The Southeast Missourian/September 27, 1938
Nazi Chief Answers FDR Peace Plea
Cites Violations of Sudeten Rights as Justification
Great Britain faced the danger of war in 96 hours over Czechoslovakia today by bringing France and Soviet Russia into a new triple entente and by dispatching a new plea for peace to Hitler.
Prime Minister Chamberlain issued the latest appeal from his Downing street residence just after midnight.
He first studied for an hour the text of the German Fuehrer’s Monday speech. Britain followed this speech with an authoritative warning that “Great Britain and Russia will stand by France,” who would be bound to aid Czechoslovakia against attack.
The warning did not make clear whether Britain would consider invasion of German speaking Sudetenland to be aggression and call forth the armed might of the three powers.
Reichsfuehrer Hitler carefully marshaled Germany’s whole case today in an unusually long communication replying to President Roosevelt’s appeal for European peace. He ended with these words:
“It is now solely in the hands of the Czechoslovak government and not in the hand of the German government to decide whether it desires peace or war.”
Hitler appealed to the president’s understanding.
“I have the conviction,” he wrote, “that if you visualize the entire development of the Sudeten German problem from its beginnings until the present day, you will realize that the German government certainly was not wanting in patience or a sincere will to peaceful understanding.”
He told the president “I completely and in every way share your views concerning the immeasurable consequences of a European war.”
Reviewing the history of the Sudeten Germans and their relation to the Czechoslovak state, Hitler reminded Roosevelt that Woodrow Wilson himself had proclaimed the principle of self-determination for nations in the famous Wilson “Fourteen Points.”
Other nations involved in the World War, Hitler said, have accepted the principle as binding on them.
But Germany’s faith in accepting this principle was “shamefully betrayed,” Hitler observed.
He charged that the victor nations “created a political regime in Europe that reduced the vanquished nations to pariahs striped of all rights.”
The creation of the Czechoslovak state, the Fuehrer contended, was the clearest proof of how the victor nations violated the principle of self-determination.
He declared the Sudeten Germans, particularly, were adversely affected.
The Czechoslovak government, he charged, not only failed to accord Sudeten Germans their guaranteed rights but also proceeded to “Czechify” Sudetenland.
Hitler then restated at length the course of fruitless negotiations between the Sudeten Germans and Prague.
“From day to day,” he declared, “it became more clearly evident that the government in Prague was not willing really to grant the most elementary rights to the Sudeten Germans.”
The Fuehrer said Germany and the Sudeten Germans showed deep patience. Despite provocation and suffering, he said, both continued to negotiate.
Now, he said, “I can and must decline every responsibility of the German people and its leadership if, contrary to all my efforts to date, further development should actually lead to an outbreak of hostilities.”
Thus Hitler summed up his argument.
(Source: Google News, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1893&dat=19380927&id=a_4nAAAAIBAJ&sjid=99EEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5418,2258712)