What was the last point where Hitler could realistically have been pressured into backing down?

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#1
I’m reading Andrew Roberts’ biography of Churchill and I’m up to the chapters covering the UK's appeasement of Germany, and aside from the obvious frustration and shock one feels when reading about it, I was interested by one part, which reads:
That month (June, 1938) the anti-Nazi German Edwald von Kleist visited Chartwell and assured Churchill that at least half of the Wehrmacht High Command 'were convinced that an attack on Czechoslovakia would involve Germany in war with France and Britain and that Germany could not last three months'.
To people that are more knowledgable in World War II than I am, would this be an accurate statement of his? Could Hitler truly have been pressured by a joint Anglo-French coalition into backing down by the threat of war, or was it already too late at this point?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,315
Dispargum
#2
If Britain, France, and Czechoslovakia had presented a credible threat of war at Munich, Hitler would have backed down, but it would by no means be a permanent end to his ambition. He would have tried something else in the future. Restoring German greatness was Hitler's only reason to exist, and in Hitler's mind German greatness had not yet been achieved in 1938.

Considering the actual timeline, Czechoslovakia probably was the last time that Hitler could have been pressured into backing down. By the time Hitler's sights were set on Poland he was committed. I believe he went into the Polish invasion fairly certain that Britain and France would declare war but by that time he didn't care.

Transitioning back into alternate history, if Hitler had threatened Poland without the Non-Agression Pact with the USSR, he probably would have backed down then, too, but with the pact he didn't have to back down.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
#3
I agree with Chlodio's well written post, including the assertion that Hitler would have likely been an aggressor, again, in the future. As for shutting down Hitler once and for all, 1936 was probaly the latest date. Challenging his reoccupation of the Rhineland was that opportunity.
 
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kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,767
USA
#4
Hitler would have backed down if Allies had threatened with solid military action immediately upon knowing German rearmament. Since that didn't happen dominos started falling to German favor.
 
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#5
Hitler would have backed down if Allies had threatened with solid military action immediately upon knowing German rearmament. Since that didn't happen dominos started falling to German favor.
Do you think that was the last time? I think it was when the German forces marched into the Rhineland. Had France countered, with naval backing from GB, Hitler would have backed down.
 
Sep 2017
738
United States
#6
Not sure when was the latest it would be possible, but a larger scale version of the Occupation of the Ruhr that France and Belgium undertook in the 20's probably could've militarily ended ambitions.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,368
#7
I'm not sure that Hitler would have baked down. There was soem unrest amongst teh miliatry leadershipbut I think itt's unlikley they would act, and HItler was certianly unaware of it. The British and French had already created a vibe of unwillingness to fight. (Manchuria, Ethopia, Spian, Austris, Rhineland) I not sur ethat they could have convinced Hitler to back down. I think fighting in 1938 would have been better.
 
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GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,450
Wirral
#8
If Britain, France, and Czechoslovakia had presented a credible threat of war at Munich, Hitler would have backed down, but it would by no means be a permanent end to his ambition. He would have tried something else in the future.
Isn’t there a view that his position within Germany would have been at the least drastically weakened if he had been forced to back down?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,368
#9
Isn’t there a view that his position within Germany would have been at the least drastically weakened if he had been forced to back down?
Marginally. by 1938 the Nazi death grip of German society was very pronouced. If teh Nazis rounded up any agitators and they disappeared, shot a few Generals I doubt anyone would have done anythng. No one blinked after the Night of the long Knives when teh grip was new and not so entrenched.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,315
Dispargum
#10
Isn’t there a view that his position within Germany would have been at the least drastically weakened if he had been forced to back down?
He had a string of successes: fixing the economy, rearmament, the Rhineland, Austria. These bought him a lot of good will. He could have survived one failure, maybe even two, especially if he cut his losses early. As it was, Hitler went into Munich smelling blood in the water. Afterwards Hitler actually resented Mussolini for arranging the Munich Conference. Hitler probably expected to get more than Munich gave him. Munich only gave him the Sudetenland and to get that Hitler had to promise to make no more territorial demands. Without Munich Hitler probably expected to take all of Czechoslovakia immediately instead of waiting until later. Hitler certainly would have never promised to end his territorial ambitions if he didn't have to. Seen that way, Munich was a compromise and less of triumph than Hitler expected, but it didn't hurt him in the long run. Hitler had good instincts. If he had sensed early that Britain and France were going to fight for Czech independence there's a good chance that he would have cut his losses rather than risk an embarrassing defeat.

There's also the possibility that an embarrassing defeat would have motivated Hitler to try some other agression only this time he'd be even more driven to succeed.
 
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