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

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

by Igor Lukes
     
 

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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. The era has been thoroughly examined from the perspectives of Germans, French, and British political establishments. But historians have had, until now, only a vague understanding of the roles

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. The era has been thoroughly examined from the perspectives of Germans, French, and British political establishments. But historians have had, until now, only a vague understanding of the roles played by the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, the country whose very existence was at the very 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 looks at the first two decades of Benes's diplomacy and 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. The work also brings evidence regarding the so-called partial mobilization of the Czechoslovak army in May 1938, and focuses on Stalin's strategic thinking on the eve of the World War II. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was difficult for Western researchers to gain access to the rich archival collections of the East. Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler makes ample use of these secret archives, both in Prague and in Russia. As a result, it is an accurate and original rendition of the events which eventually sparked the Second World War.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professor Lukes' book is one of the most important and interesting studies of the events which led to W.W. II. His study of the Czechoslovak crisis of 1938 is bolstered by the hither-to secret documents released recently by Moscow and Prague. It throws an intriguing light on the Soviet Union's role in the crisis as well as a number of other important questions that could not be resolved by historians until now."—Adam B. Ulam, Gurney Professor of History and Political Science, Harvard University

"Mr. Lukes's treatise about the unfortunate country caught in the tongs handled by the two bloodiest dictators of Europe, brings to the story the fresh approach of an author unburdened with political affiliations or sympathies which often limit researchers of older generations."—Josef Skvorecyy', University of Toronto (emeritus)

"This important study, based on hitherto inaccessible archival materials, seeks to reappraise Czechoslovak diplomacy in the late 1930s particularly toward the Soviet Union and Germany. It also offers a revisionist interpretation of soviet policies. In a fascinating presentation of crucial international events the author demolishes old clichés and exposes biased accounts; the book is not only a valuable contribution to history but is written in a way which retains the undivided attention of the reader."—Piotr S. Wandycz, Yale University

"This by far the best treatment of the topic and it is also one of the best monographs dealing with the diplomacy of any one of the small European states that were in the thirties sandwiched between Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Third Reich....[G]roundbreaking and exemplary."—Dr. Antonin Klimek, Military Historical Institute and Charles University, Prague

"A marvellous piece of work. Mercifully free of jargon and systems-speak, the book explores the foreign policy of the First Czechoslovak Republic from its creation in 1918 to its demise in 1938. The narrative focuses on the role of Foreign Minister Benes, but the book is really about the ways in which Czechoslovakia tried to survive in a terrible neighborhood, one that included not only the tyrants Hitler and Stalin, but avaricious smaller neighbors, like Poland and Hungary....The

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199880256
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/23/1996
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
4 MB

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