The Košice program of the first postwar coalition government contained a third objective beyond the expulsion of the hostile minorities and Allied Army withdrawals. It called for nationalization of heavy industries, insurance, and the banks; in short, of the largescale enterprises that had been expropriated without compensation by the Reich or by the puppet governments following the 1939 Nazi occupation. Government ownership and operation seemed the most expedient means of restoring the country from its wartime disruptions and expropriations. The countryside lay near ruin as a consequence of the wholesale deportations of loyal Czechs to Germany, either for slave labor or merely to free the land for displaced Germans, who were moved in. "State administration" was the euphemism employed to render nationalization more palatable, especially to the British and American interests involved. Compensation invariably accompanied the program to ease its acceptance, at a fair value to be negotiated.
At the turn of the year 1946, conditions still bordered on hunger. Food supplies were observed by British Ambassador Philip Nichols to be "a matter of serious concern" even if "the rations of the Czech people... though fairly well distributed and adequate to maintain life [were] far from lavish. They [were] particularly short in fats." Meat was also in short supply, and "due partly to Russian requisitioning, vegetables were scarce." There was "plenty of flour and potatoes, and an exportable surplus of sugar," but "the food situation during the winter present[ed] serious problems."1
"A majority of the population remains always near the edge of hunger," continued Nichols. In the winter cold, "any slight cut of