Open letter to President Obama: Remember the lessons of the 1938 Munich Conference
By Gary G. Kohls, MD
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Aug 21, 2009, 00:15
It seems to be a truism in the history of the world that
fascists only respect those who are tough and never compromise. In that light,
President Obama, it is good to remember what happened in September of 1938 when
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Adolph Hitler in Munich
when the Fuhrer was threatening to go to war to take over Czechoslovakia�s
Chamberlain negotiated a peace agreement whereby Hitler was
given the territory without British and French military opposition if the
Fuhrer promised to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone. Chamberlain
justified this �appeasement� convincingly to Parliament and the British people
but mistakenly made a big deal about having achieved �peace in our time.� Of
course, within seven months the pathological liar Hitler broke his promise and
invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia, taking over all of the Czech armament
factories without a fight, greatly strengthening his war effort.
Ever since Chamberlain�s gamble for peace (which was partly
made to stall for time so that the relatively unprepared-for-war Brits could
start mobilizing) the so-called Munich Appeasement has been used as a lever to
undermine most every peace effort that the US has considered since WWII. �If
the British and French had been willing to go to war right then to defend the
Czechs (despite the fact that neither were fully prepared or positioned for
war), history would have had a different outcome.� US militarists persist -- ad
nauseum -- in trotting out the Munich Appeasement Myth to teach us peacemakers
and believers in negotiation why one should never compromise, or even talk to
(a sign of weakness) our enemies.
Hitler was known to respect the British, but only because
the British Empire was a ruthless and powerful nation that had always been
quite willing to use military force against those who opposed it. (Of course,
it must be acknowledged that Britain, just like most empires -- including the
US -- always tried to avoid armed conflicts with militarily strong enemies, always
seeming to choose weaker opponents to beat up on.) Thus, Britain also tried to
keep its colonies and adversaries militarily weakened so nobody would dare to
challenge them economically or militarily.
Hitler respected raw power and, therefore was probably
smirking while signing the Munich Conference papers with Britain, knowing that
he had just fooled another compromiser into capitulating to his demands.
So what are the lessons to be obtained from that historical
The irrational, loud-mouthed �Brown Shirted� types are
minions of corporate America and probably don�t understand what they are doing
as they shout down reasonable people. The not-so-hidden agenda of this powerful
group of elites who don�t want you to do the right thing for the American
majority is obvious to all observers.
So, President Obama, in your current battles for justice,
peace and equitable health care, always remember the so-called �Munich doctrine
against appeasement� and know that respect from your right-wing opponents will
only be grudgingly granted to you if you don�t cave in to them. If you do
compromise with them, they will know that you are weak and vulnerable and your
enemies will grow stronger. They will also be laughing all the way to the bank
if they see you on your knees, begging for understanding. Don�t give them that
satisfaction. They cannot be appeased.
Be strong and so what is right for the people, exactly what
you promised to do in your campaign.
And don�t forget, your rapidly dwindling progressive base respects
strength also, especially when it is exerted for the right reasons.
And the future of America -- and your daughters� futures --
will be brighter if you do the right thing.
Dr. Kohls is a physician from Duluth, MN, who
practiced holistic mental health care until his retirement in 2008. He is the
editor of the Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter and writes regularly about
issues of justice, peace, health care and politics. A number of videointerviews
that describe his medical practice philosophy are available on www.iHealthTube.com. His practice website is www.mindbodymedicineduluth.com.
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