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The English Language Discourse Surrounding the Transfer/Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans

SudetenBaseImageArrowsSmallThe title might have sounded disconcertingly academic but Dr. Martin Brown of the American International University in London delivered a thrillingly pithy and persuasive analysis of his subject. He came he said, not to discuss the events of 1945-46 but the lengthy debate about the transfer or resettlement of populations in British political, diplomatic and intellectual circles long before. At the risk of paraphrasing inaccurately, this had acquired real significance during the course of the First World War and the subsequent treaty negotiations at Versailles leading to the establishment of the new Czechoslovak state.

The implication is that the “transfer/expulsion” of 1945-46 cannot be seen as an act of ethnic-cleansing in the anachronistic language of several recent books touching on the subject, a view perhaps prompted by the continuing potency of the issue within the Czech Republic and Germany. The language used by all parties involved in the debate inevitably reflects their standpoint and experience of the events, as was made quite clear in the discussion after the talk by Mrs. Maria Beasley, daughter of Josef Zinner, the German-speaking President of Czech Miners Union prior to 1939. A Sudeten German Social Democrat, he came to London and collaborated with the Czech government in exile.

A fascinating, absorbing and stimulating lecture attended by many, including Mr. Hradílek, Deputy to HE Michael Žantovský, the Czech Ambassador to the UK.

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