Munich gave Hitler added confidence. ‘This fellow Chamberlain shook with fear when I uttered the word war’, he boasted to an acquaintance; ‘don’t tell me he is dangerous.’2 Few with eyes to see doubted that further expansion would come, and when Coulondre warned Bonnet on 15 December: ‘c’est maintenant l’heure du “Lebensraum” qui sonne’,3 he was merely anticipating by a day Weizsäcker’s confidences to Hassell. Hitler and Ribbentrop’s policy, said the State Secretary, ‘was obviously aimed at war, [though] it had not yet been decided whether to strike out right away against England, whilst keeping Poland neutral, or to move first against the East’.4 And though Ribbentrop himself, on a visit to Rome in October, talked soothingly to his hosts of a war against the West in four or five years’ time only, the same bullish spirit was reflected in the message he brought from the Fuehrer:
The Czechoslovak crisis has shown our power. We have the advantage of the initiative and are masters of the situation. We cannot be attacked. The military situation is excellent; as from the month of September (i.e. 1939) we could face a war with the great democracies.5
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