Heil Adolph Putin: After Crimea ,Who's Next?From printmag.com
His armies invaded Ukraine and occupied the Crimean capitol — in a tactic that resembles Hitler’s 1938 annexation of the Sudetenland. It’s not complicated to see that Putin is on a dangerous path.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the breakaway Crimea region of Ukraine as an independent state, one more step to total annexation of the peninsula by Moscow. The move came hours after Crimea's parliament made a similar claim
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign state, one day after it overwhelmingly approved a referendum to secede from Ukraine, Russian news outlets reported on Monday, citing the Kremlin press service.
The decree, published on the Kremlin’s website, took effect immediately, Reuters reports. It says Moscow’s recognition of Crimea as independent is based on “the will of the people of Crimea.”
On Sunday, more than 93 percent of voters in Crimea, the autonomous southern peninsula in Ukraine, approved a contentious referendum to withdraw from Kiev’s government and pivot to Russia. Western powers had labeled the ballot “illegitimate.”
Putin’s move comes hours after Crimea’s parliament made a similar claim and the day before the president’s planned address to a joint session of Russian Parliament about the rapidly unfolding situation.
On Monday, President Barack Obama quickly responded to the vote by announcing a number of economic sanctions to be imposed on several aides in Putin’s inner circle and top political leaders in Crimea.[Reuters]
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia signed a decree late Monday night formally recognizing Ukraine’s Crimea region as a “sovereign and independent state,” defying the United States and Europe just hours after they imposed their first financial sanctions since the crisis began and laying the groundwork for possible annexation.
Mr. Putin’s decree came after the breakaway republic formally declared its independence and asked Russia to annex it in keeping with the results of a referendum conducted Sunday under the watch of Russian troops. The Kremlin announced that Mr. Putin would address both houses of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday, when many expect him to endorse annexation.
The moves showed that Moscow had no intention of backing down in the face of Western sanctions over a dispute that has created a profound rift in East-West relations and threatens the security of borders created after the Soviet Union’s breakup in the early 1990s.
The resolution pledged “to contribute to the social and economic development of Crimea and the prosperity of its population, to maintain peace, calm and conciliation on this territory during the transition period.”
Even the last Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, whose role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union is deeply reviled in Russia, endorsed Crimea’s move, telling Interfax that its independence “should be welcomed and not met with the announcement of sanctions.”
“If until now Crimea had been joined to Ukraine because of Soviet laws that were taken without asking the people, then now the people have decided to rectify this error,” he said.
Earlier Monday the United States froze the assets and banned travel for 11 Russian and Ukrainian political figures, including top aides and allies of Mr. Putin as well as former President Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine, whose ouster following pro-Western street protests last month prompted the Russian military incursion into Crimea. The European Union followed suit with sanctions against 21 Russians and Ukrainians, although none as prominent as those on the American list.
“We’re making it clear there are consequences for these actions,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement in the White House briefing room on Monday morning. “The international community will continue to stand together to oppose any violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's northern and western border regions, known collectively as the Sudetenland, under terms outlined by the Munich Agreement. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's pretext for this effort was the alleged privations suffered by the ethnic German population living in those regions. New and extensive Czechoslovak border fortifications were also located in the same area.
Following the Anschluss of Nazi Germany and Austria, in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler's next ambition. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Nazi Germany left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation. On 16 March 1939, the German Wehrmacht moved into the remainder of Czechoslovakia and, from Prague Castle, Hitler proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The occupation ended with the surrender of Germany following World War II. From Wikipedia
Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia's northern and western border regions, known collectively as the SudetenlandFrom ww2.resource
The Sudeten Germans
The British & French soon had to face another crisis provoked by Hitler. During 1937, Hitler had also set sights on Czechoslovakia, a new state created by the Treaty of Versailles, & had drawn up plans for a surprise attack on it. The annexation of Austria meant that the Czechs were now surrounded on three sides by Germany.
Hitler made his first move almost as soon as Austria had been secured. The Sudetenland, the westernmost part of Czechoslovakia, had a sizeable German population, & Hitler instructed its leader, Konrad Henlein, to campaign for greater autonomy. He also began to threaten Czechoslovakia, which mobilized its armed forces & called on its ally, France, for support. The French turned to the British & prime minister Neville Chamberlain went to Prague to try to persuade Czechoslovakia’s president, Eduard Benes, to agree to Henlein’s demands. The Germans, meanwhile, concentrated troops on the Czech border. Hitler told his generals that he would take military action if the matter had not been resolved by October 1938.
The Brink of War
Hitler continued his saber-rattling & this resulted in an uprising by the Germans in the Sudetenland in mid-September, which the Czech army quickly crushed. Fearful that Hitler would now invade, the British prime minister, with French support, decided that he should meet Hitler in person to defuse the situation. In the meantime, both Britain & France carried out a partial mobilization.
Chamberlain felt strongly that Sudetenland was not worth the horrors of another European war. Through the Munich Agreement of September 1929, the German parts of Sudetenland were exchanged for a declaration by Hitler that he had no further territorial ambitions. The agreement was signed by Britain, France, Italy & Germany, but the Czechs had no say in the matter. On October 1st, German troops marched into Sudetenland, while Chamberlain returned in triumph to Britain, declaring that he had secured peace. The British & French expressed wholesale relief that war had been averted, but Hitler was frustrated that he had been denied the opportunity to deal with the Czechoslovakian problem.
While Hitler planned his next moves on the European stage, attention in Germany & outside it turned to a new dramatic phase in the persecution of Jews. The night of November 9/10, 1938, which became known as Kristallnacht, saw the most widespread & concerted outbreak of violence yet directed against Germany’s Jews.