Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Benes in the 1930s

Overview


The Munich crisis of 1938, in which Great Britain and France decided to appease Hitler's demands to annex the Sudentenland, has provoked a vast amount of historical writing. But historians have had, until now, only a vague understanding of the roles played by the Soviet Union and by Czechoslovakia, the country whose very existence was at the center of the crisis.

In Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler, Igor Lukes explores this turbulent and tragic era from the new ...

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Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Benes in the 1930s

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Overview


The Munich crisis of 1938, in which Great Britain and France decided to appease Hitler's demands to annex the Sudentenland, has provoked a vast amount of historical writing. But historians have had, until now, only a vague understanding of the roles played by the Soviet Union and by Czechoslovakia, the country whose very existence was at the center of the crisis.

In Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler, Igor Lukes explores this turbulent and tragic era from the new perspective of the Prague government itself. At the center of this study is Edvard Benes, a Czechoslovak foreign policy strategist and a major player in the political machinations of the era. The work analyzes the Prague Government's attempts to secure the existence of the Republic of Czechoslovakia in the treacherous space between the millstones of the East and West. It studies Benes's relationship with Joseph Stalin, outlines the role assigned to Czechoslovak communists by the VIIth Congress of the Communist International in 1935, and dissects Prague's secret negotiations with Berlin and Benes's role in the famous Tukhachevsky affair. Using secret archives in both Prague and Russia, this work is an accurate and original rendition of the events that sparked the Second World War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The literature on the crisis leading to the Munich agreement of 1938 is immense. This book by Igor lukes is a useful addition primarily because of the author's extensive use of archives in Prague, including some hitherto either closed to research, utilized only by selected scholars adhering to the Communist Party line, or not considered at all. Lukes has combed them all with care."--American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195102666
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
1 Czecholovak-Soviet Contacts from the End of World War I to Adolf Hitler's Machtergreifung, 1918-1933 3
The Hillerson Red Cross Mission in Prague 7
Prague's Attitude toward the Bolsheviks 11
From Diplomacy to Confrontation 18
2 Dangerous Relations: Benes and Stalin in Hitler's Shadow, 1933-1935 33
At Last: De Jure Recognition and Its Consequences 36
Benes's Ostpolitik 40
The Czechoslovak-Soviet Treaty of 1935 and Its Mysterious Stipulation 44
Prague's Pact with Moscow 50
The Aftermath of Czechoslovakia's Agreement with the Soviet Union 51
Stalin's Wooing of Edvard Benes: The 1935 Trip to Moscow 52
Stalin Was "Gracious, Thoughtful, Accommodating" 55
3 Between the Agile East and the Apathetic West: Central Europe, 1935-1937 67
The CPC and the 7th Congress of the Comintern 68
Czechoslovakia and the Frigid West 79
"Lord Halalifax" 81
4 Benes and the Tukhachevsky Affair: New Evidence from the Archives in Prague and Moscow 91
Znamia Rossii and Other Tremors before the Earthquake 92
Tukhachevsky and the Secret Negotiations between Prague and Berlin 96
President Edvard Benes and the Tukhachevsky Affair 99
5 The Fateful Spring of 1938: Austrian Anschluss and the May Crisis 113
From the Death of Thomas G. Masaryk to New Year's Day 1938 116
The Anschluss of Austria 119
Czechoslovakia after the Anschluss 126
Moscow's Reaction to the Anschluss 130
Konrad Henlein's Eight Points: Demand the Impossible 139
May Day 1938: Gottwald in Moscow, Henlein in the Sudentenland 141
The Partial Mobilization of May 1938 143
The May Mobilization and Analysts of the Second Bureau 148
6 Lord Runciman and Comrade Zhdanov: Western and Soviet Policies Toward Czechoslovakia from June to Early September 1938 173
France: Firm Statements of Support on Shaky Foundations 174
Great Britain Takes Charge 177
The British Intervention: Lord Runciman in Prague 179
The Three-Pronged Soviet Strategy from June to Early September 1938 190
7 September 1938 209
Hitler at Nuremberg and a State of Emergency in the Sudetenland 209
Berchtesgaden: A Step to Munich 214
The Franco-British Proposal 218
Prague's Response to the Proposal and the Soviet Union 223
The Franco-British Ultimatum and Its Consequences 225
Godesberg: The Last Missed Opportunity 233
Folding the Flag: From the Sportpalast to Munich 242
The Yawning Affair at Munich 249
Agony in Prague 253
The Man Who Won at Munich: Stalin and the Four Power Act 256
The Victims of the Munich Agreement 260
Sources and Bibliography 277
Index 311
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