By early 1939, Britain’s policy of appeasement had been cast aside. World governments hastily formed alliances in preparation of the impending war. On August 28 the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed. In order that Stalin would put his signature to it, Hitler added a secret provision. Namely, once Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet military would reoccupy territory lost in the Treaty of Versailles. Both sides agreed that this would begin to rectify the wrongs committed against them at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
Frantisek Moravec—head of Czechoslovak military intelligence—had just finished lunch and was comfortably ensconced in his favorite office chair enjoying his customary digestif, Becherbitter. It was 12:30 and the afternoon sunshine was simply glorious for a late August day. He had put off his usual after-lunch constitutional to chew over the morning proceedings, which had been particularly stressful. The Czechoslovak government in exile had begrudgingly accepted that their country had now ceased to exist. It had been divided into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the newly declared Slovak State and the Carpathian Ukraine. Their country was now firmly under the fisted grip of the Third Reich. Finishing his drink, he stood and walked to the window. Lighting a cigarette, he gazed aimlessly outside. He still hadn’t heard whether his wife and children had safely escaped from Prague. The good news was that his niece and her child had arrived safely at the port of Harwich. Since he had not heard from her, additional worry had settled in. He stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray and lit another, then settled in behind his desk.
The morning session had revolved around three major topics: the growing shortages in Czechoslovakia ...