Making the Czechs German : nationality and Nazi rule in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, 1939-1945 / by Chad Carl Bryant.
The dissertation analyses the everyday experience of nationalism and totalitarianism in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia—an area that Nazi rulers carved out of the former Czechoslovakia six months after the October 1938 Munich agreement. The study asks how nationality was defined, expressed, and marked on the individual during the occupation years and argues that, in the Protectorate's radicalized wartime atmosphere, nationality was hardly about things like memory, language, “race,” and customs. Instead, economics, demographics, politics, hate, and opportunism contoured the definition, expression, and ascription of nationality. The dissertation also shows how definitions of nationality became increasingly confused, contradictory, and absurd at a time when the determination of nationality could also determine one's fate. The dissertation has been divided into five chapters. Chapter one examines the first year of the occupation and examines how Nazi officials attempted to understand their newly acquired field of play. The second chapter describes the Nazi creation of a blueprint to Germanize the Protectorate and to take control of nationality politics in the region. Chapter three focuses on the regime's violent attempt to transform society along Nazi lines, beginning in late 1940 and ending with the assassination of acting Protector Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. It also looks at struggles to define what made a “German” and the process of marking individuals as such—the initial steps toward realizing a policy that promised to expel half of the Protectorate's Czech population. The last chapters examine the final years of the occupation. Chapter four scrutinizes “passive cooperation” among the Czechs under the Protectorate, and chapter five looks at how Czechs adapted, resisted, and worked outside the rules in order to protect their national identity and a sense of community during the war. The conclusion examines the post-war years and the ironic Czechification of Bohemia and Moravia that employed the language, methods, and ideals of the former Nazi occupiers—an old rivalry ended under the auspices of the new rules of the game.
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