The Munich Crisis, politics and the people

International, transnational and comparative perspectives

The turbulent diplomatic events of September 1938 aroused substantial public excitement, yet the ‘public’, the ‘people’, the ‘material’ and the ‘popular’ have hitherto been marginalised within a vast historiography dominated by traditional perspectives. Indeed, the most neglected aspects of this ‘model’ crisis – despite the abundance of sources – are the social, cultural, material and emotional, as well as public opinion, an oversight addressed in this collection. The book will also internationalise the original ‘Munich moment’, as existing studies are overwhelmingly Anglo- and Western-centric. It provides a corrective to the long-standing proclivity to consider the Munich Crisis almost exclusively from the viewpoint of politicians and diplomats. The original ‘moment’ will thus be analysed from a variety of relatively unchartered perspectives. Popular responses to the crisis will be prominent, comparing collective responses to individual ones, teasing out its psychological and emotional dimensions, allowing a more holistic and ‘emotional’ history to emerge. The variety of contributions provides an international breadth that is unprecedented in the existing literature, with chapters focusing not only on Britain but also Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the United States, Italy, Germany, France and the Soviet Union. It also furnishes a broader reflection on the status of our discipline, accentuating the benefits of exploring many of the hitherto under-scrutinised issues exposed by the ‘cultural’ and ‘emotional’ turns. The Munich Crisis will thus receive a thorough re-examination that moves beyond those formulaic and Anglo-centric analyses that fixate on positioning the (overwhelmingly male) practitioners of ‘high’ politics as either ‘appeasers’ or ‘anti-appeasers’.

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