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The Bell of Treason

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Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 288
Subject: History & Classics

The Bell of Treason

The 1938 Munich Agreement in Czechoslovakia

P.E. Caquet

A key episode in the prelude to World War II presented in a vivid and tragic new light

Hardback(Preorder only)
9781781257104 (Published 23 Aug 2018)

About the book

On returning from Germany on 30 September 1938 after his agreement with Hitler on the carve-up of Czechoslovakia, Neville Chamberlain addressed the British crowds: 'My good friends... I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.' Winston Churchill commented: 'You have chosen dishonour and you will have war.'

P.E. Caquet's history of the events leading to the Munich Agreement and its aftermath is told for the first time from the point of view of the peoples of Czechoslovakia. Basing his account on countless previously unexamined sources, including Czechoslovakian press, memoirs, private journals, military plans, parliamentary records, film and radio, Caquet presents one of the most shameful episodes in modern European history in a tragic new shape. Among its his most explosive revelations is the strength of the French and Czechoslovak forces before Munich. Germany's dominance turns out to have been an illusion. The case for appeasement never existed.

The Czechoslovakian authorities were Cassandras in their own country, the only ones who could see Hitler's threat for what it was. In Caquet's devastating account, their doomed struggle against extinction and the complacency of their notional allies finally gets the memorial it deserves

About the author

P.E. Caquet is a senior member of Hughes Hall, Cambridge. His PhD was published as The Orient, the Liberal Movement, and the Eastern Crisis of 1839-41. Before studying as a historian at Cambridge, he lived for ten years in Prague. He is fluent in Czech, Slovak, French, and German.


The disastrous 1938 Munich conference eighty years ago is usually seen from the vantage point of the victorious Hitler or the supine Anglo-French. Caquet's superb new account restores agency and subjectivity to the Czechoslovaks. Grippingly written with an eye for drama and dialogue, this book shows how close they came to resisting and just how traumatic the outcome was, not only for them but for the German democrats handed over to the Third Reich.

- Brendan Simms author of Britain's Europe

What strikes the modern reader is how this is so much more than history - it is a frightening exploration of dangers that face us today: fake news, lying politicians, and narrow-minded nationalisms all conspiring to threaten what is decent and open and honest. In this respect The Bell of Treason is more than compelling reading: it is essential

- Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 288
Subject: History & Classics

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