Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
ljadw
Member
Posts: 12746
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by ljadw » 01 Jan 2022 22:02

wm wrote:
27 Dec 2021 23:29
DZKriz wrote:
26 Dec 2021 20:22
And honestly, Czech President Benes was playing the long game.
Please, Czech President Benes handed over his country to Hitler (against the will of the entire government as I understand it) and then later handed it over to Stalin.
That must be the first in history.
I am the last to defend Benes, but both of your claims are wrong .
1 1938 Benes did not hand over his country to Hitler and the government did not disagree
2 1948 : Benes did not hand over his country to Stalin : the Soviets were already the masters of CZ in 1945 .
In 1938 Benes knew very well that CZ could not survive a war, even not a successful war .

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 02 Jan 2022 00:17

Although factually Milan Hodža handed over Czecho-Slovakia to Hitler, Beneš (by accepting the Munich Agreement) enabled it and made it inevitable so he owns it.

In 1943 Beneš by signing the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Collaboration, and during the accompanying talks with Stalin, Molotov, Gottwald handed over Czechoslovakia to Stalin.

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 06 Jan 2022 05:48

wm wrote:
27 Dec 2021 23:29
DZKriz wrote:
26 Dec 2021 20:22
And honestly, Czech President Benes was playing the long game.
Please, Czech President Benes handed over his country to Hitler (against the will of the entire government as I understand it) and then later handed it over to Stalin.
That must be the first in history.
And today both the Germans (three million of them in Czech territory in 1938) and the Soviets are gone, and the exact boundaries of Czechlands remain as in 1938.

There's plenty of literature on this that _no other_ scenario other than the one that actually played out (capitulation in 1938, government in exile, resurgence in 1945) would keep the boundaries the same.

In contrast, both Germany and Poland suffered unbearable casualties -- almost all the men who would have invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 were killed later on other fronts -- and their countries are pale / disney reconstructions of what they used to look like before the war.

Look, I don't deny the capitulation had enormous consequences on the Czech psyche since. My parents were both Czech, I totally get it, and have tried in the last several years to build a realistic war game that would let the war play out at least in simulation.

My difficulty has been to construct at true OOB for the German invasion force. I've seen several here, but honestly, I'd like to see the documentation.

The best that I have found was that the German military could put 13 divisions into an invasion on X-Day and that by a week's time they could put in some 37. That comes from the Schmundt File from Nuremburg [PS-388, Item 26, dated 9.18.38, pg 50 (IMT, Nuremberg - Eng Trans, Vol 3, pg 345-346)]. https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law ... ol-III.pdf

Here's the info from that item in XLS spreadsheet form: https://tinyurl.com/1938FallGrunMobPlan

In contrast, the Czechs had their full army (30+ divisions) not only fully mobilized but fully DEPLOYED, with its air force already scattered, so that what happened to the Polish and Russian airforces in the first day of those invasions would not have happened to the Czechs.

So I do think the Czechs had honestly _a pretty good chance_ of holding off the Germans in 1938 like Finland did (to the Russians) in 1939.

The question is what happens in 1940? 1941? 1945? 1950?

It wasn't just Hitler who needed to be beaten, or even the Nazis. The whole of German militarism had to be beaten into the ground. And that happened in the war that actually took place.

If the Czechs had successfully defended themselves in 1938 and perhaps Hitler was even assassinated in a coup during that time as well, German militarism would have remained.

The long game is playing things out from there:

Okay Hitler is gone, but the crazy German adventurism that he was the poster child for REMAINS.

Hitler is gone but the Wehrmacht, free from the shackles of the Versailles treaty, REMAINS.

Okay the 1938 "adventure" run by a Bavaro-Austrian moron ends in failure, but now the true Generals of the Wehrmacht are pissed and decide "No more crazy paperhangers, THIS TIME WE DO IT RIGHT."

And they start WW II in 1942 with not merely with Messerschmitts and Tiger Tanks but also with nuclear weapons.

In the meantime the Sudeten borderland continues to ferment, with all sorts of dead German martyrs. The boundaries of that time, with the populations that were existent at the time, would have been unsupportable.

Instead, in the scenario that actually played out ... in 1945 Germany is completely defeated and the Czechs yes with a certain degree of vengeance and with big brother Stalin smiling contently behind them, simply _expel_ the German population (Raus Deutschen schweinen...!) out of their country and ... the Czechs actually achieve A COMPLETE VICTORY over the Germans in the Sudeten Conflict.

Yes, the cost was 40 years of Communism, but ... the Soviets are GONE as well ;-)

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" ;-)

Dennis (Zdenek) Kriz

ljadw
Member
Posts: 12746
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by ljadw » 06 Jan 2022 11:39

3 points
1 The military balance of power in 1938 was irrelevant,as the Czechs could not afford a successful war :CZ as it existed could only survive if there was no war . The same for Poland .Present Czechia is not CZ from 1938 . The same for Poland .
2 Finland did NOT hold off the Russians in 1939.
3 The Polish and Soviet air forces were not destroyed on the first days of the war .

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 06 Jan 2022 20:01

ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 11:39
3 points
1 The military balance of power in 1938 was irrelevant,as the Czechs could not afford a successful war :CZ as it existed could only survive if there was no war . The same for Poland. Present Czechia is not CZ from 1938 . The same for Poland .
2 Finland did NOT hold off the Russians in 1939.
3 The Polish and Soviet air forces were not destroyed on the first days of the war .
(1) With all due respect, what do you mean "Cz as it existed could only survive if there was no war. The same for Poland. Present Czechia is not CZ from 1938 . The same for Poland." ??

I can't speak for the Poles, but your blanket statement would come as a surprise to the Czechs who made up 2/3 of Bohemia/Moravia's populations at the time and 1/2 of the country's population.

And then even among the ethnic German population of Czechoslovakia at the time, it's a myth that that the ethnic German community of inter-war Czechoslovakia was a goose-stepping monolith of Henleinites:

(a) There were plenty of ethnic German COMMUNISTS working in the various mines / factories there. German intelligence reports throughout 1938 expressed concern about what the "Rot Wehr" (Communist militias) would do if Germany invaded. (https://tinyurl.com/1938FallGrunOKHIntelRpts)

(b) Throughout the war, Benes still dealt with the Sudeten German Social Democrats because THEY sided with the Czechoslovakian state against the Nazis. They knew well what would happen to them when the Nazis arrived -- the same thing that happened to their party members in Germany following Hitler's takeover. Indeed some 50,000 Sudeten Germans were rounded-up by the Gestapo within days of the the German occupation of the Sudetenland.

Indeed, in initial discussions during the War, in London between Benes and Wencl Jaksch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wenzel_Jaksch) the leader of the German social democratic workers' party in Czechoslovakia prior to the war, the two set the number of Sudeten German "traitors" at about 1 million (out of 3 million ...).

(c) Prague was a CENTER of German refugee anti-Nazi activism throughout the mid-1930s. Again a lot of those people were arrested following the occupation of Prague by the Nazis in March, 1939.

(d) probably the majority of the sizable Czech Jewish community (some 120,000 in the Czechlands, 300,000 across the whole of the country) was "German preferring." A famous example was the writer Franz Kafka, who was German preferring, Jewish and lived in Prague all his life. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... k_Republic)

And finally, (e) pretty much _everyone_ has been in agreement that if not for Hitler there probably wouldn't have been a Sudeten crisis at all, as Germans had equal rights, dominated all the local municipal governments where they were a majority, had their own schools, political parties, etc. Basically, the Sudetenland would be something like the Italian South-Tyrol region even today.

Yes, the ethnic Germans thought and perhaps continue to think of themselves as somewhat "superior" to the Czechs (and Slavs in general). But the experience of the 1920s was that the country could work. It worked when the 1/3 German _minority_ dominated _by right_ Bohemia-Moravia prior to 1918 under the Habsburg Monarchy. And it worked well when the 2/3 Czech majority dominated the government in the inter-War republic that followed.

(2) Finland DID (LARGELY) HOLD OFF the Russians throughout the "Winter War" of 1939-40. At the end, they did lose Karelia (and a total of 9% of its territory) but the Russians suffered atrocious casualties in order to "win." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War)

(3) The Polish and Soviet (in theater) air forces _were_ largely decimated on the ground at the beginning of both Nazi German invasions. Even so, the Germans lost 1/4 of their airforce at the time, often simply to mechanical failure, in the Polish Campaign. The Czechoslovak air force was already scattered, and the weather records of the time, record that the weather was _awful_ (rainy, low cloud cover) in the early days of what would have been the invasion in October 1938 (that's what happens when one decides to plan an invasion to only begin in the middle of Autumn only a few weeks before it would start to snow in the mountains encircling the Czechlands...). So what happened to the Pole air force and later the Russian one would not have happened to the Czech air force in 1938.
Last edited by DZKriz on 06 Jan 2022 21:22, edited 2 times in total.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 12746
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by ljadw » 06 Jan 2022 21:19

1 The Fins lost, not the Soviets .They lost 9 % of their territory, the Soviets 0 % .
2 About the Polish Air Force : you should read :''The Forgotten Campaign:Poland's Military Aviation in September 1939 ''. On JSTOR.
3 While the Soviet air force lost a lot of aircraft on June 22, it was not eliminated,because only a minority of the Soviet Aircraft was located in Western Russia,most of it was out reach of of the Luftwaffe .
3 About Czechoslovakia in 1938 :if it won , or was on the winning side, its problems would not disappear : its enemies would still be there :Poland and Hungary, the Sudeten Germans and the Slovaks would still be there and ..most important :it would become a Soviet satellite .
As Poland, it could only survive without war .
If Germany lost, CZ would first be defeated and occupied by the Germans and later be liberated by the Soviets and occupied by the Soviets .That the Czech Army could hold off the Wehrmacht is a joke . If they could, they would have fought .
4 Your point e is not correct :Hitler did not invent the Sudeten problem,which existed already before 1933 : no one forced the Sudeten Germans to vote for Hitler, they voted freely for Hitler :the SdP had already more than 66 % of the German votes in 1935 and in 1938,BEFORE the cession to Germany, it dominated totally the Sudeten .That 50000 Sudeten Germans were arrested by the Gestapo,does not mean that they supported Benes. Much more Germans were arrested in 1933 and became supporters of Hitler .

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 06 Jan 2022 22:21

ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
1 The Fins lost, not the Soviets .They lost 9 % of their territory, the Soviets 0 % .
But the Fins retained their independence throughout and even to this day.
ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
2 About the Polish Air Force : you should read :''The Forgotten Campaign:Poland's Military Aviation in September 1939 ''. On JSTOR.
Maybe I'll look it up, but the Poles were a mess and honestly if they weren't _so stupid_ as to focus on trying to take a few square kilometers of Moravian silesia but rather focused themselves on the country that was going to attack them next (and with all the weaponry that was handed to them after the Czechs surrendered without a fight, the history of the world would be quite different now.
ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
3 While the Soviet air force lost a lot of aircraft on June 22, it was not eliminated,because only a minority of the Soviet Aircraft was located in Western Russia,most of it was out reach of of the Luftwaffe .
Russia is an enormous place but the "in theatre" air force was decimated on June 22
ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
About Czechoslovakia in 1938 :if it won , or was on the winning side, its problems would not disappear : its enemies would still be there :Poland and Hungary, the Sudeten Germans and the Slovaks would still be there and ..most important :it would become a Soviet satellite .
Yes, hence honestly Benes' "long game." Victory in 1945 allowed the Czechs to expel the 3 million Germans and achieve thus a _complete win_ of the Sudeten Conflict and in a way that would have been impossible under any scenario in 1938.

The plan was to do the same thing with the ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia at the time, but with the Soviets dominating both Czechoslovakia and Hungary after the war, the Soviets deemed it unnecessary.

Actually, if not for Soviet action the post War Czechs had their eyes on "liberating" the Lusitanian Sorbs east of Dresden. Again, since the Soviets dominated both Eastern Germany and Czechoslovakia, it seemed to the Soviets like an unnecessary provocation. (https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lu%C5%BEi ... olet%C3%AD)

But the Soviets were amused as pie to let the Czechs expel the ethnic Germans out of the Czech territory to the American occupation zones in both Germany and Austria. It guaranteed that the at least for a time the Czechs would "appreciate" Soviet "protection" against any revanchist German actions from the West.

Interestingly the first thing that Vaclav Havel, the first post-Communist leader of Czechoslovakia did after ascending to the Presidency in 1989 was to fly to BOTH Bonn and East Berlin to strike the deal -- "We won't bring up Nazi occupation if you don't bring up the Sudeten German expulsion after the war. But if you do, we will bring up the experience of the Nazi occupation as the principal cause for the Sudeten German expulsion).

The 1992 Treaty on Good-neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and subsequent 1997 Czech German Declaration formalized this understanding: https://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Cz ... eclaration

ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
That the Czech Army could hold off the Wehrmacht is a joke . If they could, they would have fought .
To be honest, that's a racist statement. The Czechs had both a modern economy and a modern army (as opposed to the Poles). But _alone _ the Czechs' best hope would have been to do what the Finns did in 1939.

And even the comment is quite amusing: "The Czechs should have fought, but they would have lost and lost big" Okay if everyone's telling you that you're a joke and you're gonna lose, then why fight? :-)

Benes saw this and chose not to sacrifice the Czechlands (both population and patrimony) for Western European amusement. But he told both the French and the British that they will pay dearly for not standing with the Czechs in 1938.

And the French / British _did_ pay dearly:

Hitler was able to invade both Poland and then France using the Czech weaponry (and weapons factories) left to him when the Czechs chose not to fight. (Hitler then used captured British and French weapons at Dunkirk to invade Russia ... Yes, Hitler had a mentality of a gambler ... )

And throughout the whole war, captured Czech weapons factories hummed supporting the German war-effort.

If at least the French / British had _lied to the Czechs_ and told them that they would support them (like they _lied to the Poles_ the following year) all those Czech weapons and weapons factories would have been used _against the Germans_ and at minimum would have been spent / destroyed (!!) in the course of that (1938) war.

Instead, Hitler put those weapons / weapons factories in the service of the Reich (and against the French / Brits).

It was an incredibly stupid British _strategic mistake_.

But racism sometimes has its amusing costs ;-)
ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
4 Your point e is not correct :Hitler did not invent the Sudeten problem,which existed already before 1933 : no one forced the Sudeten Germans to vote for Hitler, they voted freely for Hitler :the SdP had already more than 66 % of the German votes in 1935 and in 1938,BEFORE the cession to Germany, it dominated totally the Sudeten .That 50000 Sudeten Germans were arrested by the Gestapo,does not mean that they supported Benes.
The Sudeten problem was like the South Tyrol problem. Without Hitler, any number of solutions without resort to the FINAL one (where the Czechs just sick of the Germans expelled them all from the country after the war) would have been possible.
ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
That 50000 Sudeten Germans were arrested by the Gestapo,does not mean that they supported Benes. Much more Germans were arrested in 1933 and became supporters of Hitler .
Ha, source please? There were no Dachaus or Buchenwalds in _democratic_ interwar Czechoslovakia ...
Last edited by DZKriz on 06 Jan 2022 22:45, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 06 Jan 2022 22:31

ljadw wrote:
06 Jan 2022 21:19
As Poland, it could only survive without war .
Strangely Poland survived with war, and as basically the only European country that didn't collaborate with the Nazis. Isn't honor worth something?

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 06 Jan 2022 22:42

DZKriz wrote:
06 Jan 2022 05:48
In contrast, both Germany and Poland suffered unbearable casualties -- almost all the men who would have invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 were killed later on other fronts -- and their countries are pale / disney reconstructions of what they used to look like before the war.
The Second Polish Republic was one of the poorest countries in Europe, where famine happened.
Today it's quite possible the Polish economy will outgrow the Russian one in twenty years, G-d willing.

The "unbearable casualties" weren't known, were impossible to predict so the people responsible for the decision to fight or not shouldn't be blame for that.

The problem with handing over your land to the other guy is it becomes his legal property forever - according to international law.
Unless the other guy makes mistake and gets destroyed in a world war.
It happens but it's unlikely.

Poland didn't defend itself against partitions and the partitions became legal (at the Congress of Vienna). Only a sheer miracle saved Poland later.
But even a decade earlier no sane (or even insane) person would expect that.
That three major European powers would commit suicide at the same time.

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 06 Jan 2022 22:58

wm wrote:
06 Jan 2022 22:42
The problem with handing over your land to the other guy is it becomes his legal property forever - according to international law.
Unless the other guy makes mistake and gets destroyed in a world war.
It happens but it's unlikely.
But this was the thing, Beneš, perhaps more than anybody at that time, knew Hitler was an idiot and would eventually lose.

But why sacrifice your country for others' amusement? He clearly told the French and British that they were going to pay dearly for not standing with the Czechs against Hitler. They chose to ignore him.

And two years later they were driven into the sea by a German army (tripled in size in a year) positively engorged on captured Czech weapons and weapons factories.

Countries all around the Czech Republic were then pulverized in the war and the Czechs came out standing quite nicely ;-).

Sometimes it's not too stupid "to duck" ;-)

DZKriz ;-)
Last edited by DZKriz on 07 Jan 2022 00:16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 06 Jan 2022 23:47

The problem with that is the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia could have become permanent (assuming Hitler wouldn't attack the Allies later).
And with time the majority of its citizens would be German.

As far as I know, Beneš was a sociopath (generally nothing wrong with it) who only cared about himself.
The Allies were unprepared and much weaker in 1938 than in 1940 (but the Germans too), it generally didn't matter when the war would start in - 1938 or 1940.

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 07 Jan 2022 01:03

wm wrote:
06 Jan 2022 23:47
The problem with that is the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia could have become permanent (assuming Hitler wouldn't attack the Allies later).
And with time the majority of its citizens would be German.
Yes, that's a possibility. But if everybody keeps saying that they would have lost anyway, it's six one way half a dozen the other. Without a war, there's less destruction, more people live.
wm wrote:
06 Jan 2022 23:47
As far as I know, Beneš was a sociopath (generally nothing wrong with it) who only cared about himself.
Beneš was above all, a Czech intellectual. Which means that he was certainly very smart, and also thought of himself as very smart as perhaps the smartest in the room.

So someone like Hitler simply offended him.

Now Beneš was _not_ aristocracy but educated bourgeoise which in fact arguably made him hate Hitler even more: "Oh come on man, if you just tried to become more educated rather than content yourself to be a bum / hooligan."

Now there is also a _very Czech_ characteristic that honestly goes all the way back to the beginnings of its history, that Czechs always thought that "if only [they did / acheived] _____" they achieve respect / parity.

So ... one of the primary motivations of becoming Christian was "well, if we become Christian, they'll let us be."

Then (Czech) Bohemia became actually one of the elector states of the Holy Roman (German) Empire. So here was King Otakar II, who works really hard to make Bohemia _the most powerful_ of the elector states of the Holy Roman Empire, and then is _shocked_ that THE OTHER electors chose to elect a "young upstart" named Rudolf von Habsburg to be Holy Roman Emperor rather than him! ;-). Why did they pick mere Duke Rudolf rather than King Otakar as the H.R.E.? Precisely because Otakar was strong and Rudolf was weak ;-)

Afterwards, the Czechs actually get a King elected H.R.E., King Charles IV, who builds then builds (Charles) University in Prague because _that was the rage_ in the 1300-1400s to build Universities. Well, soon _just like universities elsewhere_ (notably in Paris' Sorbonne) the theologians start getting radical. Well, one radical Czech theologian, John Hus, comes around. And he's being proudly _just as annoying_ as the best / most annoying of them at the Sorbonne. EXCEPT ... well, the Popes can't get at the annoying French theologians at the Sorbonne (who are protected by the French King). Instead, the only one that they get their hands on (and make an example of) ... is the lonely Czech theologian John Hus, who they burn at the stake.

Fast forward more modern times. You have the national awakeners (buditele) who after two centuries of bohemia being a backwater, start raising the Czech national consciousness -- heck if the German Romantics are raising their national consciousness at this time, why not us too, we have good stories, we have plenty of good legends, every rock in our country also has its story ... -- and they run initially run into a brick wall:

Austrian Emperor Franz Josef decides to give the Hungarians equal rights, the Czechs _expect the same_ but then the Austrians (Germans) realize that if they gave the Slavs equal rights the Slavs were practically the majority of the Empire. So they don't. ;-)

When Czechoslovakia achieves its independence, the Czechs want to be as liberal as possibly they can. Yes, the 1/3 German minority starts complaining -- "Hey we are 1/3 of the population, why aren't we at least partly named in the country." The Czechs respond, "well we (slavs) lived in a country named AUSTRIA - HUNGARY and were a higher percentage of the population than you are, and NOBODY talked about calling the country something other than Austria-Hungary... so stop whining. But hey, EVEN NOW we give you more rights than you gave us. And remember you are a minority in this country now."

But then when it comes to the other states, the Czechs are ABSOLUTELY STUNNED that while they are a democracy, and there are NO "Dachau's" or Buchenwalds in the CSR, the Brits seem to feel closer to the goose-stepping (German) Nazis.

Masaryk the Czechs founder spent most of his adult life in the United States, Benes studied and grew up in France. And yet, the Brits prefer the Germans ... well partly because the Brits themselves thought of themselves as superior to the Irish, Scots, to say nothing of the Indians or various African peoples. And the Brits thought of the Czechs as basically like the German Scots or perhaps even the German Cherokees.

And that's the problem. Benes and the entire Czech leadership class of the CSR simply could not believe that the Brits would have really preferred the Germans to them.

"But we're liberal, we're building all these things. We even drive on the left side of the road (a vestige from Austrio-Hungarian Days), why don't you like us?"

And then Benes (and most of the Czech leadership class) thought Hitler was an idiot, and frankly that Chamberlain was an idiot as well.

And yet, Benes was standing up to fight Hitler and NEEDED silver spoon in his mouth Chamberlain's help.

And thee it is, the great Czech complex (Masaryk, Benes, Havel for that matter Klaus ... none of these were idiots) ... "We're the smartest people in the room, and we're stuck being dominated -- don't get us talking about the "shoe banging kholhoz raised" Russians... -- by brutes and rich-legacy morons."

It's really hard being a Czech ;-) ;-) ... so "smart" and yet NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE :-) ;-)

Dzkriz

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 07 Jan 2022 01:26

DZKriz wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:03
So someone like Hitler simply offended him.

Now Beneš was _not_ aristocracy but educated bourgeoise which in fact arguably made him hate Hitler even more: "Oh come on man, if you just tried to become more educated rather than content yourself to be a bum / hooligan."

Now there is also a _very Czech_ characteristic that honestly goes all the way back to the beginnings of its history, that Czechs always thought that "if only [they did / acheived] _____" they achieve respect / parity.

So ... one of the primary motivations of becoming Christian was "well, if we become Christian, they'll let us be."

Then (Czech) Bohemia became actually one of the elector states of the Holy Roman (German) Empire. So here was King Otakar II, who works really hard to make Bohemia _the most powerful_ of the elector states of the Holy Roman Empire, and then is _shocked_ that THE OTHER electors chose to elect a "young upstart" named Rudolf von Habsburg to be Holy Roman Emperor rather than him! ;-). Why did they pick mere Duke Rudolf rather than King Otakar as the H.R.E.? Precisely because Otakar was strong and Rudolf was weak ;-)

Afterwards, the Czechs actually get a King elected H.R.E., King Charles IV, who builds then builds (Charles) University in Prague because _that was the rage_ in the 1300-1400s to build Universities. Well, soon _just like universities elsewhere_ (notably in Paris' Sorbonne) the theologians start getting radical. Well, one radical Czech theologian, John Hus, comes around. And he's being proudly _just as annoying_ as the best / most annoying of them at the Sorbonne. EXCEPT ... well, the Popes can't get at the annoying French theologians at the Sorbonne (who are protected by the French King). Instead, the only one that they get their hands on (and make an example of) ... is the lonely Czech theologian John Hus, who they burn at the stake.

Fast forward more modern times. You have the national awakeners (buditele) who after two centuries of bohemia being a backwater, start raising the Czech national consciousness -- heck if the German Romantics are raising their national consciousness at this time, why not us too, we have good stories, we have plenty of good legends, every rock in our country also has its story ... -- and they run initially run into a brick wall:

Austrian Emperor Franz Josef decides to give the Hungarians equal rights, the Czechs _expect the same_ but then the Austrians (Germans) realize that if they gave the Slavs equal rights the Slavs were practically the majority of the Empire. So they don't. ;-)

When Czechoslovakia achieves its independence, the Czechs want to be as liberal as possibly they can. Yes, the 1/3 German minority starts complaining -- "Hey we are 1/3 of the population, why aren't we at least partly named in the country." The Czechs respond, "well we (slavs) lived in a country named AUSTRIA - HUNGARY and were a higher percentage of the population than you are, and NOBODY talked about calling the country something other than Austria-Hungary... so stop whining. But hey, EVEN NOW we give you more rights than you gave us. And remember you are a minority in this country now."

But then when it comes to the other states, the Czechs are ABSOLUTELY STUNNED that while they are a democracy, and there are NO "Dachau's" or Buchenwalds in the CSR, the Brits seem to feel closer to the goose-stepping (German) Nazis.

Masaryk the Czechs founder spent most of his adult life in the United States, Benes studied and grew up in France. And yet, the Brits prefer the Germans ... well partly because the Brits themselves thought of themselves as superior to the Irish, Scots, to say nothing of the Indians or various African peoples. And the Brits thought of the Czechs as basically like the German Scots or perhaps even the German Cherokees.

And that's the problem. Benes and the entire Czech leadership class of the CSR simply could not believe that the Brits would have really preferred the Germans to them.

"But we're liberal, we're building all these things. We even drive on the left side of the road (a vestige from Austrio-Hungarian Days), why don't you like us?"

And then Benes (and most of the Czech leadership class) thought Hitler was an idiot, and frankly that Chamberlain was an idiot as well.

And yet, Benes was standing up to fight Hitler and NEEDED silver spoon in his mouth Chamberlain's help.

And thee it is, the great Czech complex (Masaryk, Benes, Havel for that matter Klaus ... none of these were idiots) ... "We're the smartest people in the room, and we're stuck being dominated -- don't get us talking about the "shoe banging kholhoz raised" Russians... -- by brutes and rich-legacy morons."

It's really hard being a Czech ;-) ;-) ... so "smart" and yet NO ONE SEEMS TO CARE :-) ;-)

Dzkriz

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 6966
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by wm » 07 Jan 2022 01:38

DZKriz wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:03
So someone like Hitler simply offended him.
Well, if he was driven by emotions during negotiations with powerful leaders of foreign powers he was doing it wrong.
But it's not what I've read.
Jaromír Smutný wrote about him that he was:
without human feelings but with human weaknesses.
I have not met a single person who would be humanly devoted to Benes.

DZKriz wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:03
And that's the problem. Benes and the entire Czech leadership class of the CSR simply could not believe that the Brits would have really preferred the Germans to them.
Although the British preferred not to send their sons to die by hundreds of thousands for marginal causes - like denying the Sudeten Germans the right to self-determination.
The British were mediators trying to save the peace, they owed the Czechs nothing.

DZKriz
Member
Posts: 13
Joined: 16 Mar 2018 07:51
Location: United States

Re: Retrospective WI. Cezch War of 1938

Post by DZKriz » 07 Jan 2022 04:55

wm wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:38
DZKriz wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:03
So someone like Hitler simply offended him.
Well, if he was driven by emotions during negotiations with powerful leaders of foreign powers he was doing it wrong.
But it's not what I've read.
Jaromír Smutný wrote about him that he was:
without human feelings but with human weaknesses.
I have not met a single person who would be humanly devoted to Benes.
Well one thing that one couldn't say about Benes was that he was "driven by emotions." He sacrificed his country (and arguably twice) for the "long game" ... and he was right. Both the Germans and the Russians are now long gone ;-) And you don't get to that place "driven by emotions"

But yes, I do think that Benes thought that both Hitler and Chamberlain were idiots, one was basically a thug whose blind luck would run out and the other privileged dinosaur whose species has thankfully died off since.

Regarding Jaromir Smutny, it would seem that he was far closer a friend to Benes than that one line quote would give him credit for: (readers here click the translate button in the chrome browser if you don't know Czech): https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarom%C3%ADr_Smutn%C3%BD

All kinds of people would say about Benes that he was a very bright man, _perhaps_ too bright in his own estimation for his own good. But he was very smart.
wm wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:38
DZKriz wrote:
07 Jan 2022 01:03
And that's the problem. Benes and the entire Czech leadership class of the CSR simply could not believe that the Brits would have really preferred the Germans to them.
Although the British preferred not to send their sons to die by hundreds of thousands for marginal causes - like denying the Sudeten Germans the right to self-determination.
The British were mediators trying to save the peace, they owed the Czechs nothing.
And well ... that "marginal cause" really bit the British in their arses, when the Germans using in good part Czech guns and even Czech tanks drove the Brits two years later into the sea at Dunkirk ;-)

One needent be good in this world, one needent be moral (if one doesn't give a damn about eternal life and all that), but it _really hurts_ to be stupid ;-)

DzKriz

Return to “What if”