Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Russia: Another Rhineland

The key part of this article is that the other Russian neighbors are now fearful of also being annexed back into the Soviet block.

Would a Marine Division stationed in Ukraine make the region more stable? Or a mob of peacenik hippies who can tell the Russians how evil they are?

Russia: Another Rhineland: "Russia has announced that it will, in effect, annex the Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. No one is willing to face down the Russians on this issue, which many of Russias neighbors see as the first of many such annexations. There is a precedent for this sort of thing, and it all began on the French-German border in 1936.

Some historians see the German reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936 as the real beginning of World War II. As part of the treaty that ended World War I, Germany agreed to keep troops out of the Rhineland (a German region on the French border). Going back in was a huge gamble for the Germans, who were in the midst of rebuilding their military, and, in 1936, much weaker than France or Britain. But neither of these countries were willing to risk the violence that might occur if they went after the 32,000 troops and police Germany sent into the Rhineland. This convinced Hitler that he could bully the Western allies, and grab neighboring countries with impunity. This worked for Austria and Czechoslovakia, but triggered World War II when Germany and Russia (by prior agreement) carved up Poland in 1939."

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