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In an early version of my earlier Skoda Works question, I placed the works in the "Sudetenland." A European protested that they were 250 kms. away from the Sudetes mountains, which he considered the heart of the Sudetenland.

That's where (American) Wikipedia begins. But the entry says "The German-speaking regions according to mother tongue (highlighted in black within an outline map of the current Czech Republic) [were] popularly referred to in interwar period as the Sudetenland." That was the "Sudetenland" as I remember it from my study of American history. Basically, it encompasses most of the Czech border region except the eastern boundary with Slovakia.

Are their differing "narrow" (e.g.European), and "broad" (e.g American) definitions ofthe Sudetenland? Is one more correct or accepted than the other? And are the Skoda works located in "my" (American) definition of the Sudetenland?

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"which he considered the heart of the Sudetenland" Hm... what?!?! From your question: "Were the nearby Sudeten mountains..." I was just pointing out the Sudeten are nowhere near Plzeň and Skoda Works. Also, where does the "popularly referred to in interwar period as the Sudetenland." comes from? The name was only popular with German nationalists, Nazis and Nazi sympathizers – Yannis Sep 16 '13 at 16:46
There's no need to dispute the source when the source itself explains "The name is derived from that of the Sudetes mountains .. which run along the northern Czech border as far as Silesia and contemporary Poland, although it encompassed areas well beyond those mountains." Hence Plzeň was on the border of the Sudetenland as the term was used in the 30s, but distant from the Sudetes/Sudeten mountains. The mountains near Plzeň are called Šumava in Czech, Böhmerwald in German & the Bohemian Forest in English. – Nigel Harper Sep 16 '13 at 17:27
@TomAu Again, what?!? Read your source, and my comments. I don't disagree with your source, you disagree with your source. "The areas marked on the map are mostly mountains." No, they are not. They are areas of German speaking Czechs. Some of the areas are mountains, some are not. Sudetenland is not just the Sudeten mountains, as your other question implied, and the parts of Sudetenland that are near Plzen are not mountainous. – Yannis Sep 16 '13 at 21:26
This seems to be a perfectly valid question, IMO. Don't see any reason for the downvotes. – Lennart Regebro Sep 17 '13 at 9:43
As an artificial construct based on ethnic groupings, the borders could be placed whereever people wanted. Even the most oddball border for a political entity has to be placed on the ground and mapped. The only time this happened for S-Land was when Hitler bullied the Czechs into ceding it, and the borders then need not have made any ethnic sense. – Oldcat Apr 23 '15 at 22:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, there are not differing definitions of Sudetenland, and while your contention that the Škoda Works are in what was once Sudetenland is not necessarily a mistake, technically the "European" (Yannis) is correct:

The problem is simply regarding how to categorize the city of Plzeň, location of the Skoda Works:

Following Czechoslovak independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918 the German-speaking minority in the countryside bordering the city of Plzeň hoped to be re-united with Austria and were unhappy at being included in Czechoslovakia. Many allied themselves to the Nazi cause after 1933, in the hope that Adolf Hitler might be able to unite them with their German-speaking neighbours.

Following the Munich Agreement in 1938, Plzeň became literally a frontier town, after the creation of the Sudetenland moved the Third Reich borders to the city's outer limits.

Plzeň is in the western part of Bohemia, but not the extreme west - it was literally on the border between Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia proper. It appears that although technically speaking, based on the Munich Agreement of 1938, Plzeň was not part of Sudetenland (Sudetenland moved the Third Reich borders to the city's outer limits), since the militarily very valuable Skoda Works were located in Plzeň, and there was considerable sympathy for Hitler and Germany there, Many allied themselves to the Nazi cause after 1933, it's quite fair to say that being in such close proximity to Sudetenland made Plzeň a de-facto extension of Sudetenland

So, depending on how we look at it, technically (Yannis's POV) or practically (your POV), Plzeň may or may not be considered part of Sudetenland.

Arrow Denotes Location of Plzeň Arrow Denotes Location of Plzeň

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There's nothing in that quotation to suggest that Skoda was forced to supply the Germans prior to the full invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939. Therefore I don't see how it leads to a conclusion that Plzeň was a "de-facto extension of the Sudetenland". – Nigel Harper Sep 19 '13 at 12:10
@NigelHarper - duly noted and edited. – user2590 Sep 19 '13 at 17:49

This question is extremely interesting to me. It's been part of an ancestry research project of mine. My paternal family comes from the Sudetenland, but sadly, with the recent passing of my dad late last year, the last first hand source in my family is also silent.

I will try and fill in this answer over time, which might be a bit unusual of an approach. But I have 1500 pages of books and documents that I need to go through to give a proper answer that isn't just lines on maps. Besides if nobody is interested I don't have to worry about adding reams of info later on. ;)

I'm not even going to bother with Wikipedia (English or German editions) so see at the bottom for sources.

To begin, Sudetengermans originated in ancient Bohemian and Markomannic tribes mentioned all the way back by Tacitus. Together with their Slavic neighbours, Czech tribes, they ended up inside the Habsburg empire in around 1526 (5, page 7).

The term Sudetengerman ist actually very young and was coined early in the 20th century to align with Alpine Germans and Carpathian Germans, i.e as another German group living in mountainous regions. In this case the Sudeten mountains in the northern ranges of the then Habsburg empire. (5, page 14)

The term was collectively used for Germans from Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian-Silesia. When the Habsburg empire disintegrated after World War 1 and Czechoslovakia was founded, the Sudetengermans found themselves inside a new Slavic country. Despite the Wilson doctrine, any attempts at autonomy, self-determination or integration with Germany failed. (5, page 14)

Union with Austria would have been geographically absurd (look at a map), though not strictly impossible, as there are and have been precedents.

Strictly speaking, they wouldn't have belonged to Germany either! No more than Austria or Switzerland do. But, just like Yugoslavia, you knew this wasn't going to end well.

Oh, and that's the German-speaking view. In all fairness, the history from the Czech view varies: from their POV large areas had been left ununhabited when entire tribes moved westward during the migration periods. However it's not debated that in these specific areas near the Sudeten ranges, German-speaking ethnicity was in the majority.

As is too common, who was the oppressor and who the victim changed with who was in control of the overall area. With the German-Austrian Habsburgers ruling, the Sudetengermans were top dog. When that ended, the Czechs became the Bad Guys, cracking down (sometimes violently) on any secession attempts, or even increased autonomy.

To answer the main question from the OP: as so often the was no fixed border. With ethnical lines far more fluent than drawn on a map, where a German majority became parity with Czechs and then changed to Czech majority wasn't discrete - and probably depended on who did the counting!

With the perceived or real oppression experienced it's no wonder that the Sudetengermans welcomed the invasion of the Hitler's forces with open arms. Nor is it a wonder, after the horrors of Nazi occupation, the Czechs wanted the Germans gone, who were guilty by association at best and perpetrators at worst.

However it shouldn't be forgotten that with 2-3 million Sudetengermans being kicked out, the approach of the Communists rulers who took over in the late 1940s was to simply uproot about 1.9 million Czechs and simply tell them to now live in the vacated areas. Or else (1, page 15).

That was still "simpler" than what happened in Poland, where the entire country was shifted westward. Stalin typically held on to what he had opportunistically gained in 1939 while still allied with Germany, so instead of giving it back he handed Silesia to Poland, kicking out millions of Poles who then had to pack up and head westwards.

Some of my sources (not counting family papers and documents):

  1. Als die Deutschen weg waren (When the Germans were gone), by a
    consortium of German, Polish and Czech authors
  2. Historische Ansichten vom Sudetenland (Historical sights and insights of the Sudetenland), by Heinz Csallner
  3. Sudetenland in 144 Bildern (Sudetenland in 144 images), by Erhard J. Knobloch
  4. Paurisch, Handbuch der Gablonzer Mundart (Paurish, dictionary of the dialect of the Gablonz/Jablonec area), by Hans-Joachim Hübner and Kurt Fischer
  5. Typisch Sudetendeutsch (Typical Sudetengerman), by Viktor Aschenbrenner
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it's no wonder that the Sudetengermans welcomed the invasion of the Hitler's forces with open arms This is quite an euphemism actually. In all cases this is an over-answer. The question is badly formulated and extremely unclear, and you come writing an entiere book to answer it :) The pbolem is that the Sudetes mountains are only on the northeast of the Czech republic, while sudetengermans lived all arround the Czech republic borders (exept in the east). This is probably where his confusing comes from. – Bregalad 2 days ago
I won't even deny it's an "over-answer". But I consider that better, especially with proper sourcing, than these frequent snippets of half-regurgitated throw-aways for Rep farming. – Marakai 2 days ago
As you yourself said: absurd. Not going to comment on the weirdness found in Tirol. ;) You'd have Austrian enclaves north of Czechoslovakia. Now there'd have been yet another casus belli... – Marakai 2 days ago
After a think, I agree with you and have edited that bit. :) Also moved it out, as I had it encapsuled in the paragraph for which I had a reference, but that sentence wasn't part of it. – Marakai 2 days ago

These three maps clearly outline, in varying level of detail, the portions of Czechoslovakia that were annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. As the definition of "Sudetenland" has almost no meaning apart from this annexation, they comprise a de facto meaning of the term.

As illustrated below, the city of Plzen was just outside the boundaries of Sudetenland as defined above.

enter image description here

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The Sudetenland (Czech and Slovak: Sudety, Polish: Kraj Sudetów) is the German name (used in English in the first half of the 20th century) to refer to those northern, southwest, and western areas of Czechoslovakia which were inhabited mostly by German speakers, specifically the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia located within Czechoslovakia.

This is straight from the wiki.

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"This is straight from the wiki" - therefore it's not a good answer, nor does it answer the question. – user2590 Sep 19 '13 at 20:06
The person asking the question has already cited the Wikipedia source and is asking for more than that. – KorvinStarmast 2 days ago

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