In August 1938 tension again began to grow over the Sudeten problem. In the ensuing crisis British policy passed through three stages. The first stage, dating from mid-August until 14 September, saw an intensification of previous efforts. Hitler was warned that a war against Czechoslovakia might ultimately involve all of Europe, while Benes was urged to reach a speedy solution of minority grievances. During the second stage, after Hitler’s speech at Nuremberg, there was direct intervention to save the peace, the two visits to Hitler at Berchtesgaden and Godesberg. In the third stage, between 24 and 28 September, the British role of ‘honest broker’ collapsed in the face of German intransigence and a deadlock emerged which it seemed could only be broken by war. During the first two periods Roosevelt was able to avoid direct intervention in European affairs but he was forced to take positive action in the third stage when British efforts were exhausted. Forced to make a choice between appeasement and anti-appeasement, the President put the preservation of peace before the integrity of the Czech state and called for a conference on the Sudeten issue. As a result the United States was finally unable to avoid implication in a ‘deal’ at the expense of Prague despite Roosevelt’s previous efforts to maintain his distance from Chamberlain’s policy.


Prime Minister American Policy Western Power Military Occupation Treaty Obligation 
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Copyright information

© C. A. Macdonald 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Joint School of Comparative American StudiesUniversity of WarwickUK

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