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One of the main causes of World War II was Hitlers public justification for the dismemberment of the Czech state through either war or diplomacy was the plight of the 35 million ethnic Germans the Treaty of Versailles had left inside Czechoslovakia The main land that Hitler wanted to annex to Germany was that of the Sudetenland where most of the people living there were of German origin The land also bordered Germany to the South East and Germany was prepared to conquer this land at all cost Czechoslovakia had been created in 1919 The new nation was created out of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire and it contained numerous nationalities 3200000 Germans 7450000 Czechs 2300000 Slovaks 720000 Magyars 560000 Ruthenes 100000 Poles It was almost inevitable that trouble would occur between the various nationalities This was especially true of the Germans who resented living under the rule of foreigners The Germans mostly lived in the region on the western border with Germany - the Sudetenland A SPEECH BY ADOLF HITLER And now before us stands the last problem that must be solved and will be solved It the Sudetenland is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe but it is the claim from which I will not recede - Adolf Hitler in a speech in Berlin September 26 1938 just prior to the Munich conference Most of the German minorities live in Sudetenland an economically valuable and strategically important area along the Czech border with Germany and Austria The grievances of the Sudeten Germans against the Czech state had led to the rise of a strong German nationalist movement in the Sudetenland By the mid -1930s this movement had the support of almost 70 percent of the Sudeten German population Their leader the pro-Nazi Konrad Heinlen began demanding autonomy for this region Both the real and contrived problems of the Sudeten Germans added credibility to Hitlers charge that
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