Source: http://www.valka.cz/clanek_14856.html Hello everyone, today, we will have a look at one topic that I was wondering about now for a while. The long article what you are about to read (if you choose so), deals with the question, how Czechoslovak soldiers regarded the Germans and Italians during WW2. The article came out on valka.cz and I remember reading it some time ago. At first, I thought about translating it, because it might be interesting for others than myself – and I did. After that however, I decided not publish it, since the topic (even though specifically concerning WW2) has little to do with tanks. Well, this decision lasted until today. The impulse, or perhaps the “last straw” for me was an article about the Sudeten Germans and Austrians denying the fact that Czechs were chased out from occupied nazi territories. Obviously, that’s a nonsense (although the proclamation was probably distorted by the journalists to sound more sensationalist than it was), but the cold hard truth is – there are deniers and revisionists amongst us. Those people, who want to depict the nazi regime as something “not that bad” (here, we can draw a parallel with the communist regimes in Europe – sadly, 20 years after the fall of communism, communist party is on the rise again). I think it’s very important to remember the past. Take this article as a part of that remembrance. Especially the personal memories and diary excerpts from people “who were there” are valuable. I hope you get to read it. - Silentstalker “The Picture of the Enemy” by PhDr. Ladislav Kudrna, PhD. National point of view Of all the nations in Europe, it was the Czech people, who had the dubious honor of being the first to feel the occupation might of the nazi regime. To be correct, we’d have to state that it was in fact Austria, who was the first, being “attached” (SS: “Anschluss”) by the Third Reich a year earlier than Czech lands. But it is prudent to also state that the vast majority of Austrians hysterically welcomed their beloved Führer with open arms, just like the German people in Czech borderlands in October 1938. The Munich treason meant not only the major loss of Czech territory, but also tens of thousands of refugees, arriving to Czech inlands. It was more than two hundred thousand refugees, consisting of Czechs, German anti-fascists and Jews. The two latter groups were not welcomed with open arms however. The reason for that was the nationality of Germans and the language (often German) of Jews. In these strange times, peaked Czech nationalism started to surface. Most of the Czechs lacked the ability to make differences between German nazis or nazi sympathizers and those Germans, who were persecuted in the borderlands for their political or racial background. This ability did not improve during the war either – on the contrary in fact. We can state that the occupation experience and German terror only strenghtened the Czech resistance to anything German. This is confirmed by the words of RAF veteran, František Loucký: “Together, we remembered home often and we worried about the fates of our dearest, especially during the Heydrichiad. With fists clenched we listened every evening to the Prague radio news, where then names of the people executed were announced. These news gave us strength to further fight the barbaric enemy.” (SS: Heydrichiad is a Czech term for the months of terror, following the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich) Below: Sudeten women in Czech borderlands welcome hysterically their beloved Führer Simply put, a German was a German. Even the Jews from pre-war Czechoslovakia became victims of bullying in the exile army due to their language (German). This is confirmed by the report from Brigadier General Bedřich Neumann, the commander of the 1st Czechoslovak Brigade from September 1941: “The news of persecution in our homeland are listened to with continuing interest and the general belief is that this difficult trial, although painful, will – when it comes to foreign politics – help us a lot and it will truly show the greatness of our decision after Munich. At the same time, the hatred towards everything German has risen and one cannot rule out the possibility of some incident, if the Jews continue using German to talk to one another, since Czech soldiers consider it a provocation. ………… The national self-awareness rises. The terms “hitlerism”, “nazism” etc., are genereally being replaced by the word “German”. Instead of former thoughts of punishing the nazis, the vengefulness towards all Germans sets in.” Seven months later, Neumann reported to the exile Ministry of National Defense that: “Continuous exodus of handpicked people to the airforce and the influx of newbies with German nationality and upbringing causes more and more tension. Incessant German chatter of these people, that can be heard now in almost every building, could become the reason for open conflict between Czech and German soldiers at any moment – Czech soldiers are being provoked directly by this chatter. These Czech soldiers do not make differences between nazis and Germans, they point towards sad experience with our Germans and they rightfully argue that the national composition of the Czechoslovak brigade does not correspond the spirit of the real Czechoslovak army. Many say that if they knew about this, they would have stayed at home, where the nation is united by the peaked nationalism.” Professional point of view Of course, the Czechoslovak airman or infantryman did not love his enemy. On the other hand, during hard fighting, he often recognized his quality and was forced to admit that the Germans know their trade. In newsreels, publications and post-war interviews, the protagonists of these clashes admitted it themselves: “I don’t like that garbage about Germans being bad pilots, untrained and so on. Those that I have met were great pilots, they were brave and their airplanes were usually better than ours, especially the 190′s” Those were the words of František Fajtl, who himself was shot down on 5.5.1942 by one Focke-Wulf FW 190. About the same way (without distortions) was the enemy regarded by some unbiased ground army members on the eastern front, despite the fact the German soldiers were often propagandistically depicted as “cowards”, who were acting tough only when they had battlefield superiority. The legend of foreign resistance, Vilém Sacher, openly wrote in his book called “Krvavé Velikonoce” (Bloody Easter, published only after 1989 “Velvet Revolution”): “I don’t like to talk about it. I’m being careful, because someone might judge me incorrectly, but from the beginning of Karpaty-Dukla Operation I have studied the enemy and I have learned that the Germans are good soldiers. Continue reading →

More...