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The Munich Agreement, signed in September 1938 between Germany (Hitler), France (Daladier), Italy (Mussolini) and the United Kingdom (Chamberlain), was meant to prevent the escalation of war in Europe, but became a source of great grief for Czechoslovakia and regret for some of those who signed it with good intentions. In fact, such was its vanity, that one war historian described the whole episode as follows: ‘Under pressure from the ruthless, the clueless combined with the spineless to achieve the worthless’.
Sadly, it is one of many such pacts of pain and horrible handshakes that have created havoc across the world, and exposed the overreach of political ambition and the treacherous heart of man. Was God appealed to, on that day when the Agreement was signed? Were there heads bowed and a prayer offered? Or simply four proud men, with smiles on their faces and secrets in their hearts, trusting their own judgement and doing their own will?
Moses, at the end of the only Psalm that is included in his name in the Book, pens this earnest petition: ‘May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.’ Perhaps it is too much to think of such a prayer being included at that Munich meeting. But maybe if it was, ink might not have been put to the pact, spines might have been strengthened, and the world might have been spared of much suffering.
DM 15th February 2022