Tuesday, 6 September 1938

This post is part of a series post-blogging the Sudeten crisis of August-October 1938. See here for an introduction to the series, and here for a conclusion. The entire series can be downloaded as an ebook.

CZECHS MAKE 'FINAL' CONCESSIONS / Decision at Midnight / FRANCE RECALLS RESERVISTS / Daily Mail, 6 September 1938, p. 9

Apologies for the fairly ordinary quality of the above (it's a scan of a photocopy of a microfilm of the original ...) but it illustrates a problem with relying on headlines for information, as I'm sure some people did back then as they do today. It's from the Daily Mail, p. 9, and you can immediately see the difference in style to the other papers I've been using: the headlines are bigger, bolder, more 'modern'. They are also a bit alarming. Final concessions ... decision at midnight ... France recalls reservists! But while the concessions are 'believed to represent the final limit of concessions the Czechs intend to make, regardless of any pressure which may be put upon them from any quarter', they are also described by Ralph Izzard (the Daily Mail was also up-to-date in giving its reporters their own byline, instead of, e.g., 'our correspondent') as 'very generous [...] almost complete acceptance, as a basis for negotiation, of Herr Henlein's eight Carlsbad demands'. The decision at midnight is just when the Czech leaders ended their meeting, not a deadline for acceptance of an ultimatum. So that seems positive enough, although it would seem that events are moving towards a conclusion, whatever that will be.

I seem to have misplaced my hardcopy, so I don't have the text for the French reservists to hand, but an article in the The Times says (p. 12) that, as a precaution, the French Council of Ministers has recalled some reservists (not whole classes: it's not a full mobilisation) in order to bring the Maginot Line up to strength, especially its technical units. Also, all leave has been cancelled. This is a reaction to the German maneuvers on the other side of the border, as well as to the general international situation, though as to that, the official French communique, ‘the general situation seems to be moving towards an appreciable détente’.

The Manchester Guardian's diplomatic correspondent reports (p. 9) from London that:

The crisis, according to the view taken here, would seem to be approaching its most critical stage. There is reason to believe that Hitler has not yet decided between peace and war. The military precautions taken by France are regarded with full approval.

The attitude of Italy is unknown. The recent imposition of anti-Semitic measures may be designed to impress Arab opinion, but it could also be that they designed to impress German opinion. Mussolini is reported to be looking upon Tunis (a French city) as ‘a sort of African "Sudetenland"’, since there are many Italians living there. So Britain is taking 'certain precautions in the Mediterranean'.

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