Sunday, August 14, 2011

Munich, 1938: Appeasement & WWII by David Faber

David Faber's book (2008, 437 p.) focuses on the events leading up to the Munich Conference of 1937 wherein Neville Chamberlain and the French (with Mussolini looking on) bargained away parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in return for "peace in our time". Well, it didn't work. In fact, Faber's book, which focuses primarily on Hitler's actions (and luck) and British diplomatic efforts, shows how Hitler ran the table of Austria and most of Czechoslovakia without firing a shot. Chamberlain does seem clueless in the face of Hitler. Faber's narrative is detailed and interesting, but I would have appreciated more background on the primary players, like Chamberlain & Halifax, and those in the Foreign Office, in addition to Eden, who questioned appeasement. The diplomatic efforts were intense, but no one in power was willing to call Hitler's bluff, if it was a bluff (an interesting historical question). An interesting book, but not one to approach without a firm background knowledge. (I believe my background knowledge to have been adequate but I would have benefited, as I mentioned, from more scene and character setting.)