Die falschen Lehren aus München

NEW YORK: Diesen Monat vor 70 Jahren unterzeichnete der britische Premierminister Neville Chamberlain in München ein Dokument, dass es Deutschland erlaubte, sich ein großes Stück der Tschechoslowakei einzuverleiben. Das so genannte „Münchener Abkommen” sollte später als erbärmlicher Verrat an einem, wie Chamberlain es ausdrückte, „fernen Land, von dem wir kaum etwas wissen“, angesehen werden. Doch zur damaligen Zeit sahen das viele Menschen anders.

Vielmehr wurde Chamberlains Ansicht, dass Großbritannien für einen Krieg mit Nazideutschland noch nicht bereit sei und dass Diplomatie und Kompromiss sicherere Optionen wären, von vielen Europäern geteilt, die die schrecklichen Folgen des Krieges aus eigener Erfahrung kannten. Trotzdem ist Chamberlain als Feigling in die Geschichte eingegangen, und seiner „Appeasement-Politik“ gegenüber Nazideutschland wird häufig die Schuld gegeben für den sich anschließenden Feldzug Hitlers zur Eroberung des übrigen Europas.

Chamberlain hatte vermutlich Unrecht. Großbritannien und Frankreich hätten Deutschland stoppen können. München 1938 war eine der seltenen Gelegenheiten in der Geschichte der Demokratien, wo sich umsichtige Diplomatie als Fehler erwies. Es hätte eines kompromisslosen romantischen Helden bedurft, der bereit war, das Schicksal seines Landes aufs Spiel zu setzen, indem er weiterkämpfte, „was immer die Kosten sein mögen“ (Winston Churchill).

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