North Korea

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un (right)

In 1934, Adolf Hitler signed a non-aggression pact with Poland. In 1936, he rearmed Germany in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. The United States, England, France and Russia did nothing. In March 1938, Hitler annexed Austria. The western allies did nothing. In September 1938, England signed a declaration turning over a part of Czechoslovakia to the Germans, and the British Prime Minister declared “peace in our time.”

Almost exactly one year later, Germany invaded Poland. Appeasement didn’t work. What would have been the result if the western allies had stood up to Hitler and issued an ultimatum demanding that he disarm or face military force?

He wouldn’t since he had been rearming Germany for four years and had a massive military force, so we probably would have been in a huge war that would have likely have cost maybe 5 million lives. That would have been terrible, but it pales in comparison with the 14 million dead in World War II.

The comparison with what has happened as a result of North Korea’s repeated defiance of the United Nations’ mandates and sanctions is undeniable.

Appeasement didn’t work well with the bully in Germany then and it won’t work against the bully in North Korea now. We’ve been trying that for several decades and Kim Jong Un has assembled a huge military machine with nuclear weapons.

Appeasement has been letting him get stronger and more powerful until he decides that it’s time to invade South Korea to “unify the peninsula and end the war” for almost the same reasons Hitler annexed part of Czechoslovakia because “they speak the same language, have important industrial resources, etc.” The result would likely be catastrophic.

The nations in the U.N. should know but seem to be forgetting hard lessons once learned.

Bill Kreh