When Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy signed the Munich Agreement in the early hours of 30 September 1938, the Nazis recaptured the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, where ethnic Germans live mainly along the Czech border. The treaty also allowed Germany to retake Czechoslovakia, which they officially did on March 15, 1939. It should be noted that Czechoslovakia was not represented at the conference that decided the fate of that country. The agreement is later seen as a failed attempt to avoid a war with Nazi Germany. The American historian William L. Shirer estimated in his “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (1960) that Czechoslovakia, although Hitler was not bluffing about its intention to invade, could have resisted considerably. Shirer believed that Britain and France had sufficient air defence to avoid severe bombing of London and Paris, and could have waged a swift and fruitful war against Germany.  He quotes Churchill as saying that the agreement means that “Britain and France are in a much worse position than Hitler`s Germany.”  After personally inspecting the Czech fortifications, Hitler privately told Joseph Goebbels that “we shed a lot of blood” and that it was fortunate that there had been no fighting.  On 29 and 30 September 1938, an emergency meeting of the major European powers was held in Munich, without Czechoslovakia or the Soviet Union, allied with France and Czechoslovakia. An agreement was quickly reached on Hitler`s terms.
It was signed by the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy. On the military front, the Sudetenland was of strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defences were there to protect themselves from a German attack. The agreement between the four powers was signed with low intensity in the context of an undeclared German-Czechoslovak war, which had begun on 17 September 1938. Meanwhile, after 23 September 1938, Poland transferred its military units to the common border with Czechoslovakia.  Czechoslovakia bowed to diplomatic pressure from France and Great Britain and decided on 30 September to cede Germany to Munich conditions. Fearing a possible loss of Zaolzie to Germany, Poland issued an ultimatum to Zaolzie, with a majority of Polish ethnic groups, which Germany had accepted in advance and accepted Czechoslovakia on 1 October.  The British people expected an imminent war and Chamberlain`s “state gesture” was initially applauded.