provisional list for 2015 shows we will be attending
Giles Macdonogh's book is a very helpful insight into German foreign policy in the crucial year of 1938. Having invaded Austria, the short comings in the army were only too obvious and the reich project is on the edge of bankruptcy. No money means no further military expansion and politically being unable to fufill anywhere near full employment promised by the Nazi's. Add to this Hitler is fueding with the army high command, while Ribbentrop, Goebels and Goering amongst others jockey for power. Hitler also has a serious falling out with his banker and the army commander in chief resigns over Hitler's expansionist policies- so not going too well.
Yet by the end of the year Hitler is victorious in Czechoslovakia, popular with the German people and has the army fully subordinated to his will- quite a turn around
The book laments the lost chances of the German oposition and the other European powers. Both France and Britain committed themselves to the defence of Czechoslovakia but lacked both will and resources to actually save the fledgling state. Russia too promised aid but just succeded in splitting the opposition to Hitler between those who saw Hitler or Stalin as the greatest threat to Western Europe
France and Britain along with Hungary, Romania and Poland all mobilise over czechoslovakia ,Hitler in his communications with Chamberlain is resigned to war, even if this escalates to a general european conflict-Hitler's gamble The house of commons sits in late September expecting a decleration of war, instead Chamberlain persuades Mussolini to instigate one further round of talks at Munich,where the allies conceed virtually every point
Hitler's policy is painted above all as opportunistic, a belief that the allies probably wouldn't fight on this occasion was the impetus to ever greater demands. If however Hitler's hand had been forced these were the problems, some of which he wasn't aware of.
1. Hitler had underestimated Czech defences (He later commented on visiting the Czech defence lines that they would have given far more problems than he had anticipated) Hitler estimated the French needed 4 days to move, delay at the frontier could have been fatal. Equally the activities of the German- Czech Freikorps while irritating were not proving of military significance in supporting a German invasion, (at best they would divert some Czech troops from other defence duties)
2. The Army command warned Hitler there were serious problems with the West Wall defence aiming to keep France out of the conflict, German forces would be heavily outnumbered very quickly
3. Both the Hungarians and Poles were slow to make any move, both had an eye on what others were doing, namely the Russians, Romanians and also for the Hungarians the Jugoslavs
4. A coup was in place by the opposition of Army and non- nazi nationalists to topple Hitler once war was declared
5. Public opinion was far from united at the prospect of war
Chamberlain's persistant intervention, although again probably not realized, let Hitler off the hook. ( other commentators suggest Halifax actually revealed some knowledge of the coup plot to Hitler to persuade him war wasn't in his best interests), gave Hitler all that he wanted (except Prague which he took later anyway) without the risk of war
The 12 month gap before the outbreak of war in 1939, really only served to allow all sides to expand their forces prior to conflict, so I suppose making a longer war more likely
Take Chamberlain and Britain out of the appeasement lobby,as in VBCW and the whole of 1938 takes on a very different construction
Also a fascinating insight into the activities of the Anglican Church in Germany and Austria- well worth a look
This page is a bit of indulgence allowing me to post pics of some the stuff ive been recently painting
I do rather like steam vehicles, this is a recent conversion of a Matchbox steam truck with gun from PMC. To my mind this is the type of vehicle that would be most often encountered on a VBCW battlefieldIve been looking for ages for a figure that would work for the rather cavalier Emma Picton Bryant. In the end I settled on this figure in the Dark Age range.