The Munich Analogy - Conclusion

Political leaders have used the Munich analogy to justify what they believe is critical foreign intervention and to remind the public of its obligations to defend liberty. They also have used it to divert attention away from thorny "public relations" problems such as the Vietnam War syndrome and even to discredit critics. In fact, the "lesson" of Munich has continued to be relevant even in the present, as each generation ostensibly seeks to avoid the mistakes of its predecessors. Just as the leaders of the 1930s learned much from World War I, post–World War II and Cold War leaders learned much from Munich: the consequences of futile good intentions. And while leaders of the twenty-first century may not fully comprehend the process whereby the Munich agreement became the prologue to the even greater tragedy of World War II, they do seem unlikely to dismiss it from their realm of political discourse. As Donald N. Lammers reminds us in Explaining Munich, "Taken one way or another, Munich has become the great 'object lesson' of our age."

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