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The Czech crisis

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by GunSlinger86, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Member

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    German military planners felt their army wasn't ready to fight the Czechs in 1938. The Czech army was well-equipped, well-trained, descent numbers, and had solid fortifications. Would it have turned into a stalemate if the two eventually went to war or would one have wiped the floor with the other?
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    7 million Czechs against 75 million Germans : the outcome was obvious .Besides the problem would not disappear if CZ won : they would still be saddled with 3.5 million Sudeten Germans .
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How united was Czechoslovakia at that point? I know that there was at least some question about the loyalty of the Sudeten Germans (warranted or not) but wasn't there also tension between the Czechs and the Slovaks? What percentages of the army were the various groups?
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Ultimately it depends on the intervention of other nations. If it stays jsut Germany and Czechoslovakia, in time the Germans win. However the Czechs could probably hold out long enough for Britain and France to act if they were willing, which makes either German defeat or some sort of revolt likely.

    One wild card is Poland. Historically they took advantage of the situation to seize some Czech territory for themselves. If they stepped in while a Czecho-German war was ongoing, the Czechs would be in a very bad position.

    Another is Slovakia, which took the chance to assert its independence from the union invented by the victors of WWI (and took the next opportunity at the end of the Cold War). If the government in Prague was willing to fight to keep the Sudenland, how enthusiastic would the Slovaks be?
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    By that logic Israel disappeared in 1948 and Hitler never captured Poland. Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Greece and a third of Russia.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The exceptions confirm the rule . There were 80 million Germans and 25 million Poles, 3.5 million Danes, 3.5 million in Norway,8 million in Belgium, 9 in Holland, 40 in France,etc ...In 1940 the Germans won because they had more divisions . Quantity wins unless quality can defeat quantity . And in WWII mostly quantity won .

    There were only some 7 million Czechs, thus their army was limited .And, it operated on enemy hostile territory : Slovakia and Sudetenland : it had no pace where it could retreat . And if the Czechs won,what would they do with the SD Germans and the Slowaks ? The problem would not disappear .

    CZ as it existed was not viable : the Czechs were better off without the SD Germans and without the Slovaks . As they are today .

    If they had any chance, they would have fought .

    The problem was simple but insoluble : there were 3.5 million Sudeten Germans who no longer wanted to be a part of CZ. In 1938 they got what they wanted . In 1945 there were 7 million Czechs who refused to continue to cohabite with the SD Germans and they got what they wanted .

    After Versailles, multicuralism was doomed .
     
  7. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Hitler would be in Prague before the French would be in Berlin (the British were quantité negligeable) .

    Britain was neutral and had no obligations to CZ and it had no striking force .

    France was an ally of CZ but it never had promised that it would attack Germany if this invaded CZ,besides France also had no striking force .

    And, from a moral point of view, Hitler had justice on his side : there were no grounds to forbid the SD Germans to secede from CZ .Ireland had seceded, why not the SD Germans ? US had seceded from Britain, why not the SD Germans from CZ ?
     
  8. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Then there is the ludicrious, impossible Finnish example; bloody the aggressor's nose until they accept peace as an alternative, because the cost to the aggressor of enforcing their real desire is too high. Thus, Germany might "win": gaining the Sudetenland, with the remainder splitting into Czech and Slovak, but the German army be so badly mauled, that Poland is spared during 1939, at least.
     
  9. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    LJAD, the German army was not the juggernaut it was to become, so it is not a guarantee that the Germans would just win at the start
     
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  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Not the strength of the German army was decisive,but the weakness of the Czech army, of its strategic and political situation .CZ had no friends or allies who could help it, the majority of its population would not fight to preserve what it called the Czechian domination.The fortifications were situated in Sudetenland where the population was considered as a German fifth column .The best CZ could hope for was a liberation by its "allies" ,but liberation implies occupation, thus it was better to yield than to fight :why should the Czechs fight ?
     
  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Something which is,given the relations between CZ and Poland, totally irrelevant . Besides, if Poland would be spared in 1939, it would be invaded a year later,with the same results .
     
  12. green slime

    green slime Member

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    A statement worthy of Mjölnir.
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Czech equipment was first rate, the Lt vz 35 rank was better than anything the Germans had in 1938.

    The Czech cannot fight a protracted war, no chance of them causing significant damage, they are more likely to give the Germans some very useful combat experience. But Hitler in 1938 probably can't fight a long war either, if he puts his troops in a position were they get an initial bloody nose the generals may come to the conclusion the nazis are not such a great idea.

    France is weak in 1938, the pacifist "popular front" had limited military spending, but still has an army larger than the Germans that are still ramping up, but their doctrine is defensive, and an offensive would vanify the huge expenditure on the Maginot. The Germans lack trained reserves as the had no conscription before Hitler. Britain has painted itself into a corner, Trenchard had convinced a lot of people bombers would devastate a country in weeks, but then failed to create a force that would make them confident it would be British bombers devastating Germany rather than the opposite.
     
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  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The situation of the Czech equipment was irrelevant, as the majority of the inhabitants of CZ would not fight .
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Hitler would be in Prague before the French would be in Berlin .
     
  16. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Member

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    The German high command felt their army wasn't ready for a war, and the Czechs had a solid military with quality equipment and fortifications. Germany thrashed thrashed the SU in the beginning for Barbarossa and the SU's population was more than double Germany, so in a fast war that really has nothing to do with it.
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    It's possible the CZ army would dissolve within a few days, when 30% of the population possibly likes your enemy more than your government a conscript army has a big problem. But it also might not, and in that case the still very green German army might find they have overstretched themselves, I don't have numbers but I'm not that sure the Germans had many combat capable divisions in 1938 so if they mobilized the Czech may not have that much of a disadvantage unless the Poles join in on the German side.

    The French do not need to get to Berlin to male Hitler's position impossible, Baden Baden might be enough, the German population is not likely to consider getting invaded a fair exchange for "liberating" the Sudets and the 1938 Germans cannot fight a two front war.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Assumes fact's not in evidence.

    In any war the majority never fight, that is a historical fact. At best most nations mobilize perhaps 10% of their population plus or minus 5%. Its simple logistics. You also discount historical precedent of just a generation before. All segments of the Czechoslovak nation in 1914 were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who, along with numerous other ethnic populations, fought for 4 years in the service of a even more restrictive overlord. Yes they jumped at the chance to form their own countries when it presented itself, but there was little to indicate that Nazi Germany was going to 'honor' their aspirations for independence.

    The quality of arms do matter. Enough so that the vast majority of Czech arms were adopted into the Wehrmacht, with the case being made that without them the Polish invasion would be bloodier and the assault on France and the Low Countries a iffy proposition in 1940. This does not take into consideration the defensive works deployed in naturally difficult terrain, terrain that worked against Germany's new concept of war, Blitzkrieg. Unlike the Ardennes, this ground would be defended. Further it is much easier to defend, even by troops with a lukewarm affection for its government.

    I agree with TOS that the Czech republic could not fight a protracted war without help, but the reasoning of the Anglo-French in working out a settlement was to avoid another general war in which they would be dragged into. Clearly they felt this was probable if not unavoidable. I suspect that within a week (of a unprovoked German attack) the Anglo-French would, however reluctantly, decide to formally join the Czech's by virtue of public opinion alone, especially after Prague was terror bombed as Warsaw and Rotterdam would be.

    This would force Germany to redeploy follow on troops (newly raised) to guard their western border and slow the German assault further. Let us also recall that the Munich agreement came about at the end of September of 1938, so a conflict starting on or after this date would soon have to contend with the onset of winter, further slowing any German attack.

    Then there is Poland. Historically they took advantage of the situation by helping dismember Czechoslovakia, but they also had interests in Germany as well. Recall that the infant Polish state and the Wiemar Republic fought a quasi war along their respective borders over control of territory in the aftermath of the Great War. The Anglo-French were more natural allies to Poland than Nazi Germany ever could be.

    If the Czech's initially slow the unproven Blitzkrieg and the Anglo-French then side with the Czech's, Poland is more likely to side with the 'Allies' (for more desirable booty) than Hitler's Germany, presenting the Nazi's with a three front war.
     
  19. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    LJAD, I don't believe the German army was that good, they had only been expanding the army for a few years and was sorely lacking in equipment and experience.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    And what about the Czech army ?

    What would happen in 1938 was what happened in Yugoslavia in 1941: the Czech army would dissolve and in a few weeks CZ would cease to exist . That's why the Czechs surrendered to Hitler .Fortifications (in a hostile region =Sudetenland!) are useless if there is no one to man them .Without the support of the population,it is impossible to fight a war . And even if Hitler was defeated, the problem of the SD Germans and the Slovaks would not disappear .

    CZ never had the intention to fight,because a war, even if he was won, would be the end of the statu quo, and would mean the end of CZ as it existed .If the war was lost, it was the end of CZ, if it was won, CZ would be liberated ,which also was a bad thing .
    CZ expected that France (Britain was quantité negligable) would prevent a German attack . Reality was that France had already given up CZ in 1930.

    The Czechs did not fight in 1938,neither did they in 1939,when they were delivered from the SD Germans .
     

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