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‘All Germans are the Same': Czech and Sudeten German Exiles in Britain and the Transfer Plans

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In the later years of the Second World War, Edvard Beněs, president of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in Britain, stated publicly that the German nation bore responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi regime and that, consequently, a large part of the Sudeten German population would be removed from postwar Czechoslovakia. This article looks beyond the opinions of Beněsto examine the views of other Czech exiles, both ordinary citizens and officials in the government, as well as Sudeten German émigrés in Britain on the future relationship between the two nations. In response to reports of Nazi atrocities in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, particularly the destruction of the Czech village of Lidice in June 1942, Czech exiles overlooked the examples of democratic Germans in Britain and condemned the entire nation for the crimes of their leaders, demanding as punishment the complete removal of the Sudeten Germans from their state. While the Sudeten German émigré leader Wenzel Jaksch resolutely opposed these suggestions of a large-scale expulsion, after 1943 a group of German exiles acknowledged collective guilt on the part of their countrymen and agreed that most Sudeten Germans would have to be expelled.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Kansas

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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