In This Review

Prague in Black: Nazi Rule and Czech Nationalism
Prague in Black: Nazi Rule and Czech Nationalism
By Chad Bryant
Harvard University Press, 2007, 384 pp

Nazi Germany's bestial cartography divided Czechoslovakia into the incorporated territories, including the Sudetenland, a "neutral" Slovakia, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, which were the core Czech lands. Bryant writes well about misery in the last -- about, in particular, the deadly essay of the Germans and their local marionettes to apply madcap ethnic and national concepts to what had long been a hopelessly complex checkerboard of identities. The drama ebbs and flows with events in the larger setting: the war's start, the fall of France in 1940, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the Battle of Stalingrad, and, by 1943, Hitler's crumbling prospects. But the brutality takes on special force in response to local circumstances, such as the massacre in response to the 1942 assassination of the German "protector" of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. Would that this were how the story ended: its sad sequel was the vengeful expulsion of Germans, some collaborators but many innocent, at the war's close, three million between 1946 and 1947, a microcosm of the 51 million Europeans driven from their homelands to complement the 60 million killed during the war.