Barney Gumbel makes the argument that Chamberlain’s concessions to the Nazis in 1938 wasn’t so bad after all, and in fact, had Chamberlain not sued for peace, the war would have been worse.
Ironically enough, last night I was thumbing through a brilliant little book called What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been which deals with alternate scenarios for historical events. One of those scenarios deals with the concept of what would happen if Chamberlain had not conceded the Sudatenland of Czechoslavakia to Hitler.
Gumble cites this site that claims that the British were not prepared for war in 1938. However, what is left out is the fact that Germany was not prepared either. As historian Williamson Murray points out in What If? 2:
What the historians can suggest from the available evidence us that the strategic situation in 1938 was far more favorable to the Allies than it would prove in the following year. Tragically, in mid-September the British tried and failed to grapple with the question of whether the loss of Czechoslavakia to the Germans might fundamentally alter the European balance of power in German’s favor were war to break out in 1939. The evidence indicates that it did, and that a major factor in the catastrophic German victories in the spring of 1940 resulted from the additional year and a half the Germans had to prepare. Winston Churchill quite accurately described Munich as "a defeat without war." The tragedy of European history was the fact that the one great risk Hitler decided at the last moment not to take was the one risk that might have ended the terrible adventure before it had begun.
Murray finds that the German Army would have been heavily beaten by the relatively well-prepared Czech Army – not enough to stall an invasion, but enough to inflict heavy damage on the Wehrmacht at their weakest stage. Such an event would have weakened the Germans by forcing them to fight on two fronts early in the war, preventing the blitzkrieg attacks that overwhelmed Poland and France in 1939 and 1940.
Again, the left proves the wise words of George Satayana: "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."