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On January 30 1933 the Nazis acquired mastery of Germany when Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor That evening Hitler stood triumphantly in the window of the Reich Chancellery waving to thousands of storm troopers who staged parades throughout the streets of Berlin The Nazis proclaimed that their Third Reich would be the greatest civilization in history and would last for thousands of years But the meteoric rise of Hitler and national socialism was followed by an almost equally rapid defeat the Third Reich survived for a mere twelve years But 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 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
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