The Ides of March

Today is the 15th March - The Ides of March.

It became significant as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.

For World War II buffs, it’s also significant as a fateful day for Europe. On this day in 1939 Hitler’s troops began the occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia, ending the pretence of the Munich Agreement. Nazi Germany had annexed the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia the previous October and promised the Western Powers that this would be the last of his territorial demands. They fell for it.

It could be said that this was the beginning of the end for Hitler. From this point forward the road to war was inevitable. German troops marched in from the west and Hungarian troops moved into Ruthenia from the east. By the end of the day Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as a sovereign state.

Neither Britain nor France made the slightest move to intervene, even though at Munich they had provided Czechoslovakia with a guarantee against aggression.

It’s interesting reading about this period, and particularly the response in Britain. Not long before, Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had been lauded as a peacemaker. The Times and Daily Mail newspapers in particular had shown admiration for Hitler. Even after the 15th March the Daily Mail took its time to renounce Hitler. Of course, Winston Churchill new better.