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20. století

Bohemia and Moravia Protectorate

Loss of Czechoslovak independence
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The Protectorate was formed by Nazi Germany and included former territories of Czechoslovakia, namely Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia.
During the thirties, after Adolf Hitler´s accession to power and the related development of Nazism the large German minority became more radicalized in Czechoslovakia, especially in the Sudetenland. The situation developped in two successive phases. On October 10th 1938 Czechoslovakia was forced to surrender the Sudetenland to Germany following the Munich Treaty. Then, on March 15th 1939 Nazi Germany occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia. Before that, Fascist Slovakia had parted from Czechoslovakia, thus destabilizing the country even further. The German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was established under the direct supervision of a German Reich Protector named Konstantin von Neurath. The Germans controlled the entire government apparatus, the Gestapo took over the Police, and President Emil Hácha served with his cabinet in a "puppet" government. All political parties were abolished except the Hácha's "Národní Souručenství" (National Community Spirit), and all Jews were removed from political posts.
President Hácha, together with Prime Minister Eliáš, tried to alleviate the impacts of the German administration on the population. Indeed, at first, the German administration was sensible and the Gestapo operated only against Czech intellectuals. The Czech population however did not take the occupation easily and there were student protests on the occasion of the celebration of the Czechoslovak independence. It all culminated in the death of Jan Opletal on November 15th 1939. The Nazi reacted very quickly, the leaders of the protests were executed and all universities were

closed. It also meant a significant hardening from the German side.
With World War II in progress, more and more of the population were involved in the German war machinery and all manufacturing production unrelated to the war was prohibited on the territory of the Protectorate. In autumn 1941, Neurath was unofficially replaced by Reinhard Heydrich as German Reich Protector, who strongly enhanced the German Reich politics in the Protectorate. He defined a plan to solve both the Jewish and Czech issues (he also undertook the gradual removal and liquidation of the disloyal Slavic population) and he started to enforce prosecution of the Czech resistance movement. Prime Minister Eliáš himself was a victim of this persecution. Eliáš was finally executed and Hácha lost most of his initial energy. Heydrich was assassinated in the middle of 1942 , the result of Operation Anthropoid. The death of this Nazi crown prince brought brutal repressions on the innocent population, there were approximately 15 000 people killed, including the complete destruction of the villages Lidice and Ležáky.
During World War II, about 350,000 people were put into forced labor in the German Reich manufacturing, and by 1944, the Jewish population was almost completely wiped out (118,000 Jews lived in the country before the war with about only 10,000 left after the war). Romanian Gypsies on the territory of former Czechoslovakia were eliminated in concentration camps.
Finally, in 1945, the German Reich Protectorate collapsed and officially ended with the German surrender on May 9th 1945. The era of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia is remembered as a period of oppression as well as testing time for the nation's strength.


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