from the brink of war. h. Hitler for 6 months kept his word, then without anything March 1939 Hitler sent his armies into the rest of Czechoslovakia conquering the whole thing and incorporated the Czech part into Germany. The Slovak part was controlled by the Nazi party of Slovakia. i. This all happened so quickly that Britain and France did nothing, but it brought about a major awakening. Finally, even Chamberlain realized there was not appeasing Hitler. i. Big propaganda against the Polish people who were persecuting the German speaking population in the corridor to Poland. Then he made his demand on Poland, that they have to give back Danzig and the corridor. Otherwise Poland will be attacked and more will be taken from Poland. i. They also had a treaty with Britain and France. ii. Britain and France renewed that treaty to prove a point to Hitler. They also said in no uncertain terms if Poland is attacked France and Britain will attack Germany. Hitler of course continues escalating the threat. j. The entirety of 1939 was in fear of WWII starting. The entire continent was tense. Even the US was nervous. II. The Response to the Fascist Threat in the US Isolationism a. You could sum up the US response as one of isolation. b. The feeling from most of the American people and political leaders was that we will never get pulled into another European War like we were in World War One. In fact we were not getting involved in anything that would bring about another World War. c. Everyone was disillusioned with World War One and Wilson's ideas and that the fair settlement of peace never existed. d. The united states also felt like they were tricked into the war. This feeling came from an congressional investigation that was carried out in 1934-1935. i. Senator Gerald Nye. The Committee was called the Nye committee. ii. The committee asked a lot of questions. "Who was eager for us to join the war? And why?" 1. American investors who had lent a lot of money to the French and British governments and who were afraid they would lose in World War One and would not get their money back, they were anxious to make sure that we went into the war and won. Big Banks, Wall Street types and so on were in it for economic gain. 2. Arms manufacturers were eager so that they could make a fortune in selling arms and ammunitions from selling. 3. These people who had made money off the war were called Merchants of Death. 4. Big banks, businessmen in wall street were not popular in the 1920's. a. 1929 i. Economic collapse because of reckless spending and investing. ii. Americans blame investors and Wall Street people. 5. They decide not to let these people trick them into getting into another war and would not get involved. iii. Political conservatives didn't want to intervene because as they saw it, the main conflict was between the communists and the fascists and they weren't sure they wanted to help either side. Many saw communist Russia as a worst threat than Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. They thought if they were lucky they would destroy each other. iv. Liberal Americans, the type of people Stalin wanted in the popular front, who were backers of Roosevelt and the New Deal and who were really happy with the reforms at home, also didn't want to get involved in foreign policy because they were afraid if we diverted our attention then it would kill off all the domestic reform that was happening that they didn't want to end. v. These reasons brought about very strong isolationist feelings of not wanting to get involved in Asia or Europe. This sentiment was so strong that Congress in the mid- 1930's decided to put it into law, and got Roosevelt to sign a series of neutrality acts. 1. 1935, 1936, 1937 2. The Provisions of these neutrality acts and how they were supposed to keep us out of war. a. The united states and its business men are forbidden to sell any munitions or war supplies or to transport any munitions or war supplies to any belligerents. b. Banks may not make any loans to any belligerents. c. If countries that are at war want to buy non- war goods from the United States (oil, machinery) they may do so, but no loans they must pay upfront for whatever they buy and they must send their own ships to our shores to carry whatever they're carrying back to their own country ( cash and carry principle). d. No American ship may travel into a war zone and no Americans may book passage on ships of belligerent countries or go into war zones. 3. They thought this protected them. Whatever Roosevelt's feeling about these laws, he did go along with them and signed them into law. He also at the time of the Munich conference, was the voices of feeling that everything had been worked out. vi. The united states further showed how isolationist they were by not taking in any refugees about having people come in. We were so strict about it ( see the St. Louis). vii. The first crux in the isolationism came when Roosevelt starting in 1937, started to question a bit. He gave an exploratory speech in 1937 about how he didn't want to get involved but we're kidding ourselves, When war is raging or about to rage its contagious and we're going to get pulled in. He was criticized for saying that and backed down for months. viii. Only after Hitler took all of Czechoslovakia and started going after Poland, that Roosevelt tried to do whatever he could to deter Hitler from further aggressions. 1. He wrote after all of Czechoslovakia and open letter to Mussolini and Hitler, that they would give public guarantees that they would not attack 31 written nations for at least 10 years. 2. The during the really tense spring and summer of 1939, while Hitler was saying he would go into Poland. Roosevelt wanted to throw the weight of the US against Hitler. Sending the message, If you cause the outbreak of WWII the US will not get involved but it will send all the help they can towards Britain and France against you. (This goes against the neutrality acts) He goes to congress to get these repealed and they decline this. The message we sent to Hitler instead is that we will do nothing. 3. Hitler was more concerned about what would Stalin do. a. He made a deal with Stalin - Nazi soviet Non-Agression act.


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