The road to Munich

History has shown that it never repeats itself in the exact same way. However, one thing seems inevitable – making concessions to autocrats obsessed with grandeur always ends tragically. In 1938, Neville Chamberlain was convinced he had secured world peace for years through negotiations in Munich. However, this peace lasted only 11 months. Today, some Western politicians are calling for negotiations with Russia. The question is, how long would such a peace last?

“The British Prime Minister was willing to reach some agreement with Germany, even in the event of Hitler attempting to absorb parts of other countries (…). The actions of Chamberlain and then of France contradicted the goals of the League of Nations, which aimed to safeguard the independence and territorial integrity of its member countries. (…) At the same time, Hitler met with the Wehrmacht’s command staff, announcing that The Reich must be ready for war within a year or so, as it would lose its growing advantage over its neighbors by 1943.

In the last weeks of 1937 and the first months of 1938, Europe implemented a policy that had devastating consequences. Czechoslovakia was the first victim, followed by Poland and eventually the entire democratic world. Furthermore, it resulted in a deadly conflict that left many dead and also led to the division of the world by the “Iron Curtain” for several decades. Despite this, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in October 1938, the British people joyfully welcomed him as the man who had saved world peace for 11 months.

Although history may not repeat itself similarly, one thing is certain: going on a compromise with autocrats obsessed with grandeur always leads to tragic consequences. Meanwhile, the number of peace advocates is growing. Even though Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolini clarified that the Pope didn’t intend for Ukraine to capitulate and surrender, Francis still advised Kyiv to have the courage to raise the white flag and negotiate with Russia. Does the leader of the Catholic Church not understand how Moscow perceives such negotiations?

Former President Dmitry Medvedev, during a recent speech in Sochi, clearly said that the Ukrainians are the Russians. He also displayed a map illustrating Ukraine as consisting only of the Kyiv region. After all, in his February speech, the current and future ruler of the Kremlin announced an end to Nazism in Ukraine, which he refers to as “Novorossiya,” claiming it as Russian territory.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced after meeting with Donald Trump that the Republican presidential candidate had promised not to provide any funding to Ukraine in the event of his victory. Trump enjoys significant support among Republicans.

– If the Americans do not give money and weapons, along with the Europeans, the war will end. And if the Americans do not give money, the Europeans will be unable to finance this war. And then the war will end, Orbán said.

It’s difficult to determine the accuracy of this claim. President Trump, who is known for his controversial remarks, has demonstrated during his time in office that he is not particularly inclined to make concessions to either Russia or China. However, the Republicans’ opposition withholds the support necessary for Ukraine to defend itself.

As for Europe, the largest EU member, Germany, has recently become famous for leaks of secret data and conversations of high officers and agents in state positions overheard by the Russians. In a nutshell, as Defence24 commentator Wojciech Koziol wrote, currently, there are doubts surrounding not only officially pro-Russian groups such as AfD or Mrs. Wagenknecht’s party (which are gaining in popularity) but also about the German army, intelligence, and authorities, who seem to be too afraid to take any risks when it comes to Moscow. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s refusal to send Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine strongly indicates this fear.

France’s President recently made an unexpected announcement about the possibility of NATO soldiers being deployed to Ukraine. Some experts initially reassured and expressed their belief that it could be a peacekeeping force assigned to protect the boundary line between Ukrainian territory and the areas that Russia currently occupies. This area comprises 20% of Ukrainian lands.

Surprisingly, a former Polish Minister of Defense, Jan Parys, associated with the right wing, also publicly expressed support for negotiations ending in a ceasefire over war during a recent radio interview. Will this lead to the exact scenario of a divided Korean Peninsula? Unfortunately, the supporters of such an idea forget that Vladimir Putin is much more likely to start a world conflict than his North Korean ally, Kim Jong Un.

Alexander J. Motyl, an American historian, political scientist, and writer, published an article on The Hill on March 12 titled “Is Putin’s Russia a Nazi State?” In the article, he claims that Putin will ultimately lose, just as Adolf Hitler did.

– Sooner or later, the West will have to abandon its illusions of concessions and confront Russia. The only question remains how much damage the West would suffer during this military confrontation, wrote Motyl. 

I must agree with his views. Let me remind you that in 1938, in Munich, Chamberlain was convinced that he had ensured peace in the world for years.

Maria Przełomiec for

Translated by PEV

The opinions and thoughts expressed in the text reflect only the author's views.