May 1945: Czechoslovakia at a crossroads

Photo: APF Czech Radio

Czechia was the place where the last shots of World War II were fired in Europe. The generally accepted narrative is that, with most of the country liberated by the Soviet Red Army, the former Czechoslovakia was inevitably headed for the communist Soviet bloc. Vít Smetana from the Prague Institute of Contemporary History dispels some deeply-rooted myths perpetuated by the communists about what happened in the very last days of WWII in Czechoslovakia.

For many decades under Communism, the official storyline was simple: the Czechs with the help of mostly Communist-led resistance decided not to wait for their liberation and in many places started disarming the retreating German troops hard-pressed by the Red Army from the East. The regular Wehrmacht and elite SS troops were trying to flee to the West so as to be captured by the Western Allies rather than the Soviets because they rightly expected that the treatment would be better in their prisoner-of-war camps.

See the rest here.

Author: Vít Pohanka