History has been a harsh critic of Neville Chamberlain's decision in 1938 to allow Adolf Hitler to trash the WWI Versailles peace treaty and change the borders in Europe, first France in the Rhineland, then Czechoslovakia and Poland. President George W. Bush's quick acceptance of the efforts of the Albanians in Kosovo to change the borders of Serbia will also be viewed in history as an appeasement that did not work.
World War II actually began when Adolf Hitler marched a mere 14,500 troops into the Rhineland on March 7, 1936, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and the Locarno Treaty which was signed in 1925 that included the "Rhineland Pact" between Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and Italy. The Rhineland Pact's main provision was an agreement among Germany, France and Belgium end border raids, with Britain and Italy agreeing to guarantee the borders in the event of aggression by any of the other states.
The Locarno pact's primary provision was the guarantee that German-Belgian and Franco-German borders as fixed by the treaty of Versailles were inviolable and that Germany, Belgium and France would never attack, invade or wage war against each other except "in legitimate defense." In modern terms it tried to do what the United Nations did in Europe after World War II - fix boundaries so stop the wars in Europe. Hitler broke that treaty when he marched his troops into the Rhineland, then part of France. However, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin of Great Britain announced, with tears in his eyes, that "Britain lacked the resources" to enforce her treaty guarantees and that "public opinion would not stand for military force" anyway.
Thus encouraged, the German-speaking population in Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland area began demanding the right to annex the area to Germany. On September 29, 1938 a conference was held in Munich, Germany with Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Edouard Daladier of France in attendance. Representatives from Russia and Czechoslovakia were not invited.
It was a one day conference. Chamberlain and Daladier submitted to Hitler's demands very quickly. The treaty ceded three areas of Czechoslovakia to other powers: the Sudetenland was annexed into Germany, the Teschen district was given to Poland, and parts of Slovakia went to Hungary. On return home to London following the meeting, Chamberlain said to cheering countrymen, that "the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for our two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.
"We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe." Then, looking up from his prepared statement at the crowd he announced: "My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time... Go home and get a nice quiet sleep."
Less than a year later, on September 1, 1939 Hitler attacked Poland, without a declaration of war. On September 2nd, Britain and France declared war on Germany and the following day, September 3, 1939, a German submarine sank the British Cruise ship Athenia. A year before 97% of the British people were opposed to going to war and, even after Germany's attack on Poland, most Americans and the US congress were determined to stay out of the war in Europe.
That changed after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 as Americans also discovered that agreements with liars are worthless. We seem to be replaying the 1930s, in the case of Kosovo, with George W. Bush playing the part of Chamberlain. While I have supported President's Bush's efforts to stop the 21st century Islamic fascists from being able to take control in Afghanistan and Iraq, he has clearly reversed that policy by supporting the illegal "vote" by Albanians in Serbia's province of Kosovo.
Not only was the vote a violation of UN Resolution 1244, that reaffirmed "the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," but also many of the voters were illegal aliens from Albania and the new "Kosovo" will be headed by former KLA terrorist Hashim Thaci. Only two years ago I wrote an article supporting President Bush's stated reluctance to support terrorists as heads of government when he talked about the Hamas election victory for control of the Palestinian parliamentary election. Today he is supporting seizure of historic Serbian land as a haven for Islamic terrorists in hopes it will lead to peace in our time, just like Neville Chamberlain. It won't work.
Since 1999, in spite of the KFOR soldiers, most of the Serbs and other ethnic groups, Jews, Slavic Muslims, Turks, Croatians and even Albanians loyal to Yugoslavia have been killed or driven out of Kosovo. Since 1999 hundreds of Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries have been vandalized or destroyed and since declaring independence, the crowds in the streets have been chanting "KLA" in Albanian.
Kosovo is for Serbia a land somewhat similar to what Pennsylvania is to Americans. Kosovo is the cradle of Serbian liberty and the center of their Serbian culture. There are hundreds of structures, churches, monuments, monasteries, that attest to that history. What has happened in Kosovo, with America's help, would be similar to a large group of Islamic fundamentalists, whose hero and mentor is Osama Bin Laden, moving into Pennsylvania over the next 50 years, as Albanians did in Kosovo in the 20th Century, and then voting to become an Independent State with membership in the United Nations, as they burned down the Christian churches, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell while driving out and seizing the property of the remaining Christians, Jews and non-Churched homeowners.
Within days we have already begun to hear demands of others to exercise the same "right" the Kosovo Albanians have claimed. Separatist groups are demanding independence in almost every nation in the world - all over the world - including China, Russia, Spain, Canada, Britain, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. Yet, the Serbs are being told that they cannot even remain part of their mother country if they live in either Eastern Kosovo or Bosnia! Where did this "right" to secede for Albanians in Kosovo come from -when Serbs don't have the right to remain in their own country?
Could this jockeying for new borders lead to all out war? It certainly can -and with modern technology and weapons, the death toll would be far greater than the mere 50 million who died worldwide in World War II.