Scrapbookpages Blog

March 4, 2014

Putin is “taking a page out of the Hitler playbook” according to Bill O’Reilly

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:55 am

You can read what Bill O’Reilly said on his Fox news show last night at http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2014/03/04/bill-oreilly-how-handle-putin

This quote is from O’Reilly’s “Talking Points” at the beginning of his show, The O’Reilly Factor, last night:

Taking a page out of the Hitler playbook, Russian President Putin has invaded Ukraine saying that Russian nationals are in danger in that country. You may remember back in 1938 the Nazi leader did the exact same thing in Czechoslovakia sending in forces to, quote, “protect Germans” who[m] the Fuhrer said were at risk it was a reuse (sic).

Did Hitler send forces into Czechoslovakia in 1938?

O’Reilly has said on his show that he is currently writing a book about World War II, so he should know.

I have forgotten much of the history of World War II, so I had to look it up myself.  I did a google search and found the following quote on a website at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nazis-take-czechoslovakia

On this day [March 15, 1939], Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.

On September 30, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, which sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, virtually handing it over to Germany in the name of peace. Although the agreement was to give into Hitler’s hands only the Sudentenland, that part of Czechoslovakia where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over to the Nazi war machine 66 percent of Czechoslovakia’s coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power. Without those resources, the Czech nation was left vulnerable to complete German domination.

No matter what concessions the Czech government attempted to make to appease Hitler, whether dissolving the Communist Party or suspending all Jewish teachers in ethnic-German majority schools, rumors continued to circulate about “the incorporation of Czechoslovakia into the Reich.” In fact, as early as October 1938, Hitler made it clear that he intended to force the central Czechoslovakian government to give Slovakia its independence, which would make the “rump” Czech state “even more completely at our mercy,” remarked Hermann Goering. Slovakia indeed declared its “independence” (in fact, complete dependence on Germany) on March 14, 1939, with the threat of invasion squelching all debate within the Czech province.

Then, on March 15, 1939, during a meeting with Czech President Emil Hacha–a man considered weak, and possibly even senile–Hitler threatened a bombing raid against Prague, the Czech capital, unless he obtained from Hacha free passage for German troops into Czech borders. He got it. That same day, German troops poured into Bohemia and Moravia. The two provinces offered no resistance, and they were quickly made a protectorate of Germany. By evening, Hitler made a triumphant entry into Prague.

The Munich Pact, which according to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had purchased “peace in our time,” was actually a mere negotiating ploy by the Hitler, only temporarily delaying the Fuhrer’s blood and land lust.

Several years ago, I visited the Czech Republic and before I went, I did a lot of research on the subject.

Bastion on southeast side of the old fortress, Sudeten mountains in background

Bastion on southeast side of the old Theresienstadt fortress with the Sudeten mountains in background

I am quoting below what I wrote on my website scrapbookpages.com after my visit to the Czech Republic.

The Czechoslovak Republic was founded on October 28, 1918, before the end of World War I, by Tomas G. Masaryk, who strongly supported Zionism and opposed anti-Semitism. Masaryk had an American wife and during the war, he had frequent talks with President Woodrow Wilson to gain support for Czech independence. As a strong supporter of the Jews, Masaryk had made a name for himself when he publicly sided with the Jews in the blood libel case in the town of Polna in 1899. (There is an exhibit about this case in the Maisel Synagogue in Prague.)

Thomas G. Masaryk became the first president of the new country of Czechoslovakia which was set up in accordance with Wilson’s Fourteen Points, on which the Armistice was signed to end World War I on November 11, 1918.

After he had united Germany and Austria in March 1938 [Der Anschluss], Hitler began complaining that the Czechs were mistreating and discriminating against the 3.5 million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia, who had been citizens of Austria-Hungary before World War I. Political parties, which were pro-Nazi, had been banned in Czechoslovakia and ethnic Germans who supported Hitler were being jailed. The Czechs hated the ethnic Germans because they had been under the rule of the Germans in the Austrian Hapsburg Empire for over 600 years before they gained their independence. On the other hand, the Slovaks tended to be anti-Semitic and they supported the Nazis. The very first Jews to be sent to Auschwitz and Majdanek were Slovaks who had already been put into labor camps in their own country.

Great Britain, France and Italy assumed responsibility for the conflict in Czechoslovakia since they had signed the Treaty of Versailles which ended the war and stripped the Germans and Austrians of a big chunk of their former territories. Czechoslovakia had become a country as a result of that treaty. America also fought on the side of the Allies in World War I, but did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles because it included the League of Nations, which the American Congress voted not to join.

Austria-Hungary and Germany both signed an Armistice based on the Fourteen Points proposed by Woodrow Wilson, the American President during the war years. One of the key points was self-determination which meant that all ethnic groups had the right to determine the country in which they would live. This point of Wilson’s Fourteen Points was violated by the Treaty of Versailles when half a million Poles and a million Hungarians, along with three and a half million ethnic Germans became citizens of the new country of Czechoslovakia, which was dominated by the Czechs.

In answer to Hitler’s complaints, the British formed a commission to study the problem. This resulted in the Munich agreement, signed on Sept. 30, 1938 between Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain, in which the borderland known as the Sudetenland, with its predominantly German population, was given to Germany. There were also 45,000 Jews living in the Sudetenland who were handed over to Hitler as a result of the Munich appeasement.

The Sudetenland had formerly been part of the Austrian Empire but by 1938, Austria was part of the new Greater German Reich created by Hitler in the Anschluss with Austria. The unification of Germany and Austria had been expressly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, but the Allies did not protest this violation of the treaty. The Czech government did not have a say in the Munich agreement, since the country of Czechoslovakia was not in existence before the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

Theresienstadt was right on the dividing line between the Sudetenland and the remaining part of Czechoslovakia with the demarcation line being immediately alongside the town’s fortifications. As soon as the Germans arrived to take over the Sudetenland, 25,000 of the Jews living there fled across the border into Theresienstadt and some of them took temporary refuge in the Small Fortress.

Eduard Benes, who replaced Masaryk as president of Czechoslovakia in 1935, had been opposed to the Germans in World War I. During the period between wars, Benes was a strong supporter of the League of Nations and was active in trying to prevent Germany from regaining military power.

As an opponent of Fascism, Benes had complained to the League of Nations many times when Hitler began to violate the terms of the Versailles Treaty by rearming and placing troops in the Rhineland on the border between France and Germany.

The Munich “appeasement” of Hitler was intended to prevent another world war, but soon afterwards, Hitler demanded the resignation of Benes, his unrelenting opponent, who was agitating against the German takeover of the Sudetenland. In an effort to maintain peace, Benes resigned and went to England where he set up a Czech government in exile.

On March 14, 1939, following the resignation of Benes, Slovakia declared itself an independent state under the rule of Father Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest and a Nazi supporter. On the following day, the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia and took over the rest of the country without a fight. The states of Bohemia and Moravia, which had been dominated by the Germans for centuries under the Holy Roman Empire, became a German Protectorate. The Czech town of Terezin became once again a German town, and the name was changed back to the original name of Theresienstadt.

The Czechs fought as partisans against the Fascists in World War II, even sending men from England into Czechoslovakia by parachute to assassinate a top Nazi, SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. According to Ben G. Frank in his book entitled “A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe,” over 50% of the Czech partisans were Jews.

After Slovakia split off into an independent country, it became an ally of the German Fascists. The rest of the small states in Czechoslovakia were taken over by Poland and Hungary to bring their former citizens back into their respective countries in accordance with Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Hungary became a Fascist ally of Germany, but there was still an ongoing dispute between Germany and Poland over the territory which Germany had lost to Poland after World War I. Germany had been divided into two parts, separated by the Polish Corridor which was created to give the Poles access to the port of Danzig.