This time it was over Nazi German territorial claims that Czechoslovakia was sitting on land which historically belonged to Germany. After Germany annexed Austria only days earlier, focus was shifting on allegations that Czechoslovakia was in the process of waging an ethnic war against the inhabitants of what was called Sudetenland. In this commentary from Berlin Radio, an article by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was read in which he lays claim to this “problem” as the result of the Treaty of Versailles, the peace treaty at the end of World War 1 and that, as part of the peace plan, Germany was to give up its ability to make war as well as its colonial claims. Goebbels insinuated that what resulted was a land-grab on the parts of the Allies, taking advantage of the situation in a defeated Germany by taking part of its territory. Goebbels went on to lay blame on Belgium and what Germany referred to as “Jewish War Mongers” as well as the French over what would later be the dispute over the Alsace-Lorraine region in Eastern France (an area that was part of France, with a German speaking population – which had been won by the Germans in 1871 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War and was returned to France in 1918 as part of the World War 1 settlement).
This was all lead-up to what would become the War in Europe in September of 1939 and World War 2 by 1941. But in 1938 it was saber rattling and finding out what Hitler’s Germany could get away with.
And as a reminder of what transpired during those years between the wars, and what propaganda was capable of achieving, here is that Commentary, as written by Joseph Goebbels and read by Radio Berlin, sometime after the German annexation of Austria in March of 1938.
History as it happened.