Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained: Why does Chamberlain have Hitler sign a second document?

Munich: The Edge of War Plot Synopsis

Munich: The Edge of War takes place right on the eve of World War II, deep in the heart of 1938. We’re two years before the events depicted in 2017’s The Darkest Hour, for those interested to know.

Germany stands on the brink of war. With Hitler rising in power, he sets his sights on invading Czechoslovakia. The British government are led by Neville Chamberlain, who’s desperate for a peaceful solution to prevent Britain being pulled into another war.

In the middle of this conflict are former classmates – a British civil servant called Hugh Legat and a German diplomat by the name of Paul von Hartman. These two travel to Munich on opposing sides for the upcoming peace talks, and in the hope to stop war before it consumes Europe.

Does Hitler sign the papers?

Anyone who knows the history of World War II will inevitably know the answer to this but for the purpose of this recap, the quick answer is yes.

Just before Chamberlain is called in to sign the papers with Hitler, Paul manages to get 3 minutes to speak to the British Prime Minister, thanks to Hugh setting up a meeting between the pair.

Paul urges Chamberlain not to sign the papers, pointing out that Hitler is a monster and must not be allowed to have his way.

Hitler’s demands are simply a distraction and a formality before he sets his sights on conquering Europe. Chamberlain remains defiant in his stand that he’s enacting peace and keeping Britain out of war. The thing is, if he doesn’t sign the papers then Hitler invades Czechoslovakia and with it, France and Britain are automatically thrown into war anyway.

To try and combat this, Chamberlain futilely has another document signed with Hitler. This states that Britain and Germany will be at peace and not go to war with one another. That obviously doesn’t hold much weight, and even Hitler scoffs at this in private.

Do the Germans manage to obtain Paul’s secret document?

The espionage plot running through this movie revolves around a document detailing Hitler’s true intentions. Thanks to his associate Helen Winter, Paul has definitive proof that the peace talks are a smokescreen and that Hitler intends to conquer Europe.

Now, Paul’s motivations stem from his past, where his opinions of Hitler sour when his former girlfriend Lenya ends up on the receiving end of anti-Jewish sentiments. This essentially pushed him to work behind enemy lines, intent on taking Hitler down and being part of a resistance of sorts to make that happen.

With Chamberlain refusing to budge on his dead-set plan to sign the papers, Paul enacts a risky plan to kill Hitler himself.

And as fate would have it, Paul has a moment alone with Adolf Hitler not long after this. Gripping his gun, he’s frozen to the spot and finds himself unable to brandish his gun or pull the trigger. Instead, he relinquishes his grip on the firearm and buckles.

Does Paul survive?

After a tense meeting with the führer, Paul bumps into Franz who happens to be waiting outside the office. Just prior to this meeting, Paul was led to believe by Hugh that the secret document was stolen from the latter’s study. Preparing for the worst, Paul is surprised to learn Franz is unaware of his deception.

This dangerous man has been suspicious of Paul for a while but he’s shocked to learn he doesn’t know about the document.

It turns out one of Hugh’s associates, Joan, actually retrieved the document from Hugh’s room before Franz could find it. It’s a big sigh of relief for all involved in what could have been a really tense and unpleasant meeting between the pair.

While Paul lives to fight another day, the end of peace in Europe is nigh.

What was the purpose of the second document?

Portrayed in this movie, Chamberlain was made out to be smarter than he looked. Deep down, he seemed to know war would be coming but all he could do was “play the cards he’s been dealt”, typified by that final chat aboard the plane.

This second document may not have prevented Hitler from invading Europe, but this agreement, if broken, would allow Chamberlain to oust Hitler as the evil man we all knew him to be.

This, in turn, would allow the Allied forces to come together and declare war legally and stop Hitler’s reign. Of course, there were several defining moments that did turn the tide of World War II in the Allied forces’ favour – namely Stalingrad and El Alamein – but without out benefit of hindsight, Chamberlain is left to cling to the hope that he’s done what’s best for Britain.

You can actually find a comprehensive breakdown of the full timeline for World War II here! We’d strongly recommend giving it a read if you want to know how victory was achieved by the Allied forces.


Read More: Munich: The Edge Of War Movie Review

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