Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War

By John O. Crane; Sylvia E. Crane | Go to book overview

8 The Sudeten Fires Flare ( 1938)

The Führer's expansionist plans were initiated explicitly in July 1936, when he instructed the German general staff to draw up a plan called "Case Otto," for later use in the occupation of Austria. On November 5th, he gathered his principal collaborators, including the military, to inform them that he "wanted to finish rapidly with Austria and Czechoslovakia."1 He issued a special directive regarding actual preparations. His eventual objectives in Eastern Europe, according to Churchill, were particularly Poland, White Russia, and the Ukraine.2 The gate to the east was located in Central Europe; the path opened through Austria and led unmistakably through Czechoslovakia. Hitler rearmed with all possible speed. On February 4, 1938, he reorganized his army command, giving top slot to generals Werner von Blomberg and Werner Von Fritsch; topmost chief was pro-Nazi Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. At the Foreign Office, he replaced the moderate diplomat Konstantin von Neurath with Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Hitler constantly watched West European reactions to his early moves, lest the West Europeans feel their own security threatened. On November 6th, the French ambassador to Berlin sent a telegram home about a meeting there, speculating that it was motivated by "a problem of raw materials" for the growing war machine.3 Von Ribbentrop was in Rome attending the ceremony of initiating Italy into the Anti-Comintern Pact. The watchword at Whitehall and the Quai d'Orsay was to avoid doing anything to provoke an aggressive response, a line that was interpreted in Berlin as weakness. Guided by his political intuition early in 1938, Hitler overrode his own staff officers who felt he was moving ahead of their preparedness; he

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Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xvii
  • Notes xxvi
  • 1- The Independence Movement Commences 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2- Founding of the Legions: Entrapment in Anti- Bolshevik Intervention 11
  • Notes 26
  • 3- The Legions Anabasis To the Sea 30
  • Notes 46
  • 4- Masaryk in America 50
  • Notes 62
  • 5- Drawing the Frontiers 63
  • Notes 70
  • 6- Internal Stabilization 72
  • Notes 84
  • 7- The Beneš Succession: Storm Warnings (1935-38) 85
  • Notes 101
  • 8- The Sudeten Fires Flare (1938) 103
  • Notes 121
  • 9- Summer Turmoil (1938) 124
  • Notes 130
  • 10- The Runciman Mission (summer 1938) 131
  • Notes 148
  • 11- Munich (september 1938) 151
  • Notes 169
  • 12- Aftermath of Munich (1938-41) 172
  • Notes 185
  • 13- War on Two Fronts (1941) 187
  • Notes 202
  • 14- Wartime Conferences And Treaties 205
  • Notes 215
  • 15- The Slovak Uprising: The Government's Return Home 218
  • Notes 232
  • 16- The Government Reconstituted On Home Ground (1945) 235
  • Notes 245
  • 17- Nationalities Transfers And Allied Army Withdrawals (1945) 247
  • Notes 255
  • 18- Democratic Socialization (1945-46) 257
  • Notes 271
  • 19- Cold War Beginnings (1946) 273
  • Notes 287
  • 20- Storm Signals (1947) 290
  • Notes 306
  • 21- The Communist Coup (1947-48) 308
  • Notes 318
  • 22- The Death of Jan Masaryk (1948) 320
  • Notes 332
  • Abbreviations 333
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 343
  • About the Authors 353
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