The “Munich lesson” that we should never appease evil has to be one of the most pervasive and incorrect lessons of history. In this HNN post, John Kelly explains why the lesson is wrong. And as John Kelly points out, “millions of Americans who know nothing about the Munich Conference or the Sudetenland know that evil appeased is evil emboldened because American presidents have evoked the Munich lesson to justify almost every U. S. military action since 1945.”
The lesson is flawed in both its understanding of the events in Munich and in its application to events that bear no resemblance to the unique circumstances of 1938 Nazi Germany. As Kelly explains: “It is a fantasy to imagine that, had Churchill rather than Chamberlain been sitting across the table at Munich, Hitler would have been deterred. Unafraid of war and boundlessly ambitious, Hitler was that most dangerous of leaders, a man who could neither be appeased nor deterred by threats of force.”
It will take more than one article to debunk the “appeasement” foreign policy reasoning, but its a start. We historians need to call out this kind of abuse of history, especially when a misguided history lesson is driving us to make bad foreign policy choices.
Read Kelly’s entire article here: History News Network | Why Most Everyone Gets Munich Wrong