DETERIORATION IN THE EUROPEAN SITUATION RESULTING FROM GERMAN ACTION AGAINST CZECHO-SLOVAKIA ON MARCH 15, 1939. Germany, under her present regime, has sprung a series of unpleasant surprises upon the world.The position after the German occupation of Czecho-Slovakia was summarized in speeches by the Prime Minister at Birmingham on the 17th March (No. Chamberlain described the German occupation as "in complete disregard of the principles laid down by the German Government itself," and asked: "Is this the end of an old adventure, or is it the beginning of a new? (The late) Marshal Pilsudski Polish Statesman and Inspector-General of Polish Army ............................... The Rhineland, the Austrian Anschluss, the severance of Sudetenland-all these things shocked and affronted public opinion throughout the world.The German proposals, which had been presented for the first time on the 21st March, 1939, i.e., less than a week after the German occupation of Prague, were now described as "the very minimum which must be demanded from the point of view of German interests." Herr Hitler also claimed that the German-Polish Agreement of January 1934 was incompatible with the Anglo-Polish promises of mutual assistance and therefore was no longer binding (Nos. On the 5th May the Polish Government replied to the German Government with an explanation of their point of view. " "Is this the last attack upon a small State, or is it to be followed by others? But I am sure they will require the grave and serious consideration not only of Germany's neighbours, but of others, perhaps even beyond the confines of Europe.
The agreement "has worked out to the advantage of both sides" (30th January, 1937). There is another set of questions which almost inevitably must occur in our minds and to the minds of others, perhaps even in Germany herself.
Beck said that he would do "everything possible to facilitate the efforts of His Majesty's Government." He promised the "considered reply of his Government" by midday on the 31st August (No. 189), Later on the 31st August Viscount Halifax advised the Polish Government immediately to instruct the Polish Ambassador in Berlin to say that he was ready to transmit to his Government any proposals made by the German Government so that they (the Polish Government) "may at once consider them and make suggestions for early discussions" (No. Therefore, as a result of these several actions, the dismemberment of Czecho-Slovakia may be said now to be complete.
What regard had been paid here to that principle of self-determination on which Herr Hitler argued so vehemently with me at Berchtesgaden when he was asking for the severance of Sudetenland from Czecho-Slovakia and its inclusion in the German Reich?
The Minister said that the Polish Government regarded the German proposals as a demand for "unilateral concessions." He added that Poland was ready to approach "objectively" and with "their utmost goodwill" any points raised for discussion by the German Government, but that two conditions were necessary if the discussions were to be of real value: (1) peaceful intentions, (2) peaceful methods of procedure ( No. The Polish memorandum reminded the German Government that no formal reply to the Polish counter-proposals had been received for a month, and that only on the 28th April the Polish Government learned that "the mere fact of the formulation of counter-proposals instead of the acceptance of the verbal German suggestions without alteration or reservation had been regarded by the Reich as a refusal of discussions" (No. On the 31st March, 1939, the Prime Minister announced the assurance of British and French support to Poland "in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist" (No. An Anglo-Polish communiqué issued on the 6th April recorded the assurances of mutual support agreed upon by the British and Polish Governments, "pending the completion of the permanent agreement" (No. The Agreement of Mutual Assistance was signed on the 25th August. We ourselves will naturally turn first to our partners in the British Commonwealth of Nations and to France, to whom we are so closely bound, and I have no doubt that others, too, knowing that we are not disinterested in what goes on in South-Eastern Europe, will wish to have our counsel and advice.
The articles defined the mutual guarantee in case of aggression by a European Power (No. DEVELOPMENTS IN ANGLO-GERMAN RELATIONS AND IN THE GENERAL BRITISH ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION (APRIL—JUNE 1939). In our own country we must all review the position with that sense of responsibility which its gravity demands.