Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 03:30:47 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Erebus <>
Subject: NEWS: Germany challenges results WWII
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/* Written 4:01 AM Apr 6, 1996 by peg:guardian in */
/* ---------- Germany challenges results WWII ---------- */
From: the guardian <>

Germany challenges results WW II

The Guardian (Australia), 3 April 1996

The government of German Chancellor Kohl has outraged progressive public opinion in the Czech Republic by openly espousing the cause of the former Sudeten Germans, in language eerily reminiscent of the Nazis.

Leading up to WW II, the German minority in the Czech border region of Sudetenland was used by Hitler to foment civil unrest as an excuse for German intervention in Czechoslovakia. Eventually, the Sudeten question became the pretext for the infamous Munich Agreement, by which the British and French Governments betrayed Czechoslovakia to the Nazis, encouraged Hitler and created the conditions for WW II.

After the War, the Potsdam Agreement between the victorious Allies (Britain, USA and USSR) provided for the removal of all Germans (except those with a proven anti-fascist record) from the Czech border regions to Germany itself.

This was a reaction to the complicity of the mass of Sudeten Germans in the crimes of the Nazis against the Czech people. It was also a preventative measure to forestall any future use of a national minority by an expansionist German government.

Now an emboldened German government has decided to reject the Potsdam decisions, on the amazing grounds that Germany was not a party to the Potsdam talks! (As the instigator of fascist aggression in Europe, Germany was obviously not party to the talks.)

German Foreign Minister Kinkel claims the Sudetens, now living in Bavaria, were unjustly expelled from what he called the Eastern Territories, an expression which sent a chill up the spines of Czechs who remember these same words being used by the Nazis.

Czech President Vaclav Havel, the anti-communist playwright president, is a noted Germanophile, and the government of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus is desperate to gain German support for its admission to the European Union.

The Czech and German governments have been holding talks on the Sudeten question for months, but details of the talks have been kept secret from the Czech people and subjected to a news blackout in the Czech Republic. Opposition parties have had to rely on German press reports and the BBC for news of what the

Czech government is doing!

According to the BBC, the Klaus government has made concession after concession in its efforts to gain favour with Bonn, agreeing to all the main Sudeten demands including abolition of the Benes decrees of 1945 implementing the Potsdam agreement, the right of Sudetens to reclaim their property in the Czech Republic with compensation, and granting protected status for the returnees as a national minority.

Rejection of the Potsdam Agreement has major implications for the whole of eastern Europe, whose borders were redrawn at Potsdam to prevent a future revival of German expansionism.

Former Havel associate and one-time Charter 77 dissident, Jiri Dienstbier, who was Czechoslovakia's first post-socialist foreign minister from 1989 to 1992, has sprung to the defence of Herr Kinkel and the Germans. Dienstbier actually twisted history around, referring to the 1945 transfer of the Sudeten Germans as ethnic cleansing.

Czech opposition parties have reacted angrily. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has demanded an end to the secrecy surrounding the Czech-German talks and to the unprincipled retreats of the Czech government in the face of the revanchist forces of the German Federal Republic.

The leader of the Czech Social Democrats, Milos Zeman, called on the Czech government to clearly, unambiguously and decisively condemn this fundamental shift in German policy, challenging the very results of WW II.