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Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

Czechs and Germans 1848-2004

The Sudeten Question and the Transformation of Central Europe

Václav Houžvicka describes the development of the Czech-German national controversies from the mid-nineteenth century, through the establishing of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, to the beginning of the twenty-first century. He focuses primarily on the tragic end of the nations’ coexistence in 1938–1945 and the differing Czech and German understandings of the reasons for the removal of Germans from the Czechoslovak Republic after 1945 in the latter part of the twentieth century. Houžvicka clarifies the relationships between Czech, German, and Sudeten-German identities within the international and social-economic context of the twentieth century.

450 pages | 15 halftones, 3 maps | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 | © 2013

History: European History


“The issue reflected in the title of this volume is deeply rooted in the history of the Czech lands. It became particularly controversial in the aftermath of WWI, when the German-speaking population, chiefly resident in the Sudeten lands of the Bohemian (Czech) territories of the former Habsburg empire, had to choose to become part of Germany or the new Czechoslovakia. The Nazis subsequently exploited these tensions and destroyed the new state. After WWII, Germans were forcibly expelled from the Czech lands. Following the end of the Cold War, these Germans have made efforts to recover what they regard as their lost territories. Houžvička carefully traces these historical and current developments in this scholarly and relatively dispassionate study (effectively translated from the Czech original). The author's main focus in the volume's last chapters is to examine renewed demands from Sudeten Germans and the challenges these present in Central Europe. His helpful conclusion identifies, point-by-point, issues and problems. Well-chosen illustrations, maps, texts of nine categories of documents, and an excellent bibliography enhance the volume. . . . Recommended.”

P. W. Knoll, University of Southern California | Choice

"Houžvicka sheds light on topics associated with central European transitional historical periods and developments too often shrouded in convoluted controversy. . . . The book makes an immense contribution to the fields of continental history, Slavic studies, and political science, whose readership should certainly consult it."

Slavic Review

Table of Contents

Introduction - Historical Context and the Right to Memory 

1. German Central Europe and Czech Emancipation 
Ethnic Tensions in the Monarchy and Masaryk's Programme 

2. Mitteleuropa - The vision of a dominant Germany 
Naumann's Project 
Ideas of Greater Germany 

3. The Central Europe of the Successor States 
The Paris Peace Conference 
German Bohemians versus Czechoslovakia 
Democratic Reform of National-Ethnic Relations 
Civic Nation versus Ethnic Community 

4. Germans in the New Republic 
The Language Law 
German Parties and the Politics of Engagement 
The Economic Crisis and the Borderlands 

5. The Resurgence of Germany as a Great Power 
Through Equal Rights to Revision 
Complaints to the League of Nations 
German Minorities Abroad 
Ethnic Germans as an Instrument of Expansion 
The Programme of International Isolation of the CSR 
The Psychological War against Czechoslovakia 
Press Propaganda 

6. The Triumph of the Appeasers at Munich 
Secret Diplomatic Soundings in Prague 
Henlein's Karlsbad Ultimatum 
Munich 1938 
The Historical Dilemma of Capitulation 
The Interval of the Second Republic 
The Conflict-Ridden Principle of Self-determination 

7. The Genesis of the Transfer of the Sudeten Germans 
A Century of Transfers of Populations 
The Sudeten Germans and the Protectorate 
The Sudetenland Model Reichsgau 
The London Government in Exile and the Home Resistance 
Edvard Beneš and British Plans 
Transfer or Expulsion? 
Cutting the Gordian Knot 

8. The Transferred Sudeten Germans in Post-war Germany 
The Formation of the Sudeten German Expellee's Organisations 
The Unification of the Expellees 
The Twenty-Point Programme 
The Support of the Political Spectrum of the FRG for the Expellees 

9 The Sudeten German Question between Home and Exile 
The Danubius Theses on the Expulsion of the Czechoslovak Germans 
The Czech Fate in Central Europe 
The Redefinition of the German Role in Central Europe 

10. The Return of Freedom (and History) - 1989 
The Opening of Dialogue and the Division of the State 
The Declaration and Conditional Reconciliation 
Modified Regionalism and Ethnic Minorities 
The Dual Interpretation of History 

11. Memory as Part of the Present 
Cautious Friendship 
The Historical Roots of Attitudes to Germany 
Fears of Germany - A Reduced State Syndrome? 
Germany Unified and Emancipated 
The Return of Mitteleuropa? 

12. Germany and the Sudeten German Question in the Eyes of Public Opinion 

13. The Czech-German Relationship between Past and Future 
Instead of a conclusion 

Bibliographical Note 
List of Appendix Documents, Maps and Charts 
Maps and Graphs 
List of Illustrations 

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