BBC- Chamberlain Returns From Munich – Radio Prague Reaction – September 30, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
September 30, 1938 – news for this day was, at best, bitter-sweet. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich and his latest set of negotiations with Adolf Hitler waving a note; one which carried the names of both Chamberlain and Hitler in an agreement not to go to war over the issue of Sudeten Germany, much to the shock and amazement from Radio Prague. It was the essence of appeasement – a promise of peace forever-more in exchange for a territorial demand by Hitler.
It was initially hailed as a stunning achievement for Neville Chamberlain, who was seen as averting war and a likely repeat of The Great War of 1914-1918. A war which had ended only 20 years earlier and from which scars were still healing and memories of trench warfare were still vivid in the minds of most Europeans.
Amid the celebrations, and a letter of congratulations from Roosevelt, the nagging doubts still remained among many that this was only the beginning of a story with no happy ending. Prague reeled from the betrayal. Despite assurances from London and Paris, many across Europe and particularly in Prague felt that this was a direct violation of the Versailles treaty and it, in all likelihood, did not bode well for The League Of Nations as a plausible entity in preventing future crises.
But for the moment, and the cheering crowds greeting Chamberlain on his arrival and his proclamation of Peace With Honor, it was a period of pause and the notion that this maybe actually meant something in the grand scheme of things.
And that’s how this day unfolded, September 30, 1930 as reported by the BBC (apparently as a simultaneous TV and Radio broadcast) and a reaction from Radio Prague.
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