Historický ústav akademie věd České republiky, v. v. i.

MODERNÍ DĚJINY
roč. 28, 2020, č. 1



OBSAH • CONTENT


TEMATICKÝ BLOK • THEMATIC BLOCK

Československo, západní velmoci, Sovětský svaz a mnichovská dohoda v roce 1938
Jan Němeček
[Czechoslovakia, the Western Powers, the Soviet Union and the Munich Agreement in 1938]
s. 1-4

Александр Олегович NАУМОВ
СССР как системный игрок накануне Второй мировой войны
[The USSR as a system player on the eve of World War II]
s. 5-21

Jan NĚMEČEK
Československo a diplomacie Sovětského svazu v zářijové krizi 1938
[Czechoslovakia and the diplomacy of the Soviet Union in the September crisis of 1938]
s. 23-60

Jozef  BYSTRICKÝ
Mníchovská kríza a Červená armáda
[Munich Crisis and the Red Army]
s. 61-83

Marián MANÁK
The Journey to the Munich Agreement Seen through the Messages of the U.S. Ambassador to France, William Ch. Bullitt
s. 85-101
 
Zlatica ZUDOVÁ - LEŠKOVÁ
Slovenská otázka pred Mníchovom do Druhej republiky
[The Issue of Slovakia before Munich until the Second Republic]
s. 103-116

Eva IRMANOVÁ
Vídeňská arbitráž a Československo v roce 1938
[Vienna Arbitration and Czechoslovakia in 1938]
s. 117-131
 
Jindřich DEJMEK
Diplomacie komunistického Československa a definitivní zneplatnění Mnichovské dohody (1948–1973/74)
[Diplomacy of Communist Czechoslovakia and Definitive Nullity of the Munich Agreement (1948–1973/74)]
s. 133-158



STUDIE • STUDIES

Marek VAŠUT
Babylon Istanbul. Československá zpravodajská expozitura v Turecku ve světle pracovní cesty Františka Fryče
[Babylon Istanbul. Czechoslovak Intelligence Branch in Turkey in the Light of Frantisek Fryč’s Business Trip]
s. 159-183

Jan ZUMR
Organizační struktura personálního, hospodářského a „konfiskačního“ oddělení pražského gestapa v období Protektorátu Čechy a Morava
[Organisational Structure of the Personnel, Economic and “Confiscation” Department of the Prague Gestapo]
s. 185-204

Klára MAUEROVÁ
Životní osudy SS-Obersturmführera Ernsta Liedtkeho (1913–1948), vedoucího venkovní služebny SD v Olomouci
[The fate of SS-Obersturmführe Ernst Liedtke (1913–1948), Head of the Rural SD Station in Olomouc]
s. 205-232

Květa MERUNKOVÁ
Dr. Maximilian Girth (1910‒1971), vládní komisař a starosta města Prostějov v období Protektorátu Čechy a Morava
[Dr Maximilian Girth (1910‒1971), Government Commissioner and Mayor of the Town of Prostějov During the Period of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia]
s. 233-247

Zdeněk DOSKOČIL
Vězeň v žaláři, vězeň na svobodě – Ladislav Novomeský na rozhraní éry stalinismu a poststalinismu
[Prisoner in Prison, Prisoner Freed – Ladislav Novomeský at the Turn of the Stalinist and post-Stalinist Periods]
s. 249-306



MATERIÁLY •  MATERIALS

Milan HLAVAČKA
Graf Egbert Belcredi und das „Mobilmachung des mährischen Landesvolkes
[Count Egbert Belcredi and the „mobilization“ of the Moravian people]
s. 307-314



KRONIKA • CHRONICLE

Prof. PhDr. Jan Křen, DrSc. (22. srpna 1930 – 7. dubna 2020)
(Jindřich Dejmek)
s. 315-326

100 let od přijetí Ústavní listiny Československé republiky Historické, politické a právní souvislosti
[100 years since the adoption of the Constitutional Charter of the Czechoslovak Republic. Historical, Political and Legal Context]
(Tereza Blažková – Lukáš Blažek)
s. 327-329



RECENZE • REVIEWS

Jaroslav HRDLIČKA – Jan Blahoslav LÁŠEK, (eds.), Paměti Vlastimila Kybala, II. díl, Chomutov: Luboš Marek, 2020, 824 s.
ISBN 978-80-87127-55-1
(Marek Šmíd)
s. 331-334
                                                                                            
Filip VOJTÁŠEK, Pod palbou hloubkařů. Útoky amerických a britských stíhacích letounů na pozemní cíle v českých zemích v letech 1944 a 1945, Praha, Academia 2019, 952 s.
ISBN 978-80-200-2978-2
(Martin Dolejský)
s. 334-335

Zdeněk KMENT, Valašsko v područí hákového kříže, Valašské Meziříčí: H.R.G. spol. s.r.o, 2018, 359 s.
ISBN 978-80-270-2214-4
(Viktor Janák)
s. 335-338



SUMMARY

Czechoslovakia, the Western Powers, the Soviet Union and the Munich Agreement in 1938
Jan Němeček

After more than 80 years , the question of whether the Soviet Union was ready to help Czechoslovakia in the critical months of the autumn of 1938, when, as a result of Nazi Germany's aggressive policy, it was the existence or non-existence of the Czechoslovak state , still raises controversy among Czech, Slovak and foreign historians . There are a number of hypotheses about the Soviet Union's relationship with Czechoslovakia. Why? Because the missing documents gave wide scope for speculation about the Soviet power policy towards the Czechoslovak state. Therefore, it is necessary to welcome the trend of recent years to make available Soviet documents from the period, which are in the archives of the Russian Federation. This trend allows historians to verify some unsubstantiated hypotheses. The set of studies brings an attempt at a broader view of the Munich Agreement on Czechoslovakia in the fateful days of 1938. This agreement still raises a number of questions, including in terms of Czechoslovakia's efforts to liquidate it, an effort that found results in World War II in the form of condemning Munich initially by France and Italy, to a lesser extent by the United Kingdom, and then by many years of complicated negotiations on a German position on this agreement.  


Alexandr O. NAUMOV
The USSR as a system player on the eve of World War II

The most promising concept for peacekeeping in Europe in the 1930s seemed to be a system of collective security that included the main powers of the continent. However, such a combination was not in the plans of countries seeking to revise the European status quo - Italy and especially Germany. Until the mid-1930s, the USSR was also a supporter of collective security. In the second half of the 1930s, Moscow saw an opportunity to strengthen its geopolitical position by integrating into the Versailles system, whose main symbol was the League of Nations and the concept of collective security based on its charter.   When Soviet leaders realized the futility of the idea of a world revolution, they were free to continue the unprecedented social experiment of building communism in a single country only under conditions of relative calm at its borders. When it became clear that the idea of collective security had collapsed, Moscow was forced to adapt to new geopolitical conditions. In fact, as a result of the conclusion of the Munich Agreement, the European balance of power has changed dramatically, bringing the beginning of world war closer. After the occupation of Austria and subsequently the border areas of Czechoslovakia, Germany strengthened its position in Central Europe and gained the best opportunities for further expansion on the continent. Small European countries with great geopolitical ambitions, Poland and Hungary, also joined the division of Czechoslovakia. The European international security architecture has been completely destroyed. The League of Nations, the original guarantor of European peace, has resigned from important political decisions in international affairs. France's "Eastern Alliances" with small European countries were destroyed. The Little Entente ceased to exist. The Balkan Entente has lost its former influence. The Franco-Soviet mutual assistance pact was completely invalidated. The system of collective security in Europe no longer existed. Following the Munich Agreement, each country preferred to seek to protect its sovereignty and security on its own, without relying on the support of other countries. During the Czechoslovak crisis, Britain and France decided to leave Central Europe to Germany for an illusory chance of maintaining peace, hoping to direct German aggression east against the USSR.
The geostrategic positions of Western democracies have deteriorated significantly, especially the position of France, which has become dependent on the United Kingdom. Germany also had a better opportunity for future expansion against the United France and Great Britain in 1940. In addition, Moscow understood that an alternative to the Soviet-German pact could only be an Anglo-German agreement at the expense of the USSR, which would inevitably lead to a common "united Europe" against the Soviet state and, as a result, to a devastating war. This is what London hoped for; however, the hopes of British politicians were not destined to be realized. In the capitals of Western democracies, as later in the Kremlin, Hitler's irrationalism was clearly underestimated. The German dictator's plans for 1939 did not include a new "Munich" with the West. The Nazi leader sought "Munich" with the East, but only to betray the newly acquired ally after two years. But in the summer of 1939, Hitler and Stalin simply overlooked old Chamberlain, who hoped for a German-Soviet war, as did Stalin in a war between Germany and Western democracies. At the same time, the Soviet-German Pact of August 23, 1939 and the subsequent agreement of September 28, 1939 is an extremely rare case in the history of international relations, when only one party - the USSR - managed to achieve territorial and temporal gains. London, Paris and Warsaw did not take into account the most important historical lesson, when attempts to build a new balance of power on an anti-Russian basis inevitably led to its disintegration. In other words, the geopolitical axiom is such that if Moscow is isolated from a systemic mechanism, such a model of international relations is doomed to destruction. This is exactly what happened with the Order of Versailles in 1939. And it led to the beginning of the most terrible war in human history.     


Jan NĚMEČEK
Czechoslovakia and the diplomacy of the Soviet Union in the September crisis of 1938

The question of Soviet aid to Czechoslovakia in the critical months of the autumn of 1938, when, as a result of aggressive German policy, the existence or non-existence of the Czechoslovak state was still largely unknown . Even after more than 80 years, it causes controversy among Czech and foreign historians. Given that the fate of Czechoslovakia was fulfilled by the Munich Agreement, signed by representatives of Germany, Italy, Great Britain and France on September 30, 1938 without Soviet participation, the issue of Soviet aid remains largely hypothetical. It is certain that the Czechoslovak government relied to a large extent on the Czechoslovak-Soviet treaty of 1935, which under Article 2 promised to provide immediate assistance and support, albeit bound to the Czechoslovak-French agreement and limited under Article 2 of the Signatory Protocol to the situation. „If the victim of the attack will be provided assistance from France“.  Soviet aid was thus considered to accompany the French and was therefore not prepared as a stand-alone. However, this proved to be a problem at a time when French support was relativized and when Czechoslovakia was looking for an alternative to a concrete application of the tripartite pact in the September 1938 crisis. The USSR and both Poland and Romania rejected any possibility of transferring Soviet aid to Czechoslovakia through their territories, both by land and air. The Soviet Union maintained a rather reserved position in relation to Czechoslovakia. After the March Anschluss of Austria, Czechoslovakia found itself in a critical situation, surrounded on all sides, almost along the entire length of the border, with the exception of a short section of the Czechoslovak-Romanian border, by countries hostile to the Czechoslovak state. Concrete steps taken by Soviet diplomacy against the Czechoslovak crisis in the autumn of 1938, whether it was confirming the Soviet commitment to help Czechoslovakia in the spirit of the signed treaty of 1935, or diplomatic démarches to Poland, the Czechoslovak state at diplomatic level in critical moments of September 1938 supported. It is clear from the Soviet diplomatic statements before Munich that in the event of an attack, the Soviet party referred Czechoslovakia to the League of Nations, which would declare Germany an attacker. If we are to summarize the Soviet position, perhaps the most apt word is caution. That is, the effort to keep a face to the world public on the one hand and not to be unilaterally involved in a European war in which the Soviet Union would remain alone without direct military cooperation with the West.          


Jozef  BYSTRICKÝ
Munich Crisis and the Red Army

In the period between World War I and World War II, one of the pillars of plans to defend Czechoslovakia became the agreements on mutual cooperation signed between Czechoslovakia and France (January 21, 1924) and Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union (May 16, 1935). After the German annexation of Austria and the imposition of German demands for the withdrawal of the Czechoslovak border areas, the practical fulfillment of the obligations of the contracting parties to which they committed themselves in them became highly topical . Already in connection with the crisis of May 1938, it turned out that not every party is determined to fulfill them. The fact that Czechoslovakia found itself in a situation threatening to attack Germany is in order to ensure its common defense, required the timely coordination of the plans and activities of the armies of the Contracting Parties. Therefore, since mid-April 1938, the Soviet Union has repeatedly proposed that negotiations between the general staffs of the French, Czechoslovak and Soviet armies take place. However, France, as the main guarantor of Czechoslovakia's security, did not show interest in such preparations for the defense of Czechoslovakia and eventually withdrew from its obligations to Czechoslovakia. Under the influence of the French position, Czechoslovakia did not even engage in separate negotiations at the level of the General Staffs of the Czechoslovak and Soviet armies. This was reflected in the military preparations of the Soviet Union in September 1938, carried out to help Czechoslovakia in the form of a military protest against the German-Polish coalition. These stemmed from the decisions of the Red Army General Staff in the early decade of September 1983, to declare combat readiness to the troops of the Western Border Military Districts and to deploy the Kiev Special and Belarusian Special Forces' operational groups into the boarding areas set by the March Red Army Deployment Plan. 1938. The last organizational measure aimed at strengthening the troops put on alert in connection with the Munich crisis was issued by the People's Defense Commissioner K. J. Voroshilov on September 29, 1938, the day the conference of four Western European powers began in Munich, ending with the signing of a resignation agreement. Czechoslovak border territories to Germany. By the end of September 1938, as a result of measures taken from 21 September 1938 to increase the combat capabilities of troops stationed at the western and southwestern borders of the Soviet Union, 328,762 people were recruited from the reserve (including 34,607 members of the command corps and political apparatus), 27 550 horses, 4,208 cars and 551 tractors. The Kiev Special Circuit (closest to the borders of Czechoslovakia) was strengthened most significantly , to which 108,528 reservists had been called up by the beginning of October 1938 . Of the total number of 18,664 tanks and 2,741 armored vehicles in the Red Army's armament, 3,644 tanks and 249 armored vehicles were concentrated in the Kiev Special Circuit troops, and 3,609 tanks and 294 armored vehicles were concentrated in the Belarusian Special Circuit troops . In addition to the troops extended to the western and southwestern borders of the Soviet Union, the troops of the second line, which consisted of 30 rifle and 6 cavalry divisions, 2 tank corps headquarters, 15 separate tank brigades and 34 air bases, were also put on alert . The actions of the French and British governments against Czechoslovakia and Germany, beginning in May 1938, made it impossible for the Czechoslovak Republic to defend themselves jointly, leading the President, the government and top military officials to consider the possibility of waging war only with the help of the Soviet Union. But even during the May crisis, it was evident that this variant of the republic's defense was not realistic. After the adoption of the Munich dictatorship by the Czechoslovak government, the Soviet government from 17 October 1938 proceeded to the gradual abolition of large-scale military measures carried out in the Red Army in connection with Czechoslovakia.


Marián MANÁK
The Path to the Munich Agreement from the Viewpoint of Reports by William Ch. Bullit, the American Ambassador to France

In 1938 the Czechoslovak Republic became the focus of interests in political and diplomatic circles and also the focus of worldwide public opinion. The reason for this was the escalating issue of the formal standing of the German population in the Czechoslovak Republic. During this tense period, mutual contact between diplomats reached an extraordinary frequency, because envoys and ambassadors of individual countries endeavoured to acquire the most up-to-date information from presidents, prime ministers and ministers in the regions of their accreditation. One such active diplomat was the USA Ambassador to France, William C. Bullit. Bullit acquired more detailed information about worsening relations between Berlin and Prague mainly from the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Georges Bonet, who discussed the most recent reports from French diplomats abroad with him, or more precisely passed on information from ambassadors of other countries in Paris, who regularly met with Bonnet. Other sources of his information about the Sudeten Crisis were also the French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier and Czechoslovak Ambassador to France Štefan Osuský.


Zlatica ZUDOVÁ - LEŠKOVÁ
The Issue of Slovakia before Munich until the Second Republic

Throughout the entire period of the existence of the First Republic, autonomist political and cultural-social subjects in Slovakia in particular insisted that resolution, and therefore constitutional modification of the status of Slovakia within the state, would result in improvement of Czech-Slovak relations. However, when this occurred after nearly two decades, the expected result was not achieved. Not even achievement of constitutional autonomy on 6 October 1938 (or 22 November 1938) fulfilled the ambitions of representatives of Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Republic, led by Josef Tis, Karol Sidor and Martin Sokol, who made it no secret that they had their own idea of a resolution, and thefore victory over the issue of Slovakia, whereas they chiefly expected more favourable internal political consequences with broader, even international, impact. Achievement of these requirements was intended to result in declaration of Slovakia’s own political identity, own constitutional standing and national territorial integrity. This should have created conditions that would allow these facts to be respected, or taken into consideration in the case of territorial changes in the Central European space. These words declared shortly after autonomy was achieved show that fulfilment of the Pittsburgh Agreement was not the main objective of Slovak autonomists during the crisis year of European democracy. It was simply intended to open the way to an independent state under the patronage  - of who else – Nazi Germany. We must also mention that, in 1938 and 1939 relations between Czechs and Slovaks fell to their lowest point throughout the existence of Czechoslovak statehood.


Eva IRMANOVÁ
Vienna Arbitration and Czechoslovakia in 1938

The Czechoslovak crisis in May 1938 also had a negative impact on Czechoslovak-Hungarian relations and stopped the promising development of contacts leading to settlement of mutual relations. In the middle of 1938 Hungary was very carefully considering all the risks of the war in which it would become involved. Hitler recommended a military alliance against Czechoslovakia to Hungary and repeated his pledge that Hungary would acquire Slovakia in return for this alliance. However, Hungarian politicians repeatedly argued that they would be unable to take part in such a risky enterprise because the Hungarian armed forces were not prepared and they would also be unable to take any action until they were certain that Yugoslavia would remain neutral. During events leading to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, i.e. nearly constantly from autumn 1938 until spring 1939, Hungarian foreign policy endeavoured to keep step with Germany. Hungarian leaders were concerned that Germany would respond to their cautiousness by neglecting the Hungarian issue completely in the planned new arrangement of Central Europe. The report of convention of a conference in Munich was therefore received with joy in Budapest, because the great powers that attended it promised to support settlement of the Hungarian issue. However, the Munich conference failed to resolve the Hungarian issue, even though it created conditions for partial fulfilment of Hungarian demands against Czechoslovakia, and resulted in the Treaty of Versailles actually becoming void, which gave hope that the Treaty of Trianon would also be amended. After the Munich Agreement, Hungary began to make more demands against its northern neighbour. Official Hungarian demands could only apply to territories with a Hungarian population within the meaning of the Munich Agreement, which was based on the ethnic principle. The arbitration took place on 2 November 1938 in Vienna. Axis Ministers of Foreign Affairs– Ciano and Ribbentrop – informed the Hungarian and Czechoslovak representatives of the arbitration ruling, within the terms of which Czechoslovakia ceded a territory of an area of around 10,400 square kilometres with a population of just under 860,000 to Hungary, of which more than 504,000 identified as Hungarian nationals (according to Hungarian statistics nearly 506,000), and more than 272,000 identified as Czech or Slovak nationals. Of the five disputed towns, Košice, Užhorod and Mukačeov were ceded to Hungary and Nitra and Bratislava remained part of Czechoslovakia. Hungary’s annexation of part of the territory of Slovakia and Transcarpathia with a Hungarian population on the basis of the Vienna Arbitration was considered the first great success of the territorial revision policy in Hungarian public opinion. 


Jindřich DEJMEK
Diplomacy of Communist Czechoslovakia and Definitive Nullity of the Munich Agreement (1948 – 1973/74)

throughout the entire existence of the regime, the foreign policy of Communist Czechoslovakia was linked to the foreign policy of the USSR, which it copied, supported and potentially developed until roughly 1987 – 1988, but at a different intensity. And secondly, in specific relationship to the policy of the Third Republic, Prague communist diplomacy focused not only on confirmation of the legal (and naturally the political) invalidity of the Munich Agreement and its consequences, but, in on a broader scale, on the definitive international-legal acknowledgement of the status quo, created – simply said  - as a result of the Potsdam Agreement. This is why, especially in relation to the Federal Republic of Germany, the issue of confirmation of the nullity of Munich and its consequences was also linked, from the very beginning, to enforcement of full international-legal acknowledgment of the borders with Poland on the Odra and Nisa rivers (as we know, the governments in Bonn denied this until the turn of the sixties and seventies) and also to confirmation of the existence of the German Democratic Republic as the second legitimate German state. All these aspects were reflected not only in relations between Prague and East Berlin, but particularly with Bonn, and also co-created an important component of relationships between Czechoslovakia and some other communist states, particularly Poland and also some West European powers, particularly France and Great Britain. The path to “dis-acknowledgement” of the Munich Agreement by the heir of its last signatory, i.e. the Bonn government, was therefore not only relatively long, whereas it was protracted to nearly quarter of a century from the time of establishment of the Federal Republic, but also had an East and West European dimension. Brandt’s historic visit to Prague and his signature of the so-called Treaty of Prague on 11 December 1973, was the culmination of the last phase of a thirty-year battle by Czechoslovak diplomacy for legal liquidation of a contract that predetermined destruction of the first modern Czechoslovak state. Even though Czechoslovak diplomacy failed to insert its own legal viewpoint of this agreement into this contract fully, the contract was indisputably a success and created at least theoretical conditions for establishment of future correct relations between both neighbours. Relations, if we paraphrase the speech by W. Brandt at Prague Castle, focusing chiefly on the future. The resistance of organisations representing expelled Germans, and some members of the West German right-wing during its ratification the next year, failed to change anything. Sudeten associations insisted on the alleged validity of the Munich Agreement for the next thirty years, whereas they derived their claims against Czechoslovakia, and against the Czech Republic after dissolution of Czechoslovakia, on this controversial legal basis. However, the Munich Agreement did not become the subject of serious international negotiations between Prague and Bonn at the beginning of the nineteen nineties.


Marek VAŠUT
Babylon Istanbul. Czechoslovak Intelligence Branch in Turkey in the Light of Frantisek Fryč’s Business Trip

From the beginning of the war the south-east area of Europe played a very important role from the aspect of organisation, transit and intelligence for the Czechoslovak resistance. although the scope of the Czechoslovak resistance in this region was supressed following occupation of the Balkan states, it remained quite important. The unofficial but intentional presence of Czechoslovak intelligence officers afforded the opportunity to establish official relations with Turkey in the future much more quickly and easily, which is also what happened in September 1944. Unofficial contact often decided on the future success or failure of subsequent official contact. These are all basic diplomatic rules, which applied not just during the Second World War. Thanks to František Fryč, many problems were successfully resolved, particularly financial issues, which complicated intelligence activities in Turkey. The Czechoslovak intelligence group in Istanbul must be evaluated taking into consideration the outlined limits, potential and its overall standing. In practice it was completely dependant on the Brits and formed a sort of special British branch in this region. In several cases information issues between the London headquarters and the intelligence branches arose, which resulted in a loss of overall efficiency. It is evident that headquarters had a fairly distorted image of the situation in several aspects, which logically reduced effective command from the highest ranks. This is why the individual commanders played a crucial role and were responsible for the difference between success and failure. Intelligence work is also just the art of the possible and Czechoslovak intelligence officers essentially adhered to the classic motto: do what you can with what you have to hand, in the location you are. However, they stood the test within the terms of this simple military motto,, because intelligence work is also simply the art of the possible.


Jan ZUMR
Organisational Structure of the Personnel, Economic and “Confiscation” Department of the Prague Gestapo

The Prague Gestapo station was officially established by order of Reich Leader of the SS and commander of the security police Heinrich Himmler, dating from 5 May 1939, and several months later it was elevated to controlling office. It actually began its activities on 2 June 1939, immediately after the activities of the Prague security police operations department were terminated a day earlier. Just like any other Gestapo station, the Prague station was also structured according to the model of the Main Office of the Secret State Police (Geheimes Staatspolizeiamt, so-called Gestapo), subsequently according to the Reich Main Security Office (Reichsicherheitshauptamt, RSHA). There were three very different organisational structures of the economic and personnel departments over the six years of existence of the Prague Gestapo, of which one was only existed very briefly. Only one department administering this paperwork initially existed and then separate departments for administration and personnel matters were established in the second half of the war. There was also a “confiscation” department from 1941 to 1943. Although these departments were not parts of the Prague station with executive authority, their officials and employees were involved in massive theft from both the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of the protectorate. Some were subsequently deployed on the Eastern Front, where they were involved in the Nazi extermination policy.


Klára MAUEROVÁ
The fate of SS-Obersturmführe Ernst Liedtke (1913–1948), Head of the Rural SD Station in Olomouc

The main objective of this paper is to map the life of SS-Obersturmfuhere Ernst Liedtke (1913 – 1948), a member of the security service. This SS officer spent his entire career during the Second World War within the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He initially worked as an ordinary SD employee and gradually worked his way up to head of the rural SD office in Olomouc. This work analyses Liedtke’s fate, his career and also two post-war judicial processes directed against him within the terms of retributive justice. As a participant in court-martial processes in Olomouc and in Brno, Liedtke caused the death of over 37 people by appending his signature. Despite this, Liedtke was not sentenced to death during the first wave of retribution (1945 – 1947) but to life imprisonment. During the second wave of retribution (1948) his case was reopened and his sentence was altered to a death sentence. Ernst Liedtke was executed in Olomouc on 23rd April 1948.


Květa MERUNKOVÁ
Dr Maximilian Girth (1910‒1971), Government Commissioner and Mayor of the Town of Prostějov During the Period of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

The objective of this paper was to describe the life of Maximilian Girth, who represented a typical example of a Nazi regime clerk in many aspects. He was well aware of his abilities, which he was capable of utilising to his benefit when climbing the steps of the career ladder. His perfect knowledge of German and Czech and his origins as an ethnic German enabled him to be released from his position in the Reich Sudeten District and be transferred to the protectorate. Appointment of capable clerks from the Sudetenland was a frequent phenomenon and was intended to contribute to faster and more effective Germanisation. His previous experience working for Czechoslovak authorities, during which we demonstrated he was a capable employee, also helped Girth receive a good evaluation. In the position of government commissioner and subsequently mayor of the town of Prostějov Girth was distinguished by his unusual interest in Germanisation of the town, particularly from the cultural aspect.  He was also able to enjoy significant benefits thanks to his Nazi involvement and membership in the local elite communal administration. However, he was a very ambitious person, which a lot of people disproved of. According to preserved documents he was reproached for his self-centeredness and abuse of the personnel policy for his own benefit. Numerous accusations subsequently resulted in his downfall and dismissal from his position as mayor of the town of Prostějov, however, with regard to the nature of the archive sources utilise in this study, the accusations against his person cannot be certainly and demonstrably confirmed. The cause of his downfall could also have been his disagreements with representatives of the occupation policy. At the end of the war Maximilian Girth was arrested by the Americans and was subsequently released and de-Nazified. As a result he was able to carry out his vocation in the field of law and government administration once more, until his retirement at the beginning of the nineteen sixties. Maximilian Girth continues to afford quite a lot of opportunity for research, particularly on the basis of sources archived at the branch of the Federal Archived in Koblenz, which biographic research could expand upon in the future.


Zdeněk DOSKOČIL
Prisoner in Prison, Prisoner Freed – Ladislav Novomeský at the Turn of the Stalinist and post-Stalinist Periods

This paper is devoted to the fate of poet and member of the Slovak Communist Party, Ladislav Novomeský, in the middle of the nineteen fifties, while he was serving ten years in prison, to which he had been sentenced during a fabricated process with so-called Slovak bourgeoisie nationalists in April 1954. It describes the conditions under which the poet served his sentence in prisons of the People’s Democratic Republic (Pankrác, Leopoldov, Mírov) and also the circumstances of his conditional release in December 1955. In relation to the first wave of so-called de-Stalinisation in 1956, is describes the unsuccessful efforts of Slovak and Czech Communist intellectuals to rehabilitate Novomeský from the political civil and literary aspect. However, it devotes the greatest attention to clarification of the impact of imprisonment on the poet’s mental state, his worldview orientation and self-reflexion in life. It chiefly focuses on answering the question of why Novomeský, after his personal tragic experience and acquiring further knowledge about the broader context of the political processes in the nineteen fifties, did not refuse the Marxist-Lenin ideology. On the basis of analysis of a varied range of sources, this paper comes to the conclusion that personal reflection of official condemnation of the so-called cult of personality did not advance the poet’s basic worldview opinions. Novomeský remained fundamentally devoted to the transpersonal ideology of panhuman social justice even after 1956, and retained his idealistic communist convictions. He did not change his opinion of the basis of social movement and his own role within it, which he had adopted in his youth. His loyalty to the communist ideology remained of a creative, ideologically open nature even when he was older, it never grew into a stagnant, unthinking insistence on the rigid rules of the Marxist-Lenin dogma. Taught by his own cruel experience, he assumed a clearly negative attitude towards the ideological postulates and power play practice of the Stalinist era, which, however, did not achieve the level of systemic criticism of the state socialist regime. Novomeský did not question most of the political and social-economic measures implemented during the post-war and post-February period and limited himself to individually pillorying some negative traits of the communist government. However, he was able to recognize that, after it assumed power in February 1948, the authoritarian policy of the Communist Party was in evident conflict with the primary aspirations and needs of a considerable percentage of the population. This is why he considered the existing socialist model “false” and inauthentic. Repeated condemnation of Stalin’s crimes in the Soviet Union reinforced his trust, which had been eroded by his imprisonment, in the healthy core of the communist movement and in the meaningfulness of his further involvement as a member. He was given an opportunity in 1963 when he was officially rehabilitated civically and as a party member.


Milan HLAVAČKA
Count Egbert Belcredi and the „mobilization“ of the Moravian people

Egbert Belcredi associated the authentically conservative political and historical idea with a touch of eternal validity and constant uncertainty with educated members of the Czech and Moravian aristocracy. There were few such politicians. Their political practice rarely looked at the majority views and ideas in society. One such noblemen who was connected by an umbilical cord to the Habsburg monarchy, Catholic Moravia and conservatively-minded peers was Count Egbert Belcredi, who lived between 1816 and 1894, and left behind extensive diaries that were recently critically elaborated and published. Belcredi's diaries, on the one hand, radiate personal disappointment at the constant human failure, the ignorance of both the noble and the unborn peers, but on the other hand bring fundamental facts and reveal new contexts and incentives to address the completely cardinal issues of modern historical research. These include the integration of aristocracy into a post-revolutionary society, the real face of rural liberalism, and the emergence of a political public in the city, including the difficult political enforcement of the foundations of social policy.