On January 30, 1933, the Nazis acquired mastery of Germany when Adolf

Hitler was appointed chancellor. That evening Hitler stood triumphantly in

the window of the Reich Chancellery waving to thousands of storm troopers

who staged parades throughout the streets of Berlin. The Nazis proclaimed

that their Third Reich would be the greatest civilization in history and would

last for thousands of years.

However meteoric rise of Hitler and national socialism was followed by an

almost equally rapid defeat; the Third Reich survived for a mere twelve years.

One of the main causes of World War II was Hitler's public justification for

the dismemberment of the Czech state through either war or diplomacy was

the plight of the 3.5 million ethnic Germans the Treaty of Versailles had left

inside Czechoslovakia. The main land that Hitler wanted to take over

was Sudetenland, where most of the people living there were of German

origin. The land also bordered Germany to the South East, and Germany

was prepared to conquer this land at all cost. "And now before us stands the

last problem that must be solved and will be solved. It (the Sudetenland) is

the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe, but it is the claim

from which I will not recede…" - Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin,

September 26th, 1938, just prior to the Munich conference. 1

Most of the German minorities live in Sudetenland, an economically

valuable and strategically important area along the Czech border with

Germany and Austria. The grievances of the Sudeten Germans against the

Czech state had led to the rise of a strong German nationalist movement in

the Sudetenland. By the mid -1930's, this movement had the support of

almost 70 percent of the Sudeten German population. Their leader, the pro-

Nazi Konrad Heinlen, began demanding autonomy for this region. Both the

real and contrived problems of the Sudeten Germans added credibility to

Hitler's charge that they were denied the right of self-determination and lived

as an oppressed minority, which he was obligated to defend in the spring of

1938. Heinlein was directed by Hitler to make demands that the Czechs

could not accept, thereby giving Germany a reason to intervene. The Czech

situation soon turned into an international crisis that dominated the European

scene for the rest of that current year. The weekend which began on Friday,

May 20th, 1938, developed into a critical one and would later be remembered

as the "May crisis". During the next forty-eight hours, the Governments in

London, Paris, Prague and Moscow were afraid that Europe stood nearer to

war than it had in the summer of 1914. This may have been largely due to the

possibility that new plans for a German attack on Czechoslovakia called

"Case Green", got leaked out. Hitler had begun to prepare an attack on the

Sudetenland. The target date was the beginning of October. He was

prepared to attack with an army of ninety-six divisions. The Czechoslovak

Government, aware of Hitler's intentions but uncertain when it would occur,

ordered a partial mobilization on May 21st. Hitler was outraged, explaining

to his generals that he had offered no threat and was being treated with

contempt. He had been humiliated, and he was fureous. His rage against

Czechoslovakia increased, and on May 30th he issued a secret attack: "It is

my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the

near future." 2

All through the summer Britain, France and the Soviet Union were aware

that Hitler planned to strike at the Sudetenland, and perhaps the whole

of Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovaks had an excellent intelligence

system with Germany, and knew from day to day what Hitler was planning.

Germany also had an excellent intelligence system, and in addition

had Konrad Henlein, a leader in Sudetenland who would stop at nothing to

harm the Czechoslovak Government. The German newspapers were filled

with accounts of mass arrests of innocent men and women in the Sudetenland.

Nonexistent people in nonexistent villages were being slaughtered. The

Czechoslovak Government attempted to refute some of these stories but gave

up in despair. Hitler ordered a massive propaganda barrage against

Czechoslovakia to prepare the German people for the October invasion.

On September 12th at Nuremberg, Hitler went as close to declaring war

against Czechoslovakia as