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'Munich - The Edge of War': Is the Netflix film based on a true story?

Still from Netflix's Munich - The Edge of War - British Prime Minister (Image via Netflix)
Still from Netflix's Munich - The Edge of War - British Prime Minister (Image via Netflix)
Shruti Kotiya
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Netflix's latest release, Munich - The Edge of War, revolves around actual events and characters from history, when Germany was under Nazi rule.

Directed by Christian Schwochow, and with a screenplay by Ben Power, the film revolves around a series of potential events in history that could have changed certain outcomes, like World War II.

It's time to learn a bit more about Munich - The Edge of War, and understand how the countries ended up participating in the deadliest war known to mankind.


Is 'Munich - The Edge of War' a true story?

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Netflix's Munich - The Edge of War is not a true story but is inspired by true events and real-life characters. The film is based on Robert Harris' 2017 historical fiction, Munich.

The plot of the book is set around real-life events that occurred in 1938 when Europe was on the brink of war due to Hitler's wish to expand his territory. Munich - The Edge of War failed to include the Czechs themselves, who were not allowed a seat at the table at the Munich conference that decided the fate of their country.

Munich - The Edge of War also confirms the conspiracy by anti-Nazi officials in 1938 to violently remove Hitler from power, becoming a historically accurate fact from the film.

It is true that they would've succeeded with the plan if Great Britain and France had been tough on Hitler at the Munich conference and didn't let him undertake Sudetenland. So, the indecision to assassinate Hitler was very well carried out in Munich - The Edge of War.


The real-life Paul von Hartmann

Although, there is no real world inspiration for George MacKay's character, Hugh Legatt, Jannis Niewöhner's Paul von Hartmann was loosely inspired by a real-life anti-Nazi diplomat Adam von Trott zu Solz. He joined the Nazi party in order to carry out the secret activities against the regime, and was also a former Oxford student.

Solz also met Neville Chamberlain, not in Munich but at the latter's country house in June 1939, after Hitler broke the treaty. He was arrested for his role in Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg's plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944, which was known as Operation Valkyrie. He was then found guilty and hanged in August the same year.


The story behind the secret documents

The secret Nazi documents that Hugh Legat and Paul von Hartmann were smuggling into the hands of Neville Chamberlain in Munich - The Edge of War, were actually based on real-life papers known as Hossbach Memorandum. The documents contained minutes from Hitler's secret meeting in Berlin in November 1939, specifically about his plans to expand.

The memorandum was created by Colonel Friedrich Hossbach, Hitler's military adjutant who took down the minutes of his meeting. Hitler stated that in the case of his death, the documents should be regarded as his "political testament."

The Hossbach Memorandum was eventually obtained by the Allies and used at the Nuremberg Trials following World War II. There is no evidence of any attempt to smuggle those documents into the hands of the British Prime Minister that occurred in Munich - The Edge of War.


Hitler's beliefs

Hitler believed that Germany should be an autocracy instead of relying on other countries for resources, which made the country weak, especially in the times of war. He believed that taking over neighboring countries was the only solution to become self-sufficient as Germany's own supplies were not enough to sustain the population.

The Hossbach Memorandum marked the start of Hitler revealing his actual intentions of expansion by force, which also included Austria and Czechoslovakia. He also mentioned that Britain and France, two "hate-inspired antagonists," were the ones who constantly prevented German foreign policy from succeeding.

Within the next five years, he reasoned that Germany had to conquer Eastern Europe in order to prepare itself for war with Britain and France.

Within the next five years, he reasoned that Germany would be left with no choice but to conquer Eastern Europe in order to prepare itself for a likely war with Britain and France.

The memorandum was created by Colonel Friedrich Hossbach, Hitler's military adjutant who took the minutes of the meeting. Hitler stated that if he died, the contents of the memorandum were to be regarded as his "political testament."


Neville's infamous statement

Munich - The Edge of War implies that Neville Chamberlain's efforts to postpone the war or perhaps keep the peace, bought the country time to prepare. However, in reality, it only amounted to a year which they used to build up the RAF's fleet of fighter planes and continued with the rearmament program. At the same time, this decision had also allowed Hitler to strengthen Germany.

In 1938, after the Munich conference, Chamberlain returned with a piece of paper in his hand to declare that he had achieved diplomatic victory with the Führer himself, which secured the future of Britain.

He said: "I have returned from Germany with peace for our time," which has become one of the most untrue public statements in history. Instead, he had given Hitler the greenlight to begin his plan to takeover at the expense of the Czechs.


Readers can catch these historical moments in action in Munich - The Edge of War, now streaming on Netflix.



Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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