Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine was not very original.

As others have noted, his claim that it was necessitated by the “genocide” carried out against ethnic Russians in the Donbas region recalls Hitler’s strategy for destroying democratic Czechoslovakia in the run-up to World War II.

Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia in order to incorporate into the Reich border districts with a German-speaking population. He did not have to invade, because the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Italy, with the carnage of the Great War still in everyone’s memory, acceded to his demands at the 1938 Munich conference. Within six months, however, the Nazis violated the Munich Agreement, established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in the Czech lands and created a nominally independent Slovak puppet state. Hitler then began making claims to a slice of Poland.