The “Sudeten German Question” before and after Munich 1938: from the “Sudeten German Question” in Czechoslovakia over the “Czech Question” in the “Third Reich” to the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Table of contents
Share
Metrics
The “Sudeten German Question” before and after Munich 1938: from the “Sudeten German Question” in Czechoslovakia over the “Czech Question” in the “Third Reich” to the Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans
Annotation
PII
S207987840002570-6-1
DOI
10.18254/S0002570-6-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
René Küpper 
Affiliation: Collegium Carolinum – Research Institute for the History of the Czech Lands and Slovakia
Address: Germany, München
Abstract

The article provides a short overview of the development of the so-called Sudeten German question before and after the Munich agreement of 1938. This includes the grievances of the Sudeten German minority against the Czechoslovak government, the status of Sudeten Germans in the “Third Reich” as well as their part in the solution of the so-called Czech question within the “Greater German Reich” and the Czechoslovakian and Allied arguments for the expulsion of the Sudeten German minority after the war. The participation of many Sudeten Germans in the anti-Czech politics and repression in the Reichsgau Sudetenland as well as in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia facilitated the Allies’ decision. But from the Czechoslovak point of view the main reason was that the Sudeten German Party of Konrad Henlein, and with it the majority of the Sudeten Germans, before Munich turned against the Czechoslovak Republic and helped Hitler’s Germany to destroy it. The article is based upon own research projects on the Sudeten German Nazi leader Karl Hermann Frank and on the minority policy of Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister and the President Edvard Beneš as well as upon German, Czech and English specialised literature and published sources.

Keywords
Sudeten German question , Munich Agreement, National Socialist Czech policy, Expulsion of Sudeten German minority, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Reich Gau Sudetenland, Czechoslovak Government in exile
Received
06.02.2019
Publication date
30.12.2019
Number of characters
30979
Number of purchasers
10
Views
117
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 100 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

1

The Sudeten German question I

 

The path from the Munich Agreement over the destruction of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans after the end of the Second World War can be interpreted as follows: Hitler’s solution of the so-called Sudeten German question followed by Hitler’s raising of the Czech question leading to the Czechoslovak answer to the Sudeten German question. This made Munich a crucial turning point in Czech — Sudeten German relations.

2

What role did the Sudeten German issue play for the decision of Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy in Munich, that the predominantly German-populated border regions of Czechoslovakia had to be ceded to the “Third Reich”? Hitler used the alleged suppression of the Sudeten German minority in Czechoslovakia only as a pretext for his actually more extensive demands laid down for example in the so-called Hoßbach-Protokoll1. Britain and France wanted to avoid a major war at this time and over this question, which was not vital for them. Which was the role of the Sudeten German question in this context? The areas settled by the Sudeten German minority in Czechoslovakia had been hit disproportionately hard by the Great Depression, and many Sudeten Germans blamed the Czechoslovak government for this. It is not easy to prove, for example, that Sudeten German companies have deliberately been put at a disadvantage concerning government orders2. From 1933 on, the Sudeten Germans increasingly turned to the Sudeten German Home Front, which in 1935 became the Sudeten German Party, or SdP, headed by Konrad Henlein3.

1. Niederschrift über die Besprechung in der Reichskanzlei am 05.11.1937 von 16.15 — 20.30 [“Hoßbach-Protokoll”], 10 November 1937 [Electronical source]. URL: >>>

2. Boyer C. Die Vergabe von Staatsaufträgen in der ČSR in den dreißiger Jahren — ein Vehikel zur Ruinierung der sudetendeutschen Wirtschaft // Hoensch J. K., Kováč D. (eds.): Das Scheitern der Verständigung. Tschechen, Deutsche und Slowaken in der Ersten Republik 1918—1938. Essen, 1994. P. 81—117.

3. Gebel R. “Heim ins Reich!”. Konrad Henlein und der Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938—1945). München, 2000.
3 At the beginning, this party may have aspired to gain cultural and territorial autonomy within Czechoslovakia, but it rapidly became fascinated with the Third Reich. For many Sudeten Germans “everything [seemed to be] better” there (“Im Reich ist alles besser!”4), not least in economic terms, that is: no mass unemployment. In the parliamentary elections in May 1935, about two-thirds of the Sudeten Germans voted for the Henlein party. In the municipal elections of May and June 1938, after the SdP openly declared its adherence to National Socialism, about 85 percent voted for that party. This result was also influenced by Pan-German national enthusiasm over the so-called Anschluss of Austria to the Reich in March and became a strong argument for the later expulsion of the Sudeten Germans. Edvard Táborský, soon to become secretary and legal advisor of Edvard Beneš, wrote in his diary on June 15th, 1939: “In 1935, two thirds of our Germans have voted in favour of Henlein that is in favour of Nacism. In 1938, already 90 % did so. That means, that at least two thirds of the Germans are guilty [of treason]. We must mercilessly evacuate those to Germany”5. The SdP leadership also succeeded in giving part of the English political and diplomatic elite the impression that the Sudeten German grievances against Czechoslovakia were largely justified. The so-called February Agreement 1937 between the Czechoslovak Government and the three “activist”6 Sudeten German parties (Social Democrats, Agrarians and Christian Socialist People’s Party) seems to have been “too little too late, as the concessions, for example a proportionate share (that is 22 %) of Sudeten German state officials and state employees in Czechoslovakia, a proportionate share of state investments and government orders and improvements concerning the use of German in communication between citizens and authorities, were implemented too slow7.
4. Seibt F. Das alte böse Lied. Rückblicke auf die deutsche Geschichte 1900—1945. München, 2000. P. 273.

5. Sudetendeutsches Archiv (ed.): Odsun. Die Vertreibung der Sudetendeutschen. Dokumentation zu Ursachen, Planung und Realisierung einer “ethnischen Säuberung” in der Mitte Europas. Band 2: Von der Errichtung des “Protektorats Böhmen und Mähren” im März 1939 bis zum offiziellen Abschluß der Vertreibung Ende 1946. München, 2010. P. 39.

6. Since 1926, two or three of the “activist” parties were part of every governmental coalition in Czechoslovakia. This did not improve the constitutional status of the Sudeten German minority as such, and the state remained a democratic, Czech-dominated Czechoslovak national state.

7. Brandes D. Die Sudetendeutschen, im Krisenjahr 1938. 2. unveränderte Auflage. München, 2010. P. 25—38. This book offers the most concise overview of the political development in the Sudeten German regions in 1938.
4 The unwillingness of parts of the Czechoslovak bureaucracy and the Czech political public helped the SdP to blame the “activist” parties for not having achieved anything substantial for the Sudeten Germans, as for example Wenzel Jaksch, one of the leading Sudeten German ‘activist’ politicians, pointed out8. In the course of 1938, the party increased its demands on the Czechoslovak government, after prior agreement between Henlein and Hitler to suggest to the world public that the so-called Sudeten German question could not be solved within Czechoslovakia because of the Czechs’ alleged unwillingness to compromise. This suggestion was underpinned with staged clashes between Czechoslovak police and SdP politicians.
8. See Jaksch’s memorandum “Die Konzeption der tschechischen Staatspolitik und die Situation des deutschen Aktivismus” sent to president Beneš on 17 September 1937. Beneš partly agreed with Jaksch’s criticism, as his marginalia show. Masarykův archiv a archiv Akademie věd České republiky (further MÚA). Prague, fond Edvard Beneš, EB I inv. č. 58, sig. KRA 3 KPR — kabinet spisy R-Ž 1936—1938. Kr. 24.
5

While the Czechoslovak government was seriously discussing and preparing a new nationality statute to extend the minority rights laid down in the Czechoslovak constitution9, Henlein's people only conducted fake negotiations. In March 1938 Henlein and Hitler had agreed that the SdP should continually increase demands, so that they could never be met10. But Henlein and consorts managed to convince for example Lord Runciman11, the British mediator, to sent to Czechoslovakia in August 1938, the supposed justification of their complaints. Under massive British pressure, president Edvard Beneš12 was willing to concede an autonomous Sudeten German Territory within Czechoslovakia13. This would have meant a totalitarian sub-state within the borders of the Czechoslovak Republic and a grave threat to or even the crippling of the democratic system in Czechoslovakia14. Sudeten German democrats, communists and especially Jews15 would have been at the mercy of the Nazified and anti-Semitic SdP. At this time, a majority of the Sudeten Germans seems to have longed to go “home to the Reich”16 and to get out of the unloved Czechoslovak Republic — together with “their” territory, of course. Only the Sudeten German Social Democrats and Communists were prepared to defend the republic. Therefore one can state that the leadership and many of the supporters of the SdP at least for the period starting in March 1938 were de facto a fifth column or Trojan horse of Hitler. In the September crisis the party leadership also sought to provide Hitler with the desired pretext for an isolated armed conflict with Czechoslovakia17. A few days later, organized and based on the Reich side of the border, a Sudeten German Free Corps18 of nearly 40,000 men, equipped with Austrian arms, waged a guerrilla war on the Czechoslovak state organs in the border area. But they were no match for Czechoslovak troops quickly restoring order in the border regions after a Henleinist Putsch.

9. Kuklík J. Něměček J. Od národního státu ke státu národností?: Národnostní statut a snahy o řešení menšinové otázky v Československu v roce 1938. Praha, 2013. Some of the February Agreement’s promises would have become legislative acts.

10. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank (1898—1946). Politische Biografie eines sudetendeutschen Nationalsozialisten. München, 2010. P. 103.

11. Vyšný P. The Runciman Mission to Czechoslovakia 1938. Prelude to Munich. Basingstoke, 2003.

12. See Dejmek J. Edvard Beneš. Politická biografie českého demokrata. Část druhá: Prezident republiky a vůdce národního odboje (1935—1948). Praha, 2008.

13. Brandes D. Die Sudetendeutschen. P. 226—227.

14. Ibid. P. 317.

15. For the legitimate concern of the Jews see memorandum of the Jewish Party in Czechoslovakia, handed over to Lord Runciman around mid-September 1938. Archiv kanceláře prezidenta republiky v Praze, fond D 13300/38 Židé 1921—1938.

16. Henlein’s proclamation “Wir wollen heim ins Reich”. September 16, 1938. Photo in: Sudetendeutsches Archiv (ed.): Odsun. Die Vertreibung der Sudetendeutschen. Dokumentation zu Ursachen, Planung und Realisierung einer “ethnologischen” Säuberung in der Mitte Europas. München, 2000. P. 756.

17. See Brandes D. Die Sudetendeutschen, 252—258 for several examples on one single day (9 September 1938).

18. See: Dölling S. Hitlers unerklärter Krieg [Electronical source]. URL >>> . The author is preparing a PhD thesis on the Freikorps, which promises new insights, because it is based upon rich sources from archives in the Czech Republic, which have not been analyzed before.
6 The decision of the major powers in Munich was, from the Czech point of view, made “about us without us”19. However, it brought to the majority of the Sudeten Germans what they apparently had wanted: the separation from the Czechs and the inclusion into the Greater German Reich, mostly within the Reichsgau Sudetenland20. Their enthusiasm about this fulfilment of the Pan-German dream as well as the hope for a speedy improvement in their economic situation were probably real. On the other hand, one should mention the minority of Sudeten Germans who did not succumb to this national frenzy and were brutally persecuted because of their political views, especially socialists and communists. Between late September and the beginning of December 1938, some 30 000 German opponents of the Nazis as well as Jews21 from the ceded territories had fled to the rest of Czecho-Slovakia, as the rump state had been renamed at that time. Around 10 00022 others were arrested in the first three weeks after the Munich agreement and mostly carried off to concentration camps. This decimation of potential opposition contributed to the fact that in the following years there was not much significant resistance in the Sudetengau.
19. “O nás bez nás”. This dictum is still in use today, if Czech politicians or journalists talk or write about the Munich agreement.

20. The best German studies on the “Sudetengau” are Gebel R. “Heim ins Reich!” and Zimmermann V. Die Sudetendeutschen im NS-Staat. Politik und Stimmung der Bevölkerung im Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938—1945). Essen, 1999.

21. Brandes D. Sundhaussen H, Troebst S. (eds.) Lexikon der Vertreibungen. Deportation, Zwangsaussiedlung und ethnische Säuberung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts. Wien, Köln, Weimar, 2010. P. 246.

22. Beneš Z. Kural V. (eds.): Geschichte verstehen. Die Entwicklung der deutsch-tschechischen Beziehungen in den böhmischen Ländern. Praha, 2002. P. 145.
7 The Sudeten German’s mass approval of National Socialism can be illustrated by the fact that the Sudetengau had 520,000 NSDAP members, who represented 16 % of the total population23: this was the largest percentage rate of party members in the entire Reich. The Sudetengau had the largest Stormtrooper Group in the Reich, too. But as in the “Altreich” (Germany before the “Anschluss” of Austria in March 1938) these figures don’t mean that single every party member really was a true Nazi, even though the pre-Anschluss self-Nacification of large parts of the Sudeten German population had been remarkable24. In fact, in the NSDAP organizations in the Sudetengau, local officials played a far greater role than would be claimed by Sudeten Germans after the war25. The same goes for the administration, where Germans from the Reich did not get the bulk of the more important positions. Nevertheless, there was criticism, or rather grumbling, about the alleged preference of Reich Germans in the distribution of state and party posts. Also, the improvement in economic conditions was not as strong as hoped. So (too) high expectations partly led to disappointment26. It should be noted, however, that at the local level, Sudeten Germans at least partly profited from the elimination and plundering of their Jewish fellow citizens, for example in the course of the “Aryanisation” of Jewish businesses. However, here applicants from the Reich secured the most attractive companies, since they had more capital27. All in all, the behavior of many Sudeten Germans in the Third Reich can probably be compared with that of average Reich Germans. There were perpetrators (the 44 synagogues burned down or demolished in 1938 in the so-called “Kristallnacht” were destroyed not only by Reich German SA, but also by Sudeten German party comrades28), there were followers, and bystanders, too. What made a difference between the Sudeten Germans and the Reich Germans was the Sudeten German national antagonism29 with the Czechs.
23. Beneš K. (eds.) Geschichte verstehen. P. 143.

24. Boyer C., Kučera J. Die Deutschen in Böhmen, die Sudetendeutsche Partei und der Nationalsozialismus // Möller H., Wirsching A., Ziegler W. (eds.) Nationalsozialismus in der Region. Beiträge zur regionalen und lokalen Forschung und zum internationalen Vergleich. München, 1996. P. 273—285.

25. Biman S. Verführt und machtlos? Der Anteil der Sudetendeutschen an der Verwaltung des Reichsgaus Sudetenlandn // Glettler M. Lipták L. Míšková A. (Hg.) Geteilt, besetzt, beherrscht. Die Tschechoslowakei 1938—1945: Reichsgau Sudetenland, Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren, Slowakei. Essen, 2001. S. 155—183.

26. Zimmermann V. Die “neue Welt” nach “München”. Erste Erfahrungen der Sudetendeutschen mit der “NS-Volksgemeinschaft” // Zarusky J. Zückert M. (eds.) Das Münchener Abkommen von 1938 in europäischer Perspektive. München, 2013. P. 271—290.

27. Osterloh J. Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung im Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938—1945. München, 2006. P. 564—569.

28. Ibid. P. 214—218.

29. See Konfliktgemeinschaft, Katastrophe, Entspannung. Skizze einer Darstellung der Deutsch-Tschechischen Geschichte seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Konfliktní společenství, katastrofa, uvolnění. Náčrt výkladu německo-českých dějin od 19. století. München, 1996. For a neither Czech nor German position see. Madajczyk P. M. Sudetští Němci. Historie jednoho nacionalismu. Brno, 2014.
8

The Czech question

 

An estimated 400 000 Czechs remained in the Sudetengau, while 300 00030 fled to Czechoslovakia after Munich. It is difficult to give an exact figure of the remaining Czechs, because tens of thousands of people for example in German-Czech mixed marriages now declared themselves to be Germans and in 1945 again to be Czechs31.

30. Brandes, Sundhaussen, Troebst (eds.) Lexikon der Vertreibungen. P. 246.

31. Rhode M. Der Wechsel des nationalen Bekenntnisses in der Tschechoslowakei 1930—1950 und seine Bedeutung für die Zahl der sudetendeutschen Vertreibungsopfer // Brandes D., Ivaničková E., Pešek J. (eds.) Erzwungene Trennung. Vertreibungen und Aussiedlungen aus der Tschechoslowakei 1938—1947 im Vergleich mit Polen, Ungarn und Jugoslawien. Essen, 1999. P. 183—201.
9

This Czech minority within the Sudetengau did not receive any cultural or political minority rights, was heavily supervised and the region’s administration, the Gauleitung, planned to permanently remove the Czechs from the Sudetengau. Henlein proclaimed on the 29 of May 1943 in an appeal to over 1 000 Sudeten German party officials that he had “promised the Führer to make the Sudetengau Czech-free after the war.”32 At least the Gauleitung planned no so-called “Wiederereindeutschung”, Re-Germanizing, of the Czechs. For this, the so-called “Wiederereindeutschungswürdigkeit”33, that is to be worthy of Re-Germanizing, was crucial: it was judged on the basis of a person’s present political attitudes, but also their political attitude in the time before Munich. On the other hand, the Reich authorities, manly the SS, emphasized the Czechs’ “Wiedereindeutschungsfähigkeit”, that is their eligibility for Re-Germanizing, based on the results of a pseudoscientific racial evaluation. To put it bluntly, Henlein actually wanted “home to the Reich” without Czechs, while Hitler, who in September 1938 had claimed: “We really do not want any Czechs”34, intended to “Germanize” about one half of the Czechs35.

32. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank. P. 43.

33. Brandes D. “Umvolkung, Umsiedlung, rassische Bestandsaufnahme”. NS-“Volkstumspolitik” in den böhmischen Ländern. München, 2012. P. 184.

34. Hitler’s Berlin Sportpalast speech on 26 September 1938 // Domarus M. (ed.) Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932—1945, kommentiert von einem deutschen Zeitgenossen. Teil I Triumpf. Neustadt an der Aisch 1962. P. 932.

35. For more detailed information: Brandes D. “Umvolkung”.
10 A Sudeten German question did not exist for the Sudeten Germans in the Reich, but since Hitler's destruction of the “rest of Czechoslovakia” in 1939 there was a Czech question in the Greater German Reich. While the proportion of Sudeten Germans in politics in the Reichsgau Sudetenland is well researched, such an analysis is still pending for the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. With Karl Hermann Frank36, as Secretary of State and later German Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia one of the most important men in the Protectorate, with Josef Pfitzner37 as deputy mayor of Prague, the mayors of Plzeň and Brno, several Oberlandräte, and many other lower-ranking officials, the suppression of the Czechs in the supposedly autonomous protectorate had not only a German, but also a Sudeten German face. This is also true for the Gestapo personnel in the protectorate; Germans from Bohemia and Moravia were needed for policing and repression because they knew country and people38. And the German policy in the protectorate, which aimed in the short term at the full exploitation of human and economic potential through a combination of “carrots and sticks”, but in the long run planned to Germanize the “racially suitable” part of the Czech people, and move the “non-indigestible”39 part eastwards probably to the Arctic sea or to Siberia40, was led and enforced by the Sudeten German Frank. He was Hitler’s and Himmler’s man in Prague throughout the entire occupation and the face of Nacism in Bohemia and Moravia.
36. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank.

37. Brandes D., Mísková A. (eds.): Vom Osteuropa-Lehrstuhl ins Prager Rathaus. Josef Pfitzner 1901—1945. Essen, 2013.

38. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank. P. 147.

39. Quotations from Frank’s Memorandum of 28 August 1940 on “The treatment of the Czech question and the future organization of Bohemia and Moravia”, which Hitler accepted as conceptual basis of Nazi politics concerning the “Czech problem” and the Protectorate. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank. P. 165.

40. Secret speech of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague on 4 February 1942 // Kárný M., Milotová J. (eds.) Deutsche Politik im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren unter Reinhard Heydrich 1941/1942. Eine Dokumentation. Berlin, 1997. P. 229.
11 Although there were occasional grunts and worries about the hardships of the war among the Sudeten Germans in the Sudetengau and the Protectorate, both the reports of the SS Security Service and the reports of the Czech Resistance to the government-in-exile in London emphasized the basic approval of many Sudeten Germans of Nazi policy and reprisals against the Czech resistance. An example: On 12 June 1942, after the destruction of the village of Lidice and the summary execution of its male inhabitants, the Security Service headquarters in Prague reported: “Among the entire German population this measure has triggered great satisfaction and often open joy. [...] Local Germans find their constant warnings about the Czechs confirmed; now our leading people will understand how to deal with the Czechs”41.
41. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank. P. 277—278.
12

The Sudeten German question II

 

The decision to forcibly evacuate the Sudeten Germans after the restoration of Czechoslovakia was facilitated by Nazi atrocities in the Protectorate, the Nazi long-term plans to destroy the Czech people by a mixture of assimilation, evacuation and murder and by the continued pro-Nazi stance of many Sudeten Germans. But its roots are to be found in the time of the Munich Agreement. To avert the cession of the Czechoslovak border regions predominantly inhabited by Germans, the Czechoslovakian president Edvard Beneš in mid-September 1938 in his so-called “Fifth plan” had proposed to his French allies to cede about one third of the Germans in Czechoslovakia, along with their territory, to Germany, to relocate another third, including above all convinced Nazis, to Germany, while another million, mainly Socialists, Democrats and Jews, should remain in Czechoslovakia.42 This plan was also maintained by Beneš in exile in London until 1942/1943, while the size of the area to be ceded decreased, as well as the number of Germans who could remain43. This was due to Nazi policy and its crimes, but also to the fact that Czech resistance in the protectorate and members of the Czechoslovak army abroad already in 1939 and 1940 that is before the worst Nazi crimes, urged for an indiscriminate removal of all Sudeten Germans without territorial cessions. This view was strengthened by Nazi atrocities in the Protectorate. In the beginning Wenzel Jaksch, leader of the Sudeten German Social Democrats, was still an actor in the negotiation of the Sudeten German question in London44. Beneš, however, outmaneuvered him, because Jaksch did not unconditionally declare allegiance to Pre-Munich-Czechoslovakia and also did not want to agree to the forced eviction of the greater part of his compatriots. The British also dropped Jaksch, because he could only speak for about 10 % of his compatriots, while most of the Czechoslovaks stood behind Beneš45 and his efforts to undo “Munich“ and to prevent its future reprise.

42. See Beneš’s instructions for minister Jaromír Nečas, September, 1938 // Sudetendeutsches Archiv (ed.): Odsun. Vol. I. P. 762.

43. In his paper “Transfer obyvatelstva v ČSR”, which he presented to the Soviet Government in December, 1943, and to the British Government in January, 1944, Beneš stated, that “all Germans on the territory of the ČR are citizens of the Reich”, while the Czechoslovak Government would decide who of them could gain or regain Czechoslovak citizenship. Vondrová J. (ed.): Češi a sudetoněmecká otázka 1939—1945. Dokumenty. Praha, 1994. P. 264.

44. See Prinz F. (ed.) Wenzel Jaksch — Edvard Beneš. Briefe und Dokumente aus dem Londoner Exil. Köln, 1982. For an unbiased interpretation see Brandes: Der Weg zur Vertreibung.

45. Küpper R. Führer des nationalen Widerstandes und “Volksfeind Nr. 1”: Inoffizielle und offizielle Bilder Edvard Benešs im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren // Konrád O., Küpper R. (eds.) Edvard Beneš: Vorbild und Feindbild. Politische, historiographische und mediale Deutungen. Göttingen, 2013. P. 109—125.
13 The Sudeten Germans’ behavior before Munich was decisive for the solution of the Sudeten German question. Their turning away from the Czechoslovak state, which was regarded as betrayal by the Czechoslovak leadership, as well as their willingness to let themselves be used for Hitler's expansionist policy proved crucial for their post-war fate. Then there was the German occupation policy, in which many Sudeten Germans were involved, too. These arguments did not come only from the Czechoslovakian side, but were formulated in the spring of 1940 by advisers of the British Foreign Office, too46. Foreign Minister Anthony Eden accepted these arguments and Beneš’s point of view. In a memorandum for the War Cabinet he wrote: “there will be undoubtedly be pressure […] in particular from Poland and Czechoslovakia for the transfer of German minorities from their territory after the war. […] It will probably be impossible to avoid some measures of this kind in post-war Europe, but, if they are not carried out in orderly and peaceful manner, it is only too likely that the Czech and Polish populations will forcibly expel the German minorities from their midst. The question is whether we should now commit ourselves to the principle and let both Dr. Beneš and the Sudeten German representatives [in London] know, that this is our view”47. On the 6 of July 1942, the British War Cabinet agreed in principle to a transfer of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia, without promising the restoration of the Pre-Munich-borders of Czechoslovakia or determining the extent of the transfer48. The information was passed to the U. S. Government. In May and June 1943 Beneš gained general approval from Roosevelt and from the Soviet Government, in December repeated by Stalin49. From then on, Beneš also advocated forcibly evicting almost all Sudeten Germans, something he had not considered to be internationally enforceable in previous years. For example in September 1941 he had informed the Czech resistance movement in the Protectorate, that it wouldn’t be possible to expel all Germans, as the resistance movement repeatedly had demanded50. He answered: “We need two programs: a) the maximum program: to maintain the historical boundaries and expulsion of all Germans, b) the minimum program: to get rid of at least one million Germans at any cost, that is while maintaining as much as possible of the previous borders, eventually at the cost of minor cessions of territory in the border regions, which are bearable for us”51. The minimum program is more or less the same as Beneš’s “Fifth plan” of 1938. The reasons for the enforceability of the maximum program lay in the radicalization of the Allies by Nazi warfare and crimes. Not coincidentally52, the British declaration of invalidity of the Munich Agreement and the general approval of the expulsion took place a few weeks after the reprisals following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, culminating in the annihilation of Lidice.
46. Rychlík. J. Memorandum Britského kralovského institutu mezinárodních vztahů o transferu národnostních menšin z r. 1940 // Český časopis historický. 1993. № 91 (4). P. 612—631.

47. Eden memorandum to War Cabinet. July 2, 1942 // Dokumente zur Deutschlandpolitik. 1. Reihe / Band 3. 1. Januar bis 31. Dezember 1942. Zweiter Halbband (01.07. — 31.12.1942). Bearbeitet von Rainer A. Blasius. Frankfurt am Main 1988. P. 549—552, here 551.

48. Conclusions of a Meeting of the War Cabinet held at 10 Downing Street, S. W. 1, on Monday, July 6, 1942, at 5:30 p.m. The National Archives, Kew, The Cabinet Papers, CAB 65/27, 120.

49. Brandes D. Der Weg zur Vertreibung 1938—1945. Pläne und Entscheidungen zum “Transfer” der Deutschen aus der Tschechoslowakei und aus Polen. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. München, 2005. P. 217—220 and 319. This book is still the best study on the plans and decision-making of the great powers and the Polish and Czechoslovak governments-in exile.

50. See for example Vladimír Krajina to Prokop Drtina, 3 December 1940: “The [Czech] People considers its living space to be situated within the historical borders and considers the Germans everywhere as immigrants who have to be evacuated”. Vondrová J. Češi a sudetoněmecká otázka. P. 79.

51. Beneš to ÚVOD (Ústřední vedení domacího odboje), 8 September 1941. Vondrová J. Češi a sudetoněmecká otázka. P. 116.

52. Eden memorandum to War Cabinet, 2 July 1942. P. 550.
14 Henlein and Frank, the political leaders of the Nazified Sudeten Germans, in 1944 tried to motivate their compatriots to make a last-ditch effort out of fear of Czech retaliation by announcing the Czechoslovakian resettlement plans on the anniversary of Sudeten German “Liberation”53. At the same time in 1943, Frank had published an article “Vergessene Einsichten”54 (Forgotten insights) in the leading German newspaper in the Protectorate, in which he had stated how right, just and wise the Munich agreement had been. But even at this time, the Sudeten German question, which they had helped Hitler to bring on the international political stage before Munich, was already decided upon and internationally sanctioned. The Potsdam Conference only reaffirmed this on 2 August 1945, in Article XII of the Final protocol55, while the so-called “wild” expulsion of the Sudeten Germans had already begun in May.
53. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank. P. 373—374.

54. Frank, Karl Hermann: Vergessene Einsichten. In: Der Neue Tag, 29 September 1943.

55. Documents on British Policy Overseas. Series I. Vol. I. L., 1984. P. 1275.

References

1. Beneš Z. Kural V. (eds.): Geschichte verstehen. Die Entwicklung der deutsch-tschechischen Beziehungen in den böhmischen Ländern. Praha, 2002.

2. Biman S. Verführt und machtlos? Der Anteil der Sudetendeutschen an der Verwaltung des Reichsgaus Sudetenlandn // Glettler M. Lipták L. Míšková A. (Hg.) Geteilt, besetzt, beherrscht. Die Tschechoslowakei 1938—1945: Reichsgau Sudetenland, Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren, Slowakei. Essen, 2001.

3. Boyer C. Die Vergabe von Staatsaufträgen in der ČSR in den dreißiger Jahren — ein Vehikel zur Ruinierung der sudetendeutschen Wirtschaft // Hoensch J. K., Kováč D. (eds.): Das Scheitern der Verständigung. Tschechen, Deutsche und Slowaken in der Ersten Republik 1918—1938. Essen, 1994. P. 81—117.

4. Boyer C., Kučera J. Die Deutschen in Böhmen, die Sudetendeutsche Partei und der Nationalsozialismus // Möller H., Wirsching A., Ziegler W. (eds.) Nationalsozialismus in der Region. Beiträge zur regionalen und lokalen Forschung und zum internationalen Vergleich. München, 1996.

5. Brandes D. Der Weg zur Vertreibung 1938-1945. Pläne und Entscheidungen zum “Transfer” der Deutschen aus der Tschechoslowakei und aus Polen. 2. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. München, 2005.

6. Brandes D. Die Sudetendeutschen, im Krisenjahr 1938. 2. unveränderte Auflage. München, 2010.

7. Brandes D. Sundhaussen H, Troebst S. (eds.) Lexikon der Vertreibungen. Deportation, Zwangsaussiedlung und ethnische Säuberung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts. Wien, Köln, Weimar, 2010.

8. Brandes D. “Umvolkung, Umsiedlung, rassische Bestandsaufnahme”. NS-“Volkstumspolitik” in den böhmischen Ländern. München, 2012.

9. Brandes D., Mísková A. (eds.): Vom Osteuropa-Lehrstuhl ins Prager Rathaus. Josef Pfitzner 1901—1945. Essen, 2013.

10. Dejmek J. Edvard Beneš. Politická biografie českého demokrata. Část druhá: Prezident republiky a vůdce národního odboje (1935—1948). Praha, 2008.

11. Documents on British Policy Overseas. Series I. Vol. I. L., 1984.

12. Gebel R. “Heim ins Reich!”. Konrad Henlein und der Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938—1945). München, 2000.

13. Hitler’s Berlin Sportpalast speech on 26 September 1938 // Domarus M. (ed.) Hitler: Reden und Proklamationen 1932—1945, kommentiert von einem deutschen Zeitgenossen. Teil I Triumpf. Neustadt an der Aisch 1962.

14. Konfliktgemeinschaft, Katastrophe, Entspannung. Skizze einer Darstellung der Deutsch-Tschechischen Geschichte seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Konfliktní společenství, katastrofa, uvolnění. Náčrt výkladu německo-českých dějin od 19. století. München, 1996.

15. Kuklík J. Něměček J. Od národního státu ke státu národností?: Národnostní statut a snahy o řešení menšinové otázky v Československu v roce 1938. Praha, 2013

16. Küpper R. Karl Hermann Frank (1898—1946). Politische Biografie eines sudetendeutschen Nationalsozialisten. München, 2010.

17. Küpper R. Führer des nationalen Widerstandes und “Volksfeind Nr. 1”: Inoffizielle und offizielle Bilder Edvard Benešs im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren // Konrád O., Küpper R. (eds.) Edvard Beneš: Vorbild und Feindbild. Politische, historiographische und mediale Deutungen. Göttingen, 2013. P. 109—125.

18. Madajczyk P. M. Sudetští Němci. Historie jednoho nacionalismu. Brno, 2014.

19. Niederschrift über die Besprechung in der Reichskanzlei am 05.11.1937 von 16.15 — 20.30 [“Hoßbach-Protokoll”], 10 November 1937 [Electronical source]. URL: https://www.1000dokumente.de/pdf/dok_0008_hos_de.pdf

20. Osterloh J. Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung im Reichsgau Sudetenland 1938—1945. München, 2006.

21. Prinz F. (ed.) Wenzel Jaksch — Edvard Beneš. Briefe und Dokumente aus dem Londoner Exil. Köln, 1982.

22. Rhode M. Der Wechsel des nationalen Bekenntnisses in der Tschechoslowakei 1930—1950 und seine Bedeutung für die Zahl der sudetendeutschen Vertreibungsopfer // Brandes D., Ivaničková E., Pešek J. (eds.) Erzwungene Trennung. Vertreibungen und Aussiedlungen aus der Tschechoslowakei 1938—1947 im Vergleich mit Polen, Ungarn und Jugoslawien. Essen, 1999.

23. Rychlík. J. Memorandum Britského kralovského institutu mezinárodních vztahů o transferu národnostních menšin z r. 1940 // Český časopis historický. 1993. № 91 (4). P. 612—631.

24. Secret speech of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague on 4 February 1942 // Kárný M., Milotová J. (eds.) Deutsche Politik im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren unter Reinhard Heydrich 1941/1942. Eine Dokumentation. Berlin, 1997

25. Seibt F. Das alte böse Lied. Rückblicke auf die deutsche Geschichte 1900—1945. München, 2000.

26. Sudetendeutsches Archiv (ed.): Odsun. Die Vertreibung der Sudetendeutschen. Dokumentation zu Ursachen, Planung und Realisierung einer “ethnischen Säuberung” in der Mitte Europas. Band 2: Von der Errichtung des “Protektorats Böhmen und Mähren” im März 1939 bis zum offiziellen Abschluß der Vertreibung Ende 1946. München, 2010.

27. Vondrová J. (ed.): Češi a sudetoněmecká otázka 1939—1945. Dokumenty. Praha, 1994.

28. Vyšný P. The Runciman Mission to Czechoslovakia 1938. Prelude to Munich. Basingstoke, 2003.

29. Zimmermann V. Die Sudetendeutschen im NS-Staat. Politik und Stimmung der Bevölkerung im Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938—1945). Essen, 1999.

30. Zimmermann V. Die “neue Welt” nach “München”. Erste Erfahrungen der Sudetendeutschen mit der “NS-Volksgemeinschaft” // Zarusky J. Zückert M. (eds.) Das Münchener Abkommen von 1938 in europäischer Perspektive. München, 2013. P. 271—290.