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Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Bene%s in the 1930s 1st Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195102666
ISBN-10: 0195102665
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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


About the Author

Igor Lukes is at Boston University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 23, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195102665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195102666
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,236,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P.Giltner on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lukes has performed the important service of reminding us that the most famous crisis before the Second World War was about more than an allegedly duped Chamberlain and an insane Hitler. As a well developed and democratic society living right next to the re-incarnation of an ancient tribal land, Benes and the Czechs found themselves face to face with irrationality in its worst form.
Lukes takes the reader into the unhappy place that the Czechs found themselves, and forces us to consider what might have been. An outstanding analytical work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Readalots on December 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Igor Lukes' "Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler" (1996 318 page paperback) tells the gripping story of the Czechs' struggle for domestic security and European acceptance during the interwar years of 1918 to 1938. It showcases, as the subtitle says, the diplomacy of foreign affairs minister turned president Edvard Benes.

Lukes informs about the Czechs' 20-year determination to protect their sovereignty in the face of rising Nazism across their western border. Treaties were made with France and the Soviet Union, which were ultimately denied by French and Bolsheviks for fear of Hitler's power and desire for war, to hold off the menacing Furher.

This study explains how Great Britain, with French collaboration and Soviet silence, forced Czechoslovakia to give land and populations to Hitler in the waning days of 1938 (in order to keep Europe at peace). This macabre action unleashed Nazi fury on innocent Bohemian, Moravian, and Slavic communities, extinguished the Czech democracy, and ultimately politically weakened the area for the Soviet invasion of 1948.

The principle personalities in the destruction of pre war Czechoslovakia are reviewed: Benes, Hitler, Stalin, Chamberlain, Daladier, and many more. The Czech border conflicts with Poland and Hungary are presented. Czechoslovakia's closest friendship through the period, Romania, is helpfully reviewed.

Lukes goes to great length in sourcing his work here (each chapter averages 10 pages of endnotes and 33 pages of bibliography). He cites period news item, periodicals, radio and TV interviews, political speeches, diplomats' period reports, declassified materials, and much more in presenting this history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Czechoslovakia Between Hitler and Stalin" was a very thought-provoking look at the crises between President Edvard Benes and Germany during the late 1930's. A must for anyone interested in World War II/Eastern European History.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sertorius on November 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
Igor Lukes has written a brilliant history of the Sudeten crisis and the nearly impossible position of Czechoslovakia and her President Edvard Benes in the fall of 1938. Critics of Anglo-French appeasement have spent decades castigating the democracies for betraying the Czechs. In contrast, Stalin who also held treaty obligations to support Czechoslovakia has been given a pass. Generations of uninformed historians and Stalin's Western apologists have maintained that the Dictator was ready to aid the Czechs against a German invasion, but only deferred when France and Britain signed the Munich Agreement. Lukes makes mincemeat of this long standing canard. His account clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that Stalin had no intention of honoring the Soviet-Czech agreement to provide military support.

Stalin's hope, (a strategy articulated by Lenin years before), was to maneuver Britain, France and Germany into a Second Great Capitalist war that would leave them exhausted and open to Bolshevik insurrections. Standing on the sidelines, Stalin would eventually be able to launch the world's largest military force, (which he had been building since the first Five Year plan in 1928), against a prostrate Europe.

Stalin almost accomplished this plan with the Nazi-Soviet Pact nearly a year later, but his expected replay of a war of attrition between the Anglo-French democracies and Hitler's Germany fell to the Nazi blitzkrieg. While Lukes offers no absolution for Anglo-French appeasement of Germany or their unwitting role in Hitler's eventual liquidation of Czechoslovakia, Stalin's appeasement and betrayal get their well deserved prominence in the Czech demise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fernand Legerer on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
At the Munich agreements the Czechs were clearly betrayed by the French: Czechoslovakia had a military agreement with this country. However the French alone felt too weak for a military adventure against Nazi-Germany, so they sought for British assistance. The British hoped to avoid a war by ceding German inhabited Sudetenland to Hitler - he promised that he would not make any territorial claims then anymore. Unfortunately a fatal misestimation of Chamberlain. By sacrificing Czechoslovakia the West lost a comparable strong ally and only democratic state in Central Europe that could have helped to stop the Nazis. At the outbreak of WW II a sizeable amount of weapons of the German army were of Czech origin. However, Benes's problem was that at foundation of Czechoslovakia after WW I he took more than he could hold, by annexing Sudetenland (with allied consent, of course). His hopes to be in Prague at eye-level with Paris and London proved to be very naive. The Germans of Sudetenland who predominantly welcomed Hitler (like the Russians are doing now in Crimea with Putin, though situation is not comparable because Putin is not Hitler) had to pay a very high price for their collaboration with Nazi-Germany and the crimes of this regime: They were collectively expulsed of their homeland, where they have lived for centuries after the war. Due to the betrayal of Munich and Benes's subsequent disappointment of the Western democracies he approached Stalin (despite Western warnings) in order for Czechoslovakia to be a bridge between East and West - failing again as Stalin simply absorbed it into his empire by the coup d'etat of 1948.
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Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Bene%s in the 1930s
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