In the last couple of weeks we have looked at the growing tensions in Czechoslovakia in the second half of the 1930s, as pressure from Nazi Germany grew. The period leading up to the Munich Agreement in September 1938, when Britain and France gave Hitler the green light to annex vast areas of Czechoslovakia, is extremely well documented in the Czech Radio archives. The archives also reveal that this was one of the first international diplomatic crises to be played out on the airwaves. Through radio, the Munich crisis became a battle of international
Most Czechs believe that the post-war decrees of the then Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, which stripped local Germans of Czechoslovak citizenship and property rights, should continue to be valid. However, the number of those advocating this opinion has been steadily declining in the past five years, according to a poll conducted by the CVVM agency. The results also suggest that the number of those who regard the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia as a just step has been on decline as well. In the recent poll 48 percent of people said that that the expulsion of Sudeten Germans was a right step. Five years ago this opinion was expressed by 60 percent of respondents.
“Hello, hello! Prague, Czechoslovakia calling. Good evening ladies and gentlemen”: Radio Prague welcomes listeners to its English programmes back in 1937. The tone may be a little more formal, but it is not so different from today. Yet much has changed since the troubled times of the later 1930s. Nazi Germany was breathing down Czechoslovakia’s neck and tensions in the mainly German-speaking Sudetenland were rising rapidly. The young British historian Hugh Seton Watson was in Czechoslovakia in September that year, attending an international summer
They fought against the Nazis but were treated as enemies in Czechoslovakia after the war: that is the starting point for “Forgotten Heroes” a travelling exhibition in the Czech Republic mapping the story of ethnic Sudeten Germans who fought against the Nazis. Despite their resistance to Hitler in World War II, many still suffered persecution in Czechoslovakia after the end of the war.
Czech MPs rejected on Wednesday an invitation by Austrian politicians
addressed to the Czech and Slovak parliaments for dialogue over the
post-war decrees issued by Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes. According
to the leaders of Austrian political parties, with the exception of
Austrian Greens, the expulsion and expropriation of Sudeten Germans after
the Second World War was wrong. Miroslav Vlcek, the chairman of the Chamber
of Deputies, said that Czech politicians consider of the Benes decrees a
The presidential decrees were the legal bases for the expulsion of about three million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War.
The new Bavarian Prime Minister Guenther Beckstein called for a dialogue
with the Czech Republic on the post-war Benes decrees in his first address
to representatives of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft in Munich on
Saturday. Mr Beckstein called for the abolition of the decrees saying they
were in contradiction with international law, natural law, human rights
The decrees, issued by former Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, provided for the confiscation of property from collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia. A large part of the deported ethnic Germans then found a new home in Bavaria. Mr Beckstein's predecessor Edmund Stoiber never paid an official visit to the Czech Republic during his 14 years in office.
Police in the German city of Stuttgart are investigating two men accused of taking part in a massacre of Czech citizens at the end of World War II, TV Nova reported. The two are alleged to have been members of the Hitler Youth when they participated in the killing of 63 Czechs in Velke Mezirici, just one day before the war in Europe was officially ended. Both men are now aged 77.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a brief visit to the Czech Republic on Friday to discuss the future of the EU constitution and other issues with Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek and president Vaclav Klaus. The German Chancellor's visit also coincided with the tenth anniversary of the so-called Czech-German Declaration. This document was signed in Prague ten years ago this week and was drafted to help lay the foundation for modern German-Czech relations.
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