The Sudetenland is a region of the present-day Czech Republic
historically, up until the end of World War II
, occupied by ethnic German
s and Austrian
s. Not surprisingly, it is made up of the region of the country bordering Germany and Austria. The Sudets (sp.?) worked mainly in skilled industries and in mining, and played a strong part in the economic success of then-Czechoslovakia
at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. They lived both in mixed and non-mixed communities.
Populistic and demagogic leaders of ethnic political parties led the Sudet citizens of Czechoslovakia to widely support Hitler, though there was certainly no lack of Sudets appalled by him. However, like the Japanese
in the US during World War II, they made good scapegoats.
The main reason they were such easy scapegoats is the Munich Pact
, in which Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy agreed that Germany and Austria could annex the Sudetenland in return for (AFAIK) a promise of non-aggression. Also AFAIK, it was in connection with this pact that Neville Chamberlain
said he was ensuring "Peace in our time
". The rest is history
After the war, the Sudetenland issue was populistically handled again, this time by the Czechs. On August 2, 1945 Benes
issued Constitutional Decree 33/1945 Sb., under which persons of German and Hungarian nationality lost their Czechoslovak citizenship, unless they could show that during the time when the republic was threatened they had officially registered themselves as Czechs
, had remained faithful to the republic, had themselves suffered at the hands of the fascists
or had taken an active part in the resistance movement. (This last sentence stolen outright from http://www.ctknews.com/archiv/docbene1.html.)
In practice this meant that nearly all persons of German ethnicity, and especially those in the Sudetenland, were chased out, in many cases by what were more or less lynch mobs.
There is no significant German ethnic minority living in the Czech Republic today.