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Czechoslovakia 1939
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was formed when Nazi Germany concluded its annexation of Czechoslovakia. In the course of the annexation the Sudetenland was absorbed by Germany, while Slovakia obtained nominal independence as a German puppet state. Bohemia and Moravia were majority ethnically Czech territories and administered directly by the Germans as occupied territory beginning on 15 March 1939. The Czech industry and people were turned quickly towards Germany's war production needs.

The occupation of Czechoslovakia was initially relatively benign, except for among Jews and other persecuted groups. However in the fall of 1939 Czechs under occupation demonstrated against their occupation. The Germans quickly moved to suppress this action. After the death of one of the protesters two weeks later demonstrations broke out anew. Germany cracked down immediately and arrested an estimated 1800 people. Public institutions, such as universities were closed. Leaders of the demonstrations were executed. Hundreds of supporters were sent to concentration camps.

On 27 September 1941 SS Officer Reinhard Heydrich was appointed to govern the territory. Even harsher repression began immediately. Mass arrests and executions became more common and a ghetto was established for the Jews of the territory. On 4 June 1942 Heydrich was assassinated, which resulted in reprisals. The crackdown was relatively effective and the populace remained quiet for nearly the rest of the war.

Czech losses resulting from political persecution and deaths in concentration camps totaled between 36,000 and 55,000. The Jewish population of Bohemia and Moravia (118,000 according to the 1930 census) was virtually annihilated. Many Jews emigrated after 1939; more than 70,000 were killed; 8,000 survived at Terezín aka Theresienstadt. Several thousand Jews managed to live in freedom or in hiding throughout the occupation.

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in In the Presence of Mine EnemiesEdit

The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was one of several territories formally annexed to the Greater German Reich in the wake of the Second World War. With the ascension of reformer Heinz Buckliger as Führer, the Protectorate became one of several territories pushing for greater sovereignty and independence. Their most prominent spokesman was a white-haired playwright.

In 2011, Prague saw a demonstration against the annexation and incorporation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia into the Reich over 70 years before. Flags of the former Republic of Czechoslovakia were displayed. As the demonstration was peaceful, it was not broken up, which was quite a change from past demonstrations under Buckliger's predecessors.[1]

The Protectorate denounced the SS-backed Putsch against Buckliger, and protested by seceding from the Reich.[2] While the failure of the Putsch prevented the implementation of this plan, the Protectorate overwhelming voted for reformers in the Reichstag elections held the next month. It also held a referendum on independence, with more than 70% of the population in favor of the restoration of Czechoslovakia. The Protectorate signaled its intent to make independence an issue in the Reichstag.[3]

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit

Reinhard Heydrich was very nearly assassinated in Prague while he served as Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[4] Heydrich spent the next year taking revenge for the attack, but gave up control of the territory in 1943 in order to create the German Freedom Front.[5]

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in The War That Came EarlyEdit

Before the outbreak of the Second World War in October 1938, Bohemia and Moravia were perceived as the heart of Czechoslovakia.[6] They were subject to heavy bombing throughout the initial invasion, and subject to occupation after Germany created the puppet of Slovakia.[7]

In Summer 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered that the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia be transferred to the town of Teriesenstadt on the pretext of "anti-German" activities.[8]

When the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation overthrew the Nazis in April 1944, they nonetheless insisted on keeping Bohemia and Moravia under German rule.[9] The Allies, in no position to force the reconstitution of Czechoslovakia, agreed to the demand.

Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in WorldwarEdit

Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on the eve of the Race Invasion.[10] During the immediate chaos of the invasion, the world looked the other way as Germany exacted harsh revenge on the Protectorate.[11]

By the terms of the Peace of Cairo, the Protectorate remained under German rule.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. In the Presence of Mine Enemies, pg. 297.
  2. Ibid., pg. 423.
  3. Ibid., pg. 443.
  4. The Man With the Iron Heart, pgs. 3-4.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 8-9
  6. Hitler's War, pg. 21.
  7. West and East, pg. 173.
  8. The Big Switch, pg. 145.
  9. Last Orders, pg. 343.
  10. In the Balance, pg. 8
  11. Down to Earth, pg. 548.
  12. See, e.g., the Colonization map.

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