Previous posts in this discussion:
PostHitler Wanted Czechoslovakia for Its Industrial Capacity (Paul Pitlick, USA, 10/31/21 3:26 am)
The reason I like WAIS is for discussions like Michael Frank's and Ric Mauricio's of the same day. I've stopped reading the inane discussions about a certain ex-president, "socialism," etc. But it's a good time to discuss Czechoslovakia, where October 28 was the 103rd anniversary of its (her?) founding.
I don't know much about Czech history. For example. I learned only recently about the "Parachutists," which is a story for another time (or if you Google that term, include "Czech"--it's an interesting story). I have several Czech friends who are among the most interesting people I know--they have monuments everywhere, like to the victims of Communism. I'll ask them about the Czech Legion.
But I would like to expand one of Michael Frank's sentences: "Czechs, Hungarians, Slovaks and many other nationalities..." The Czechs were the largest ethnic group in the country, Germans were second, and Slovaks third. Apparently the non-Germans didn't trust the Germans much, so they tried to finesse them in the development of the new state. The (Czech) owner of the hotel where we stay in Prague told me that the Germans were not badly treated by the Czechs/Slovaks (of course), but in 1938 Hitler wanted the Czechoslovakian industrial capacity (which was not badly damaged by WWI) for his war effort--it wasn't about protecting the German minority.
The Škoda factory in Plzeň was previously discussed on WAIS: http://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a&objectType=post&o=136742&objectTypeId=100782&topicId=123
JE comments: As WAISer John Hesley wrote about the April 1945 Allied bombing attack on the massive Skoda works, the goal was not to eliminate its value to the already defeated Germans, but to prevent it from being of future use to the Soviets. John's father would lose his life on that raid. Click above for the details, and the link to the Smithsonian article on this fateful mission.
October 28th is my wedding anniversary, in addition to Czech independence day! I was never aware of this little coincidence.
Czechoslovakia's Minorities: A Non-Viable State?
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
11/01/21 2:27 AM)
Unfortunately for politically correct history, the ethnic Germans of the Sudetenland did not want to be part of the "non-viable" Czechoslovakia after 1918.
And not only them--just see the case of Slovakia, with the Communist independent republic in July 1918, the declaration of independence in March 1939, the federated Socialist Slovak Republic 1969-90, and finally the new independent Slovak Republic.
The ethnic groups of infamous Czechoslovakia prior to the rectification of the Monaco Accords were:
The dominant Czechs, although they were a minority in Czechoslovakia as a whole. I loved the sentence of Paul Pitlick, "The non-Germans didn't trust the Germans much, so they tried to finesse them." Wouldn't it have been easier to say "they oppressed them"?
Consider too the already mentioned Germans of the Sudetenland, the Slovaks, the Poles united to Poland in 1939 (but this is forgotten), the Hungarians again united to Hungary in 1939, and finally the Ruthenians, Eastern Catholic Slavs, later within Hungary, as well as the Carpathian Ukrainians.
The Skoda Industries of Pilzen have nothing to do with the Sudeten but, of course, all the industries of Bohemia and Moravia were useful to the German war machine.
Do not forget that the construction of the infamous state of Czechoslovakia, desired mostly by France, was a blatant violation of the first of the 14 Points of President Wilson. Moreover, the 1938 Munich Accords were acclaimed by the majority of the world as a just accomplishment.
Only a very few were against them for political reasons, of course, now, with the imperatives of politically correct thinking, almost everybody is against.
Oh, by the way, the workers of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939-45 had better treatment and higher salaries than before.
JE comments: Is it possible to sympathize with the peoples who "benefited" from Hitler's redrawing of borders? Caro Eugenio, most of us prefer to remain stuck in our old, politically correct ways. What's more, Hitler did nothing but create puppet states in those areas not directly annexed by the Reich. Are you saying that the Poles incorporated into the Generalgouvernement were happy about it? The rump state was far worse off than Vichy France--essentially, one large labor camp.
Having said that, the monstrous Heydrich did raise the Czechs' salaries, in a "carrot and stick" governing philosophy. He wasn't exactly thanked for it.
Mussolini Advocated for Poland in Letter to Hitler
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
11/03/21 2:28 AM)
Commenting on my post of 1 November, our esteemed moderator rhetorically asked if I appreciated the existence of puppet states, and if I believe that the Poles were happy in the Generalgouvernement imposed by the Third Reich.
I have always been against any type of puppet state. Allies yes, lackeys never--not only in the last century but also at present.
Italy considered denouncing the Alliance Pact with the Third Reich on 18 March 1939 when the German troops were "invited" to Prague, but this was considered unwise, as despite having 20,000 workers building defenses on the borders with the Third Reich, the Italians did not consider themselves ready for a conflict.
Yet the Pact should have been denounced, hoping that Hitler would not have been too pissed off by Italy's third "Giro di Valzer," after the one on Morocco in 1911, and then the second one in 1915. Italy could not withstand a military action by the Germans, while France and the UK would only have been too happy to see a war between the two authoritarian powers.
The case of Poland is different, given the problem of the self-determination of the people. In 1939-'40 it was on the other side of the question of self-determination
As I have written earlier on WAIS, Mussolini in his letter to Hitler of 3 January 1940 defended Poland, reminding Hitler that in his Danzig speech he had praised the Polish soldier. Mussolini requested that the Fuhrer permit a free Poland. Further, he added that such a measure would have been of great importance for peace, taking away any justification for the democracies to continue the war. Mussolini further wrote in his letter that the establishment of a Polish State would have been the definitive factor for peace, and warned the USA would have never allow democracy to be defeated. (This letter now is completely forgotten.)
Hitler answered Mussolini, but ignored the problem of an independent free Poland.
Against the protest of the Germans, the Italian Fascist Government maintained its Embassy in Warsaw until just 20 days after the meeting of Hitler and Mussolini on 18 March 1940. During the existence of the Embassy in occupied Warsaw, the Embassy acted to protect, as far as possible, the Polish people. They facilitated the emigration to Italy of the Jewish Alter family, the Chief Rabbi Gora Kalwaraya, etc.
More than 2000 people would pass through the Embassy and reach safety in Italy. Very active in these actions was a friend of Mussolini, Mrs. Luciana Frassati (1902-2007), the wife of the Polish Minister Jan Gawronski. Among other things she arranged the expatriation of Mrs. Helena Zubczewaska, wife of General Wladyslaw Sikorsky, PM of the Polish Government-in-exile in London. See Frassati's book Il destino passa per Varsavia (Destiny goes through Warsaw).
The fact the situation was not too bad for the workers in occupied Prague is proved by the practically nonexistent resistance of the Czechs. The British were responsible for sending a group of terrorists (sorry, by now freedom fighters but always terrorists according to the International Conventions on war) from London to kill Heydrich, who traveled around without any military escort as the situation was peaceful. This assassination produced a lot of killings in retaliation, and did not improve the war situation, which with or without Heydrich would have ended in an Axis defeat.
JE comments: The Heydrich assassination was like the 1942 Doolittle raid on Tokyo: strategically meaningless, but a morale-booster for a demoralized people. Still, Eugenio Battaglia's claim is irrefutable: not killing Heydrich would not have changed the outcome of the war, and the hundreds (thousands?) of Czechs killed in retaliation would have survived.
Eugenio, I think I asked you this the last time the subject came up on WAIS, but is there an English translation of the 1940 Mussolini letter? I'd particularly like to review the passage on the US "not permitting the defeat of democracy."
Mussolini's Letter to Hitler, January 3rd, 1940
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
11/06/21 4:21 AM)
In response to John E's question, I have no idea where you can find the translation of the letter of Mussolini to Hitler of 3 January 1940. I have the text of the original in the Opera Omnia of Mussolini.
However, if you search:
Sociale: lettere tra Hitler e Mussolini che fanno storia vera pocobello.blogpost.com-2015-05
...you will find the letter in Italian and then you may have it translated. Let me know how this works out.
JE comments: Here's what I found:
Curiously, there are many references to, and citations from, Mussolini's letter without ever showing the full text, much less a facsimile version. Likewise in English, we have references such as this 1974 article:
Why, for such a significant document from the most-studied period in history, is there apparently no full text in English? Maybe I've overlooked the obvious, but I'm still scratching my head. Two specific questions: is the letter genuine? And if so, what might have happened if Hitler had followed Mussolini's advice to restore Poland's independence and thereby "neutralize" the war motivations of France and the UK?
Authenticity of Mussolini's Letter to Hitler, 3 January 1940
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
11/08/21 2:25 AM)
Oh, my goodness. John E asked, "Is the [Mussolini] letter genuine?"
This brief question is the worst "politically correct cancelling of the historical memory of a person that is not liked" that I ever have seen in the last 76 years. And I have seen quite a few of such things.
The January 3rd, 1940 letter is genuine. There are also the pages with the first draft and the corrections with Mussolini's handwriting. It is in the Opera Omnia of Mussolini 1959 and several other publications and in the archives. The authenticity is beyond any doubt.
However, we have to face the "politically correct" version of history according to victors, beginning with "De Bello Gallico" or the hieroglyphics of Ramses II and his tale of the battle of Qadesh, which we know is not the full truth but it is convenient to believe it.
For the politically correct, it is imperative to obliterate anything that was good and remember everything that was bad. Italy has become the leading specialist in this art. For example, our president in January 2018 said: "Fascism was a regime without any merits."
The wide diffusion of such letter from Mussolini would show him as a great knowledgeable leader and lover of the peace, the people, and culture, and well conscious of American potential. Under his orders, thousands and thousands of Jews were saved in Croatia, France, Greece, and Poland. Just remember also the 103 professors of the University of Jagellonska Krakow who reached Rome and presented Mussolini with a rare edition of the works of Stanislaw Wyspianski as a sign of their gratitude.
If Hitler would have followed the advice of Mussolini probably nothing would have changed, because the warmonger Churchill wanted the war and the destruction of Germany and of the new Italy. Instead in the remote possibility that peace would have been reached thanks to Mussolini's proposal, by now in the center of every Italian town, there would be a monument to Il Duce.
JE comments: Eugenio, any chance you could forward the facsimile manuscript of the letter? Then I'll put my skepticism to rest; promise. I'm still dumbfounded that no scholar has fattened her or his CV with an English translation and/or "critical edition" of such a historically significant document.
Eugenio Battaglia raises a profound "what if"? If Mussolini's appeals to Hitler had been successful, would Il Duce now be remembered as Napoleon is in France? Although this is an imperfect analogy: Napoleon ultimately lost, yet is still revered.
[Yesterday I took a rare WAIS "Holiday." There was very little content to post, and I was also on the road during most of the day. Won't happen again anytime soon; promise.]
- Authenticity of Mussolini's Letter to Hitler, 3 January 1940 (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/08/21 2:25 AM)
- Mussolini's Letter to Hitler, January 3rd, 1940 (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/06/21 4:21 AM)
- Mussolini Advocated for Poland in Letter to Hitler (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/03/21 2:28 AM)