Czechs remain reluctant to forgive Germany for its annexation of its Sudeten territories in 1938 – as a result of the notorious Munich agreement. The information comes in a new poll carried out by the Meridian polling agency. According to figures provided by the organisation, 39% said they are not ready to forgive Germany, 22.7% said they were, while 22.1% said they did not know. However, when broken down by age-group, the results paint a different picture. Of those aged between 55-64, 71% said they could not forgive Germany, while for under-24s, the answer was only 22%. In a separate question, 51.8% of respondents answered that the post-War expulsion of around 3 million Germans from Czechoslovakia was the correct action.
A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) was one of the best-known and most influential British historians of the 20th century. He is remembered in particular for his provocative left-wing political views and his conviction that German history made the country uniquely inclined towards aggression and expansionism. This made him an ardent opponent of attempts to rebuild Germany’s economy after the war, and a strong supporter of Czechoslovakia’s growing alliance with the Soviet Union. In July 1946, just after elections which saw the Communists emerge as the strongest single
Wednesday is the 60th anniversary of the death of the second president of Czechoslovakia, Edvard Beneš. Beneš remains a controversial figure: he was one of the architects of the modern Czechoslovak state, but he was also in power during the Munich agreement of 1938 and ten years later he allowed the Communist Party to take over. Probably his most controversial decision was issuing decrees that led to the expulsion of 2.5 million ethnic Germans after the Second World War. What was Edvard Beneš like as a politician, and what is his legacy today?
Under the post-war Beneš decrees, Czechoslovakia’s ethnic Germans lost both their citizenship and their property. Among them were the Walderodes, an aristocratic family who lived in north Bohemia. Now, in a verdict that surprised many, the heiress to the family’s fortune has won back rights to a forest in the area. It measures only a quarter of a hectare, which may not seem like a big deal. However, Monday’s ruling could affect other restitution cases.
An agreement on the burial of German WWII soldiers' remains at a cemetery in Cheb, west Bohemia, is soon to be signed Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Friday after meeting with his counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier. A final resting place for the remains of soldiers killed in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War has been an unresolved matter in Czech-German relations for some time. Cheb authorities agreed to establish a final site last November on the condition that German partners would help fund necessary repairs to the local cemetery. The total costs have been estimated at 24 million crowns.
MEP Bernd Posselt was elected on Sunday the leader of Sudenten Germans – former German-speaking citizens of Czechoslovakia who were expelled from the country after WWII. Mr Posselt, who is 51, said he would focus on improving the relations between the Sudeten Germans and Czechs; he also wants to speed up the establishment of a Sudeten German museum in Munich. The Sudeten German community consists of roughly 200,000 Germans with Bohemian and Moravian roots.
This week we continue our look into the dramatic events in Czechoslovakia just before World War Two. By the summer of 1938, Hitler’s Germany was demanding nothing less than the immediate annexation of the entire Sudetenland – all parts of Bohemia and Moravia with a German speaking majority. The Sudeten German Party had made big gains among German speakers in local elections earlier that year, and the Nazi rhetoric of their leaders was unambiguous.
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
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