Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
|status||immediate Reich territory|
|Official languages||Czech , German|
|Facility||March 16, 1939|
|resolution||May 8, 1945|
|Head of the Protectorate||Emil Hacha|
|surface||49,363 km² (1939)|
|currency||Crown of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia|
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ( Czech Protektorát Čechy a Morava ) is a National Socialist name for a formally autonomous administrative unit on Czechoslovak territory under German rule, which existed from 1939 to 1945. It comprised the territory of the Czecho-Slovak Republic , which remained after the forced cession of the Sudetenland to the Reich , the Olsa region to Poland and Slovak parts of the country to Hungary as a result of the First Vienna arbitration award in autumn 1938 and after the secession of Slovakia on March 14, 1939 . After the Slovak declaration of independence, the Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha and Foreign Minister František Chvalkovský signed a protectorate treaty on the night of March 14-15, 1939 under massive German pressure. The Wehrmacht marched in in the early morning hours of March 15 (the so-called " smashing of the rest of the Czech Republic "). The occupied area was then annexed . In a Führer decree , Adolf Hitler declared it to be part of the Greater German Reich with limited self-administration . The German Reich Protector could revoke all resolutions of the Czech Protectorate Government at any time.
The establishment of the "Reich Protectorate" marked the beginning of the realization of the National Socialist expansion and occupation policy . Many political opponents , especially communists and social democrats , as well as emigrants and a large number of Jews were arrested. The National Socialist rule aimed for the short term to exploit the economic resources and especially the human capital of the population through Nazi forced labor . In the long term, a " Germanization " of the area, which in Germany was considered a special kind of inland, was planned.
Through the agreement of September 29, 1938, concluded at the Munich Conference , the Sudeten German areas were split off from Czechoslovakia and incorporated into the German Reich: from then on the largest part formed the Reichsgau Sudetenland , other areas such as the Bohemian Forest and parts of South Moravia became the Gau Bavarian Ostmark ( later Bayreuth) and Reichsgaue upper and Lower Danube slammed shut. Already in October 1938 had Adolf Hitler , the remaining area of the Czech Republic in a Fuehrer order to the Armed Forces as a " rump Czechoslovakia called" that had to be done there, and thus made it clear that he did not intend to comply with the Munich Pact.
With the help of an ultimatum to Jozef Tiso, Hitler forced the declaration of independence for Slovakia, which took place on March 14, 1939. While Wehrmacht troops were already occupying Mährisch-Ostrau , the Czechoslovak President Emil Hácha traveled to Berlin on the same evening, where Hitler put him under massive pressure and told him that the invasion of German troops was inevitable. In the early morning hours of the following day, Hácha signed an agreement submitted to him on the protection of the Czech people by the German Reich . The Wehrmacht moved into Brno and Prague ("smashing the rest of the Czech Republic "). Hitler arrived in Prague on the evening of March 15 and on the following day proclaimed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia , which comprised the predominantly Czech-populated areas of Bohemia , Moravia and Silesia (the historic land of Moravia-Silesia ), as part of the Greater German Empire . The term protectorate was based on the terminology used in German colonial policy in the 1880s. The Slovak Republic signed on 23 March 1939 a "protection contract" dictated by the German Reich, thereby becoming a satellite state .
The short-term goal of the National Socialist occupation policy was to exploit Czech economic resources for the war. In the long term, Frank and Heydrich intended to “Germanize” the area in connection with the annihilation of the Czech people as an ethnic unit. The aim of the Czech collaboration was to keep its own losses as low as possible; From the German point of view, the resistance of the Czechs against occupation measures should be weakened.
On October 28, 1939, the anniversary of Czechoslovak independence, the resistance of the Czech population to the German occupying power erupted in mass demonstrations and strikes throughout the protectorate and especially in Prague. The worker Otakar Sedláček was shot and the medical student Jan Opletal was seriously wounded. He died of his injuries on November 11, 1939; there was great unrest at his funeral in Prague. On November 17, 1939, the police shot and killed nine students who were accused of being ringleaders in the demonstrations. Over 1200 Czech students were interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp , and all Czech universities were closed (“ Sonderaktion Prague ”). Neurath did not succeed in pacifying the protectorate in Hitler's terms either.
Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Reich Security Main Office , was appointed Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia on September 27, 1941 . Von Neurath formally remained Reich Protector, but was given leave of absence. Heydrich earned his reputation as the "butcher of Prague" through the brutal persecution of the resistance. After he was seriously wounded by an assassination attempt in the so-called Operation Anthropoid on May 27, 1942 and died of the consequences of the assassination attempt on June 4, 1942, the Reich Protectorate experienced another wave of terror by the National Socialists , intended as retaliation for the murder of Heydrich . 10,000 Czechs were arrested and over 1,300 killed. This time is called the Heydrichiáda (Eng. "Heydrichiade") by the Czechs . The massacres of Lidice (Liditz) on June 10, 1942 and of Ležáky on June 24, 1942 became particularly well known. The SS and police destroyed entire villages and murdered almost all of the male residents. The women and children were sent to concentration camps. The state of emergency was lifted on July 3, 1942, but the tribunals used to try suspects remained in office for an indefinite period.
The protectorate was forced to make a major contribution to the German war economy . Germany was able to take advantage of the well-trained workforce and highly developed industry. Since the protectorate was just out of the reach of Allied bombers , the Czech economy was able to work almost undisturbed until the end of the war and deliver important war goods. By October 29, 1943, all non-military operations were closed. Bohemia only
became a theater of war in the spring of 1945. On February 14, 1945, USAAF planes accidentally bombed Prague, killing 700 people. In March 1945 the Prague suburbs of Libeň and Vysočany were bombed, killing over 350 people. On April 25, 1945, US planes dropped 638 tons of incendiary and high-explosive bombs on the city of Pilsen (Plzeň) and the Skoda works there . Nevertheless, the Waffen-SS set up an SS Junk School in Prague in July 1944 , the SS Junk School Prague-Dewitz, for the training of its junior military leaders .
In addition to the government in exile in London and the resistance groups in the protectorate and in Slovakia, Czech and Slovak communists in exile in Moscow also worked incessantly towards the resurrection of the Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR). After a provisional Czechoslovak "Government of the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks" had been constituted in Košice under the chairmanship of Zdeněk Fierlingers in the spring of 1945 , it decided on April 5, 1945 an extensive program for the reconstruction of the republic, which is under point VIII-XI also provided for regulations on citizens of German and Hungarian nationality and their treatment. The protectorate government was overthrown by the Prague uprising , which began on May 5, 1945 and turned against the German occupation - there were still 80,000 soldiers from Army Group Center , several SS divisions and central Gestapo offices stationed in the Protectorate. The uprising ended de facto on May 8th. Only on May 9, 1945 did the Soviet troops march into Prague. Immediately after the liberation of the Czechoslovakia, which included the Red Army, US armed forces and Czech and Slovak insurgents, it was re-established within its old borders, including the Sudeten area , but in June 1945 the state had to leave the area claimed by the Soviet Union the Transcarpathian cede. The Red Army left Czechoslovakia in 1945.
During the Second World War, Bohemia and Moravia was an evacuation area for the German deportation of Kinderland and private accommodation. The health resorts of Bad Poděbrady and Bad Luhatschowitz ( Luhačovice ) were the preferred locations for the extended children's area .
Already the invasion of the Wehrmacht was accompanied by the large-scale " Operation Grid ", in which several thousand alleged and actual political opponents, including activists from the Communist and Social Democratic parties , but also German emigrants and numerous Jews , were arrested. A large number of Czech Jews were deported to the National Socialist concentration and extermination camps , including the Theresienstadt concentration camp set up in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia . Several places were destroyed as "atonement measures" for attacks by partisans , such as Lidice , Ležáky , Ploština and finally Javoříčko , whose civilian population was murdered.
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was incorporated into what was then the Greater German Reich , following a Führer decree of March 16, 1939, as immediate Reich territory . H. in the National Socialist conception it was an integral part of the German Reich. Czechoslovakia's approval of a protectorate treaty had previously been forced under threat of military force, contrary to international law . It was therefore an annexation that lasted until the German surrender on May 8, 1945. On the Czech side, it is also referred to as the "occupied Czech territory".
The ethnic German population immediately received Reich citizenship and was only subject to German jurisdiction , the non-Germans (Czechs and Jews, even if the latter were of German origin), on the other hand, were downgraded to Protectorate members with minor rights who were subject to local jurisdiction. Hitler declared that the protectorate of the German Reich "governs itself, but in accordance with the political, military and economic interests of the Reich".
Formally, the protectorate thus had the right to self-administration and its own limited legislature . Even a separate armed force called the “ Government Troop of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ” was founded, which, although not integrated into the command structure of the Wehrmacht, was monitored by a German liaison staff. The previous President Hácha also remained in office as the nominal "head of the autonomous administration". But all measures of the Czech Protectorate Government could be repealed by the German Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia , who was directly subordinate to Hitler, and all laws, administrative measures or court judgments could be suspended. Actual power was not exercised by the first Reich Protector, Konstantin von Neurath , but by SS officials such as the Chief of Police and later Minister of State Karl Hermann Frank , who had been in office since September 1941, and the Deputy Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, who had been in office since September 1941 . The Czech protectorate government remained limited to limited self-government under German orders, so that the “protectorate” was a “weakly concealed area of occupation”, the establishment of which marked the beginning of the National Socialist expansion and occupation policy .
With the establishment of the Protectorate in March 1939, all political parties were banned and replaced by the "National Community" ( Národní souručenství ) as the only authorized unity party. It was led by a praesidium (Výbor národního shromáždění) until 1942 , then by a leader (Vůdce) .
"State President" (Státní Prezident) under German sovereignty from 1939 to 1945 was the previous Czechoslovakian President Emil Hácha (1872–1945), who was in office from November 1938, Prime Minister initially Rudolf Beran ( Rudolf Beran II government ), who was in office from December 1, 1938 . He was replaced by Alois Eliáš on April 27, 1939 ( Alois Eliáš government ). Eliáš was arrested shortly after Heydrich's appointment and sentenced to death on October 2, 1941 for " high treason and treason " - he was in contact with the Czechoslovak government in exile under Edvard Beneš in British exile. After Heydrich succumbed to the consequences of an assassination attempt, the sentence was carried out by shooting on June 19, 1942 as part of retaliatory measures . From January 19, 1942, Jaroslav Krejčí led the government. The last head of government from January to May 1945 was the former Prague police chief Richard Bienert . He was arrested on the radio on May 5, 1945 when he was about to officially announce the end of the Protectorate during the Prague Uprising. Bienert was sentenced to three years in prison, released in May 1947 and died on February 2, 1949.
The Czech government in the Reich Protectorate consisted of the Prime Minister (Předseda vlády) and the Ministers for Internal Affairs and Justice as well as other members with departments for education, finance, health, trade, agriculture and public works. Responsibilities for foreign policy and defense were reserved for the occupying power. The former Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, František Chvalkovský , became Minister without Portfolio and Permanent Representative of the Protectorate in the Reich capital Berlin .
The other politicians of the Protectorate included a .:
- Alois Eliáš (1890–1942, Prime Minister from 1939 to 1941), a former Czechoslovak general who was arrested by the Germans in 1941 and executed in 1942 on charges of secret contacts with the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
- Ladislav Karel Feierabend (Minister of Agriculture from 1939 to 1940), Minister of the London government in exile from 1940 after his escape from the Protectorate
- Jiří Havelka (Minister of Transport from 1939 to 1941)
- Josef Ježek (Minister of the Interior from 1939 to 1942)
- Jan Kapras (Minister of Education from 1939 to 1942)
- Josef Kalfus (1880–1955, Minister of Finance from 1939 to 1945)
- Josef Nebeský (party leader of the National Union from 1939 to 1941)
- Josef Fousek (1875–1942, party leader of the National Union from 1941 to 1942)
- Jaroslav Krejčí (1892–1956, Minister of Justice from 1939 to 1945, Prime Minister from 1942 to 1945)
- Jindřich Kamenický (Minister of Transport from 1941 to 1945)
- Walter Bertsch (Minister of Economic Affairs from 1942 to 1945)
- Richard Bienert (1881–1949, Minister of the Interior from 1942 to 1945, Prime Minister 1945)
- Adolf Hrubý (1893–1951, Minister of Agriculture from 1942 to 1945)
- Tomáš Krejčí (leader of the National Union from 1942 to 1945)
- Emanuel Moravec (Minister of Education from 1942 to 1945)
As the direct representative of Hitler , the Reich Protector took over the interests of the German Reich vis-à-vis the Protectorate Government and thus the actual power of government in the Reich Protectorate . However, his extraordinary official position lost importance over time:
- March 16, 1939 to August 20, 1943 Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath , former Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs and Reich Minister without portfolio until 1943. Von Neurath took up his post on April 5, 1939 and was on leave on September 27, 1941 - officially “for health reasons”.
- September 27, 1941 to May 30, 1942 Reinhard Heydrich , at the same time still head of the RSHA , who as Neurath's deputy was entrusted with the management of the business and given all the powers of the Reich Protector
- May 31, 1942 to August 20, 1943 Kurt Daluege , also head of the Ordnungspolizei in the Reich Ministry of the Interior (after the assassination attempt on Heydrich, who died on June 4, 1942, also Deputy Reich Protector )
- August 20, 1943 to May 5, 1945 Wilhelm Frick , former Reich Minister of the Interior
As Head of the Protectorate Administration, he was State Secretary to the Reich Protector and (from 1943) German State Minister for Bohemia and Moravia :
- 1939–1945: Karl Hermann Frank, also Higher SS and Police Leader in the Protectorate
The protectorate area formed the military district of Bohemia and Moravia (Prague) , whose commander was stationed with staff in Prague; this was subject to the division z. b. V. 539 in Prague (for Bohemia) and division z. b. V. 540 in Brno (for Moravia), as well as the command offices in Prague, Pilsen and Brno, as well as the "German Liaison Staff in the Government Force of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ". The Wehrkreisbefehlshaber (Army) was also the Wehrmacht Plenipotentiary at the Reich Protector.
Wehrmacht plenipotentiary at the Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia
and commander in the military district of Bohemia and Moravia:
- General of the Infantry Erich Friderici (April 1, 1939 to October 31, 1941)
- General of the Infantry Rudolf Toussaint (November 1, 1941 to August 31, 1943)
- General of the Panzer Troop Ferdinand Schaal (September 1, 1943 to July 26, 1944)
- General of the Infantry Rudolf Toussaint (July 26, 1944 to May 7, 1945)
Administrative structure and inhabitants
The territory of the Protectorate was reorganized into 35 Upper District Districts - 23 in Bohemia ( země Česká ) and twelve in Moravia ( země Moravská ). The Oberlandrat was the lower level of German local government in the Protectorate. After the " smashing of the rest of the Czech Republic ", their posts had initially been provisionally set up by the heads of the civil administrations as branches of the Reich Protector. From September 1, 1939, they were finally considered the lowest (German-occupied) level of Reich administration in the Protectorate. Each Oberlandrat district comprised several political districts in which the superior was active as a control and administrative body for the city and district authorities. In the course of time, German and Czech collaborators were appointed heads of several district offices and large cities, which is why the direct supervision of their administrative activities by the regional councils was no longer necessary. Since the number of their tasks decreased, some districts were merged: In 1940 Bohemia was still divided into twelve districts and Moravia into seven districts, in 1941 there were ten districts in Bohemia and five districts in Moravia.
As of June 15, 1942, many tasks and powers of the Reich administration in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia were transferred to the authorities of the autonomous administration in Bohemia and Moravia as the Reich Administration, d. H. transferred to statutory cities , political districts, police departments, etc. All of these Czech authorities now had German management or a German department, so that German authorities could now “rule through” up to the district level (e.g. at the end of 1942: of the 23 political districts of Moravia, only five had Czech district captains). The regional councilors continued to exist, but only as a mere supervisory authority. Therefore their number was drastically reduced: four in Bohemia and three in Moravia. The number of district authorities has also been reduced.
The area of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia had around 7,380,000 inhabitants in 1940, of which around 225,000 were Germans (3.3%).
|Upper District District (as of 1940)||Area (km²)||Inhabitants (1930)||Political districts (as of 1939–1942)|
|Brno||2,987||615.979||Provincial capital Brno , Brno (Land) , Gaya , Göding , Tischnowitz|
|Iglau||4,504||337,958||Datschitz , Groß-Meseritsch , Iglau , Mährisch-Budwitz , Neustadtl , Trebitsch|
|Moravian-Ostrava||990||308.871||Friedberg , Friedeck , Mährisch-Ostrau|
|Olomouc||1,323||264,444||Mährisch-Weißkirchen , Olomouc City, Olomouc Country, Prerau|
|Prossnitz||1,903||242,521||Boskowitz , Littau , Proßnitz|
|Kremsier||2,349||276.108||Holleschau , Kremsier , Wallachisch-Meseritsch , Wischau|
|Zlin||2,696||353,400 (1940)||Hungarian Brod , Hungarian Hradisch , Wsetin , Zlín|
After the occupation of the country, legal traffic was introduced on March 17, 1939 (in Prague on March 26, 1939) by a decree of the Commander-in-Chief (in the occupied Sudetenland as early as October 1938). However, it was only a question of a somewhat premature implementation of the plans of the Czechoslovak government before the occupation, as they were already provided for on May 1, 1939 in accordance with the international treaties in Law 275/1938.
The Protectorate had its own state railway, the Českomoravské dráhy - Protectorate Railways Bohemia and Moravia (ČMD-BMB), which was created by the division of the Czechoslovak State Railways (ČSD). It remained independent during the entire protectorate period, and it was not integrated into the organizational structures of the Deutsche Reichsbahn .
The Bohemian-Moravian national football team played three international matches in 1939.
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- Literature from and about the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in the catalog of the German National Library
- Maps of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on www.fronta.cz
- The Protectorate Governments , contribution of the Czech Radio on design.radio.cz
- The "Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia" on LeMO
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- The protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The German-Czech unification of March 15, 1939 , decree of the Führer and Reich Chancellor on the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia of March 16, 1939 and the associated ordinance of March 22, 1939 , documents under international law, published in: Journal of Foreign Public Law and International Law , Vol. 9 (1939), pp. 506-510 (digitized at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law )
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- Article on Radio Prague (February 12, 2005)
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- See Lenka Adámková, "... terribly strange, yet attractive" ( Škvorecký ). On the image of the Red Army soldier in selected texts from Czech and (East) German literature after 1945. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-631-61326-9 , p. 22 ff .; see. also Rainer Karlsch , Zbynek Zeman, primal secrets. The Erzgebirge in the focus of world politics 1933-1960 , 2nd edition, Ch. Links, Berlin 2003, pp. 71 , 107 .
- See Heiner Timmermann , Emil Voráček, Rüdiger Kipke (eds.): The Beneš decrees. Post-war order or ethnic cleansing: can Europe provide an answer? (= Documents and writings of the European Academy Otzenhausen; vol. 108), Lit Verlag, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-8258-8494-5 , p. 145 .
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- Decree of the Führer and Reich Chancellor on the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia of March 16, 1939 , RGBl. 1939 I, p. 485 ff.
- Daniel-Erasmus Khan , Die deutscher Staatsgrenzen , Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2004, p. 91 ; see. Andreas von Arnauld , Völkerrecht , CF Müller, Heidelberg 2012, p. 34 . Characterizing its international isolation, Czech historians described the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia" as an area "in the belly of the empire", quoted in at Jaroslava Milotová, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia: Resistance in the occupied Czech territory 1939–1945 , in: Gerd R. Ueberschär (Ed.): Handbook on Resistance to National Socialism and Fascism in Europe 1933/39 to 1945 , Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2011, pp. 157–166, here p. 159 .
- Andreas von Arnauld: Völkerrecht , CF Müller, Heidelberg 2012, p. 34.
- Jaroslava Milotová: Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia: Resistance in the occupied Czech territory. In: Gerd R. Ueberschär: Handbook on Resistance to National Socialism and Fascism in Europe 1933/39 to 1945. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2011, p. 157.
- Wolf Gruner : The persecution of the Jews in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Local initiatives, central decisions, Jewish answers 1939–1945 . Wallstein, Göttingen 2016, pp. 14 , 46.
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- Instruction of May 12, 1939, printed in Nazi press instructions from the pre-war period. Edition and documentation , ed. by Hans Bohrmann, edited by Karen Peter, Vol. 7 / I: 1939, Munich 2001, Doc. 1454, p. 461 .
- Volker Zimmermann: 1939. The National Socialist 'reorganization'. In: Detlef Brandes et al. (Ed.): Turning points in the relations between Germans, Czechs and Slovaks 1848–1989 . Klartext, Essen 2007, p. 186.
- CoJeCo , online encyclopedia, keyword “Národní souručenství” ( online ; Czech), accessed on February 17, 2018.
Ordinance on the decree of the Führer and Reich Chancellor on the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia of March 22, 1939 (RGBl. 1939 I p. 549): "§ 1 (1) The Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia is the sole representative of the Führer and Reich Chancellor and the Reich government in the Protectorate. ”
In the first few years he had extensive legislative and executive powers before the latter passed to the German Minister of State. See René Küpper, Karl Hermann Frank (1898–1946). Political biography of a Sudeten German National Socialist , Oldenbourg, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-486-59639-7 , p. 313 f.
- Leader's decree on the "German Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia" of August 20, 1943.
- Zdeňka Hledíková, Jan Janák, Jan Dobeš: Dějiny správy v českých zemích. Od počátků státu po současnost , Prague 2007, ISBN 978-80-7106-906-5 , pp. 406–408.
- RGBl. I 1939, p. 1681 .
- Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (territorial.de)
- Dislokace Schutzpolizei v protektorátu v roce 1941 (Fronta.cz)
- See Herbert Neumann (District Administrator) .
- Zákon 275/1938 Sb. a n. (Law 275/1938), text (Czech) online on www.epravo.cz .
- history s úsměvnými paragrafy ; Hugo Theisinger, The Sudeten Germans. Origin, the time under Konrad Henlein and Adolf Hitler, expulsion. A contribution to Sudeten German history. Obermayer, Buchloe 1987, ISBN 3-9800919-1-0 , p. 257.