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Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained

‘Munich: The Edge of War’ is a political drama film directed by Christian Schwochow (‘Je Suis Karl’) based on author Robert Harris’ best-selling novel ‘Munich.’ It takes place in 1938, during Adolf Hitler’s declaration of war on Czechoslovakia. With a catastrophic war on the horizon, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain seeks a diplomatic settlement to the dispute.

However, two young diplomats attempt to draw Chamberlain’s attention to an important document that could change the game. If you’re wondering whether the duo succeeds in their objective and how they alter the conclusion of the peace talks, here’s everything you need to know about the film’s ending. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Plot Synopsis for Munich: The Edge of War

‘Munich: The Edge of War’ introduces visitors to Oxford undergraduates Paul von Hartmann and Hugh Legat. Hugh’s close friend Paul is a German exchange student. Hugh is now working as a civil servant in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s office, and the story jumps ahead a few years. Paul works in the Foreign Ministry in Germany and is a member of the increasing resistance to Adolf Hitler.

When Hitler declares his plan to attack Czechoslovakia, France and the United Kingdom are forced to intervene. However, in order to avoid war and the suffering of his people, Chamberlain decided to hold friendly talks with Hitler. Chamberlain arranges a meeting with Hitler and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier with the assistance of Benito Mussolini. As a result of Hitler’s agreement to the peace talks, the resistance’s efforts to depose the dictator fail.

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However, when Paul’s associate Helen Winter discloses a document exposing details of Hitler’s ambitious plan to take over Europe, he gains new hope. The document has the potential to expose Hitler’s peace talks as a hoax, as he intends to take strong action against all of Europe. Paul decides to share the document with Chamberlain at the Munich Peace Summit. Hugh is assigned to the British Prime Minister’s entourage in Munich at Paul’s request. Paul meets with Hugh and shares the papers after narrowly avoiding capture.

At the conference, Hitler declares that all he wants is the land that was once Germany’s. Hitler’s demands are accepted by the other leaders. It is agreed that Germany will be permitted to occupy the Sudetenland. Because the deal is due to be signed the next day, Paul and Hugh must speak with Chamberlain and persuade him not to sign. Their best chance is to show Chamberlain the document. Hugh arranges a meeting between Chamberlain and Paul after some stumbling blocks.

Munich: On the Verge of War’s End: Will Chamberlain Sign the Papers?

In the final part of the film, Paul has a private talk with Chamberlain. He attempts to persuade Britain’s Prime Minister that Hitler poses a threat to the entire continent. Hitler’s peace summit objectives will only serve as a stepping stone in his desire to dominate Europe. However, Chamberlain is unconvinced. To begin with, while Chamberlain recognizes Hitler as a threat, he sees no clear countermeasures and does not trust the German opposition.

Image Credit: Frederic Batier/Netflix

Furthermore, Chamberlain’s number one priority is the safety of his staff. If Chamberlain refuses to sign the peace treaty, Hitler will declare war on Czechoslovakia, forcing the French and British to intervene. The United Kingdom does not want to participate in the conflict since its forces are not properly prepared. Similarly, the war will harm the spirit of the country and its citizens. As a result, Chamberlain refuses to agree with Paul and signs the agreement papers.

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Chamberlain did take a preventative measure by having Hitler sign a joint declaration that prevents Britain and Germany from going to war with each other. However, as history shows, the peace only lasted a year before the chaos of the Second World War, precipitated by Hitler, swept the continent. As terrible and meaningless as the conclusion of the Munich Agreement proved to be, Chamberlain’s decision to sign the papers was in the best interests of his country since it allowed Britain and its allies to prepare for war.

What Will Happen to Paul? Is he going to die?

The film’s main character, Paul von Hartmann, makes a strong case for launching a pre-emptive assault against Hitler. Paul was a staunch fan of Hitler earlier in his life. His opinion changes, however, once his former girlfriend, Lenya, succumbs to the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish sentiments. Since then, Paul has tried to depose Hitler and has plotted a coup against the dictator. His strategy, however, fails when Chamberlain refuses to cooperate with the opposition. As a result, seeing no other option, Paul decides to assassinate Hitler personally.

Image Credit: Frederic Batier/Netflix

Paul is adamant that Hitler is a threat to the entire globe, and that his aspirations would only result in murder and disaster. In the final seconds, Paul finds an opportunity to speak with the Führer alone and removes the rifle he was carrying. However, Paul chooses not to assassinate Hitler because he believes he lacks the legal authority to do so. Furthermore, his activities will be viewed as cowardly and of no consequence. As a result, Paul is caught in a moral quandary and must choose between playing dirty and keeping his values. He opts for the latter and saves Hitler.

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Throughout the movie, Nazi trooper Franz Sauer pursues Paul and suspects him of plotting against Hitler. Hugh believes Sauer discovered the paper and warns Paul that his life is in jeopardy. When Paul leaves Hitler’s office, he expects to be punished, but he hears that Sauer was unable to produce evidence of Paul’s scheme. Hugh’s accomplice safely retrieved the document before Sauer could. Finally, Paul survives and resolves to continue battling Hitler.

Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained
Munich: The Edge of War Ending Explained

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