Europe and the Czechs

Czechoslovakia as possible flashpoint for World War 2.

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Europe and the Czechs

Table of contents :
Front Cover
......Page 1
Publisher's Note
......Page 2
Title Page
......Page 4
Printer's imprint
......Page 6
Dedication
......Page 7
Quotation from Herodotus
......Page 9
CONTENTS
......Page 10
MAPS
......Page 11
Ch. 1. Why Czechoslovakia?
......Page 12
i). The German Threat to Czechoslovakia
......Page 13
ii). Czechoslovakia's Natural Defences
......Page 14
Ch. 2. Early History of the Czechs
......Page 24
Ch. 3. Before the War
......Page 33
Ch. 4. War and Peace
......Page 47
iii). Racial Map of Austria-Hungary, 1914
......Page 49
Ch. 5. German Plans for Central Europe
......Page 63
iv). Bismarck's Europe, 1871
......Page 66
v). The Kaiser's Europe, 1913
......Page 73
vi). Europe in March, 1918
......Page 76
Ch. 6. The Allied Settlement
......Page 79
vii). Break-Up of the European Imperial System
......Page 83
viii). The Peace Settlement
......Page 84
Ch. 7. The Frontiers of Czechoslovakia
......Page 93
Ch. 8. Politics in Czechoslovakia
......Page 99
Ch. 9. Sudeten German Politics
......Page 119
Ch. 10. March, 1938: International Czech Situation
......Page 134
Ch. 11. March, 1938: Internal Czech Situation
......Page 154
Ch. 12. May 21st
......Page 173
Ch. 13. The Powers and the Crisis
......Page 184
Ch. 14. Great Britain and Czechoslovakia
......Page 188
Ch. 15. Will the Czechs Fight for Great Britain?
......Page 206
ix). Balance of Power, 1938
......Page 207
Penguin Books List 1938
......Page 219
Advertisement: Penguins Progress
......Page 223
Rear Cover
......Page 224

Citation preview

A

PENGUIN

s.

SPECIAL

GRANT DUFF

PUBLISHER'S NOTE A complete list of all Penguin and Pelican Books will be found at the end of this volume. If you are not already on our mailing list and would like to know when new books are added, please send in your name and address on a postcard. Suggestions for new additions are welcomed.

EUROPE AND THE CZECHS by

S. GRANT DUFF with nine maps by MARTHE RAJCHMAN

PUBLISHED AS A 'PENGUIN SPECIAL' BY

PENGUIN BOOKS LIMITED HARMONDSWORTH MIDDLESEX ENGLAND

First published 1938

MADE AND PRJNTED IN GREAT BRITAIN FOR PENGUIN BOOKS L1MIT~D BY PURNELL AND SONS, LTD., PAULTON (SOMERSET) AND LONDON

To

NOEMI RIPKA

AND

HUBERT RIPKA

The Greeks at Thermopylae, when the Persians came near the pass, being alarmed, consulted about a retreat. While they were deliberating on these matters, Xerxes sent a scout on horseback, to see how many they were, and what they were doing. When the horseman rode up to the camp, he reconnoitred, and saw indeed not the whole camp, for it was not possible that they should be seen who were posted within the wall, which, having rebuilt, they were now guarding: but he had a clear view of all those on the outside whose arms were piled in front of the wall. At this time the Lacedaemonians happened to be posted outside ; and some of the men he saw performing gymnastic exercises, and others combing their hair. On beholding this he was astonished, and ascertained their number .. and having informed himself accurately, he rode back at his leisure, for no one pursued him, and he met with general contempt. On his return he gave an account to Xerxes of all he had seen. When Xerxes heard this, he could not comprehend the truth, that the Grecians were preparing to be slain and to slay to the utmost of their power. But, as they appeared to behave in so ridiculous a manner, he sent for Demaratus, son of Ariston, who was then in the camp .. and when he was come into his presence, Xerxes questioned him as to each particular, wishing to understand what the Lacedaemonians were doing. Demaratus said, 'These men have come to fight with us for the pass and are now preparing themselves to fight. For such is their custom, when they are going to hazard their lives, then they dress their heads. But be assured, if you conquer these men and those that remain in Sparta, there is no other nation in the world that will dare to raise their hands against you, 0 King! For you are now to engage with the noblest Kingdom and city of all amongst the Greeks and with the most valiant of men.' HERODOTUS.

CONTENTS CHAPTER

I.

PAGE

WHY CZECHOSLOVAKIA? .

11

EARLY HISTORY OF THE CZECHS

23

III.

BEFORE THE WAR

32

IV.

WAR AND PEACE

46

V.

GERMAN PLANS FOR CENTRAL EUROPE

62

THE ALLIED SETTLEMENT .

78

THE FRONTIERS OF CZECHOSLOVAICIA .

92

POLITICS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA

98

If.

VI. VII. VIII. IX. X.

SUDIITEN GERMAN POLITICS MARCH, 1938: INTERNATIONAL CZECH

133

SITUATION XI. XII. XIII.

MARCH, 1938: INTERNAL CZECH SITUATION

153

MAY 21ST

172

THE POWERS AND THE CRISIS

183

XIV. BRITAIN AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA

xv.

118

WILL THE CZECHS FIGHT FOR BRITAIN?

ix

187 205

MAPS PAGE

1.

THE GERMAN THREAT TO CZECHOSLOVAKIA

12

2.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S NATURAL DEFENCES •

13

3.

RACIAL MAP OF AUSTRIA-HUNGARY,

4.

BISMARCK'S EUROPE,

5.

THE KAISER'S EUROPE,

6.

EUROPE IN MARCH,

7.

BREAK-UP OF THE EUROPEAN IMPERIAL SYSTEM

82

8.

THE PEACE SETTLEMENT

83

9.

BALANCE OF POWER,

1914

1871 1913

1918

48-9 65

72 75

1938

x

206

EUROPE AND THE CZECHS CHAPTER

I

WHY CZECHOSLOVAKIA? ON May 21st, 1938, war in Europe seemed imminent. At no time since has peace been secure. On that day, information reached the British Foreign Office that the Nazi Government was planning operations on a large scale on the Czechoslovak frontier. The Czechs, who had the same information, called up the reserves and despatched them immediately to the frontier. The British Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Nevile Henderson, called three times on the German Foreign Officeand demanded an explanation. On the desk of M. Daladier, the French Prime Minister, the mobilisation order lay waiting to be signed. The American Ambassador in Paris, while disclaiming any direct interest in the affairs of Central Europe, kept his Government closely informed. In Russia, no outward sign of disquiet was visible. In Prague, however, it was said that 500 Russian aeroplanes were on their way. They did not come. Nor did the Germans. If one had come, the other would not have been far behind. In Poland and Hungary there were ominous troop movements. Italy was unusually reserved. For forty-eight hours, Europe was not far from war. If German troops had crossed the Czechoslovak frontier that night, not Czechoslovakia and Germany alone would have been at war. France and Russia were committed. The British Government frankly intimated to the German Government in terms less II

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