Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

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Futurist
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Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

Post by Futurist » 31 Dec 2019 23:49

Had war broken out in 1938 over the Sudetenland, would Czechoslovakia have tried to do a large-scale movement of its industries from the Sudetenland and Czechia to Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia? Basically, I am using the Soviet transfer of thousands of factories from the European part of the USSR to the part of the USSR west of the Urals in 1941-1942 in real life as an example to describe what I am thinking of here. Could Czechoslovakia have done something similar--but with Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia being its own version of what the territories east of the Urals were to the USSR--in a scenario where war would have broken out in 1938 over the Sudetenland?

Any thoughts on this?

Pavel Novak
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Re: Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

Post by Pavel Novak » 01 Jan 2020 17:24

During second half of 1930s there was effort to create new military industry in eastern Moravia and western Slovakia. This results in several new functional factories here. Setting new industry in eastern Slovakia and Ruthenia collided with inadequate development of these areas.

For war itself it was planned to move industry from western parts of country to east but it was not expected that it will be able to produce large quantities of weapons. The goal was rather to be able to supply fighting army. It was generally part of evacuation plans for territories which were expected to be lost quickly. The evacuation process started during mobilization but it was stopped once Munich was accepted.

Futurist
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Re: Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

Post by Futurist » 02 Jan 2020 22:59

Pavel Novak wrote:
01 Jan 2020 17:24
During second half of 1930s there was effort to create new military industry in eastern Moravia and western Slovakia. This results in several new functional factories here. Setting new industry in eastern Slovakia and Ruthenia collided with inadequate development of these areas.
How much time would it have taken for the Czechoslovak government to develop eastern Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia in the absence of Hitler and WWII?
For war itself it was planned to move industry from western parts of country to east but it was not expected that it will be able to produce large quantities of weapons. The goal was rather to be able to supply fighting army. It was generally part of evacuation plans for territories which were expected to be lost quickly. The evacuation process started during mobilization but it was stopped once Munich was accepted.
Very interesting! So, the Czechoslovaks merely hoped to produce enough military weapons to support an insurgent army as opposed to maintaining their pre-1938 level of production of military weapons. Interesting.

BTW, do you know how much development Slovakia and--in the USSR--Subcarpathian Ruthenia experienced in the post-WWII decades?

Pavel Novak
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Re: Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

Post by Pavel Novak » 12 Jan 2020 20:20

I don't know. Setting industry needs in normal countries also economical rationality otherwise it is money eater. Post-war transfer of tank production from Bohemia to Slovakia took a decade.

German superiority in numbers means that any war just between Germany and Czechoslovakia is defeat for Czechoslovakia. Out of different scenarios tried on maps the only variant in which Czechoslovakia was not defeated was immediate French invasion to Germany at the start of hostilities. If Czechoslovak military resist alone to Germany 2 months were considered as the longest possible resistance.

Because this was sort of known from early 1930s it was decided to build army differently from standards at that time. The basics were that because war will be probably short and the only winnable variant is with France everything was organized accordingly:
- During mobilization create as much units with as much men as possible as standard war replacement will not work anyway (men not mobilized immediately will be lost on territories captured by enemy).
- Thus prepare weapons and supplies for these units in peacetime as the normal industrial production will not function at war anyway. Significant logistic disturbances were expected.
- Do not count with any new units to be created after war starts as there will be no time and no resources for this - all units need to be prepared before war.
- The whole single mission of the mobilized army was to be so large that German army would really need to send most of its forces against Czechoslovakia so the French army would have minimal resistance on the western front. This partly worked as most of German active divisions were positioned against Czechoslovakia in 1938.

reedwh52
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Re: Question about Czechoslovakia moving its industries in the event of a war in 1938

Post by reedwh52 » 18 Jan 2020 23:44

re the question: "Had war broken out in 1938 over the Sudetenland, would Czechoslovakia have tried to do a large-scale movement of its industries from the Sudetenland and Czechia to Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia?"

The answer is likely not in those circumstances. Geography and distance would be the biggest factor since by that time Austria was part of Germany.

For the Russians: The Russians had significant territory to surrender before the Germans could reach most of the factories, up to 1000 km or more. The rail & road lines used to move the plants were past that line an were moving back an additional 1000 + km. Thus there was time for the movement and the movement was almost always beyond air interdiction range of the Luftwaffe.

Further, these were state-controlled industries in Stalin's Russia. If those charged with evacuating industry did not perform well, then summary execution was a distinct possibility.

For the Czechs:
1) the major arms producing areas were very close to German controlled territory. Brno (approx 50 km) and Pilzen (approx 60 km) were well under
100 kilometers from German controlled territory.
2) Using Brno to Yasina as an example, the maximum distance an evacuation could go was under 600 km.
3) Unlike the Russians, this movement would be subject to interdiction by the Germans for much of the attempt.

The Czech arms industry was not state controlled and the Czech state had no history of encouragement by execution.

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