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Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement

29.09.2018 - Press release

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement of 29 September 1938:  

The Munich Agreement 80 years ago is one of the darkest chapters in German-Czech relations. It paved the way for the fragmentation and ultimately the destruction of Czechoslovakia. What was initially celebrated in some parts of Europe as a successful step to safeguard peace was just the beginning of a conflagration ignited by Germany which spread across the continent and the world, leading to disaster.

Today, the European Union stands for the very opposite of the spirit of Munich. Respect for all member states and for all citizens forms the basis of the European Union. Instead of the law of the strong, Europe is now governed by the strength of the law. Together we want to work to promote these values and principles. Czechs and Germans now cooperate as friends and partners in the EU and NATO more closely than hardly ever before.

Background

With the signing of the Munich Agreement in the night from 29 to 30 September 1938, Hitler, Mussolini, British Prime Minister Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Daladier decided that Czechoslovakia must cede the Sudetenland to the German Reich. Over the following days, the German Wehrmacht occupied the Sudetenland. In March 1939, further parts of the country were occupied, resulting in Czechoslovakia’s destruction. The Agreement served only temporarily to prevent the war provoked by Hitler.

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