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

By Radomír Luža | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THIS STUDY was prompted by a desire to understand the reasons for such a far-reaching historic measure as the transfer of the German minority from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Since one cannot fully understand the transfer without tracing the history of its ante- cedents, this study is an attempt to summarize the significance of three decades of German-Czech relations. In the Introduction I have outlined the elementary geoeconomic and social factors which underlie the heart of the story. This essential frame of reference shows its usefulness in the unfolding narrative. In Part I, I deliberately returned to the pre-1914 period and selected the rise of pan-Germanism as a first possible point of reference. It was in the Austrian part of the Habsburg Empire that the main tenets of National Socialism were elaborated prior to World War I. The Nazi use of German minorities as the spearhead of a drive for hegemony was a brutal variation of an old theme.

The major topics which run throughout Parts II and III of the study are the consolidation of Nazism in Czechoslovakia, the fall of the Czechoslovak Republic, and the rise of Czech resistance against the process of Germanization. The facts indicate that the decision to transfer the Sudeten Germans from the Republic in 1945-46 arose from the policies of Konrad Henlein, Adolf Hitler, and Karl H. Frank. Thus, the period 1933-45 forms a single bloc whose elements cannot be considered apart from the actual historical context. In this sense, the transfer represents only the final stage which German- Czech relations had reached by 1946. I have thus focused my atten-

-vii-

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