Czechoslovakia in the Second World War

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Czechoslovakia was formed after World War I from parts of the defeated empire, Austria-Hungary. It was a relatively new country and therefore was not as established and stable compared to surrounding countries. Before Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, the appeasement was just signed as Britain and France followed this policy and believed it would help create an over all sense of peace and community between the fragile countries.

However, they essentially were giving Hitler what he wanted in order to keep the peace, hence why so many people did not believe in it. This policy was the result of the League of Nations collapsing, and politicians were turned to a new way to settle situations which was this idea of appeasement. Ultimately, this was to try and stop Hitler from going to war and being a little bit lenient with his suspicious activity. Before this was signed, Hitler had started taking over countries one by one and Germany were slowing starting to grow and expand their empire. All of this violence and aggression was because they were angry about their economy being so unstable as well as and their country being a place of poverty as a result of the treaty of versailles where Germany got blamed for World War I.

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Then, on March 15, 1939, during a meeting with the Czech President, a man named Emil Hacha, Hitler threatened a bombing raid against Prague (the Czech capital), unless he obtained free passage for German troops into Czech borders. He received his demands as the Czech President was considered weak and submissive. That same day, German troops poured into Bohemia and Moravia. The two provinces offered no resistance, and they were quickly made slaves of Germany. When Hitler marched his troops into Czechoslovakia in March 1939, It proved that Hitler had been lying at Munich and that appeasement had failed and the overall effort to stop Hitler and Germany causing anymore damage had been unsuccessful. By evening, Hitler made a triumphant entry into Prague (Czech’s capital). Although the agreement was only to give Hitler the Sudentenland, that part of Czechoslovakia where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over to the Nazi’s resources that will eventually lead to helping them be successful in the invasions and retrievals of other surrounding countries.

Germany received 66 percent of Czechoslovakia’s coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power. Without those resources, the Czech nation was left vulnerable. The World War database stated that Czech suffered from “25,000 military deaths in the War and 250,000 civilian deaths”. occupying Czechoslovakia, Germany gained “2,175 field cannons, 469 tanks, 500 anti-aircraft artillery pieces, 43,000 machine guns, 1,090,000 military rifles, 114,000 pistols, about a billion rounds of ammunition and three million anti-aircraft grenades”. This amount of weaponry would be sufficient to arm about half of the then Wehrmacht who were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.

The outcome of world war 2 was on September 1945 with Hitler’s suicide and Germany’s surrounding on all fronts. Hitler’s “Thousand-Year Reich” lasted only 12 incredibly destructive years that left the entire world damaged.The invasion of Czeh influenced the outcome of the war as it was the Czechoslovak’s weaponry that later played a significant part in the German’s capturing of Poland (1939) and France (1940). Countries that had pressured Czechoslovakia’s surrender to Germany in 1938. The invasion acted as the ‘last straw’ and countries started getting angry with a very violent Germany. Without the invasion of this country it wouldn’t have forced other countries to react, as they were angry about Hitler beginning able to take over surrounding countries, starting the second World War.

The World War database says that “many Czechoslovakians joined the British military and fought in North Africa, Middle East, and Europe; the No. 310 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force, active participants of the Battle of Britain, was famously all-Czech,” which contributes to the surrender of Germany and her downfall therefore the invasion of Czech had a big influence in the War, some for good and some for worse.The effect the invasion had after the war was that Czech, a newly independent state expelled nearly 3 million ethnic Germans in the years after 1945 and Poland a further 1.3 million which links to Czech as it was her weapons that lead to the successful invasion of Poland.

After the defeat of Germany in WWII, the republican Czechoslovakian government was restored. The harsh treatment of Czechs and Slovaks by the German occupiers was not forgotten. Soon after the restoration of Czech, the government began deporting any Germans remaining in Czechoslovakia, especially those living in the Sudetenland. In all, 1.7 million Germans were deported to the American occupation zone in West Germany, and an additional 750,000 were deported to Soviet-controlled East Germany. However, ethnic germans that were anti-fascists, people crucial for industries and those married to ethnic Czechs remained. Additionally, the land and companies of any Nazi collaborators were confiscated and nationalised.

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