Drawing on a wealth of previously unexamined material, this account sheds new light on the Allies' responsibility for a landmark agreement that had dire consequences for world history and the trajectory of World War II.
As Caquet perceptively notes, the British accepted the same concepts and vocabulary to analyze the issue as the Germans did, namely that Czechs and Germans as distinct races had been locked in a primordial struggle for centuries ... Caquet makes two important claims about the internal situation in Czechoslovakia. First, as a partial mobilization in May and full mobilization in September 1938 demonstrated, the Czech army was extremely efficient and ready to fight ... Harder to judge is Caquet’s claim that in September, after Henlein and the extremists in the Sudeten Nazi Party had fled to Germany, the solidarity of the Sudeten Germans was crumbling and many did not want annexation to the Third Reich. Equally unprovable is his suggestion that in a truly free plebiscite a combination of Czechs, Jews, German Social Democrats, and anti-annexationist Sudeten Germans might well have prevailed ... Caquet goes much further in presenting a detailed analysis of the relative military-strategic situations in 1938 and 1939–1940 [than other writers] ... As...Caquet [has] shown, the judgment of history has not been kind to the appeasers.
In this accessible and well-written history, Caquet... analyzes the 1938 Munich Pact ... Along with vividly explaining the political climate, diplomatic negotiations, and the pact’s immediate aftermath, Caquet argues against long-held justifications, for example that the pact provided 'the Allies valuable time to rearm' ... Caquet translates original Czechoslovakian sources along with drawing on English-language histories, giving the book fresh perspectives and person-on-the-street recollections. This is an intelligent and valuable addition to WWII history.