The Wall Street Journal quotes Vladimir Putin’s justification for occupying the Crimea:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia reserves the right to use force in Ukraine to protect Russian-speaking residents there…….”
This was a ploy used by Hitler to assert control of the Sudetenland in 1938. Sudetenland is the name given to the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and parts of Silesia, within Czechoslovakia, that had large German-speaking populations. Hitler encouraged Konrad Henlein, leader of the Sudeten Nazis, to rebel, demanding a union with Germany. When the Czech government declared martial law, Hitler threatened war. This led to the September 1938 betrayal of Czechoslovakia by France and Britain. Adopting a policy of appeasement, the two countries agreed to give Hitler the Sudetenland, with Chamberlain describing the crisis as “a quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing”. On his return to London, Chamberlain asserted that the accord with Germany signaled “peace for our time”.
Hitler enters the Sudetenland, Bundesarchiv, Bild | October 1938
In March 1939, German troops occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. In September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland on a similar pretext of protecting the German minority from persecution. War followed, leaving more than 60 million dead. Almost two-thirds were civilians.
Hopefully Western leaders have learned from history. Appeasement is not an option.
Read more at BBC History and Wikipedia: The Sudeten Crisis.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. ~ Winston Churchill