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

By Radomír Luža | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14 Present Prospects and Perils

After their victory in 1945 the Allied Powers divided defeated Germany and gradually encouraged the formation of two German states. The result was a split into two hostile parts: the Federal Republic, which was granted sovereignty in 1954, and the German Democratic Republic, which became sovereign in September 1955. Meanwhile, the East-West struggle set forces in motion that led to the Communist take-over of Czechoslovakia in February 1948. The technological development of atomic weapons helped to freeze the Getman split and established a delicate power balance in Europe. Concomitantly, the Kremlin sought to draw Central Europe into its orbit, making the region a focus of the Cold War.

Strategic location and recent history combined to make Central Europe a problem area caught and pulled by the rival forces of the Communist and democratic blocs. Where national conflicts had spread their impact among peoples, the Communist pressures presented a major challenge of a different character. Although national fervor still simmered in Germany and Czechoslovakia, the immediate problems of the East-West struggle overshadowed any possible upsurge of nationalist feelings. To be sure, the average Czech in the Communist-dominated Republic seemed to be aware of the lessons of recent history and vaguely uneasy about the future development of Germany. Apprehension of a potential German threat seemed to have played a definitive role in Beneš' reluctance to resort to force during the Communist take-over.

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