The Transfer of the Sudeten Germans: A Study of Czech-German Relations, 1933-1962

By Radomír Luža | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION Economic and Social Foundations of the German-Czech Problem

The Czechoslovakia1. which arose in 1918 as an independent state after three hundred years of foreign domination formed an essential part of Central Europe. It stretched across the Bohemian basin and the Carpathian Mountains and guarded the access to the Danube basin, blocking any hostile thrust into Southeastern Europe. Hanging like a dividing curtain between the cultures of the industrial West and the agricultural East, it presented an obstacle to the limitless Eurasian plain spreading from the Caucasus and the Urals across Poland and East Germany. Whoever possessed the Bohemian barrier manned the boundary between East and West, South and North. This focal area could serve either as a channel for the mutual exchange of Western and Eastern influences or as a fortress against invaders from whatever direction they approached.2. The vital Bohemian control

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1.
The Czechoslovakia Republic had an area of 140,493 sq km (87,299 sq mi). Its frontiers extended for 4,098 km, of which the German boundary totaled 1,539 km. The census of Dec. 1, 1930, listed 14,729,563 inhabitants (of whom 3,231,688 were Germans), including 7,109,536 (2,270,943 Germans) in the province of Bohemia; 3,565,010 (799,995) in Moravia-Silesia; 3,329,793 (147,501) in Slovakia; and 725,357 (13,249) in Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia ([Czechoslovak State Statistical Office], Annuaire statistique de la république tchécoslovaque, Prague, 1934).
2.
For a survey of geopolitical factors, see Hans Hummel, Südosteuropa und das Erbe der Donaumonarchie; David Mitrany, "Evolution of the Middle Zone," the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, v. 271 ( September, 1950); Johannes Kuhn, "Böhmen in Mitteleuropa-- Böhmen in der Welt," Aussenpolitik, III ( December 1953). A good geopolitical survey is given by Harriet Wanklyn in Chechoslovakia and by E. Meynen, ed., Sudetendeuscher Atlas (hereafter to be cited as Atlas).

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