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Czechoslovakia: Minorities and Population Transfers
Country Study > Chapter 1 > Historical Setting > The War Years, 1939-45 > Minorities and Population Transfers


The Czechoslovak National Front coalition government, formed at Kosice in April 1945, issued decrees providing for the expulsion of all Sudeten Germans with the exception of those who had demonstrated loyalty to the republic. German property would be confiscated without compensation. All officials of the SdP, or the Sudeten Nazis, and all members of the Nazi Security Police would be prosecuted.

In May 1945, Czechoslovak troops took possession of the Sudetenland. A Czechoslovak administrative commission composed exclusively of Czechs was established. Sudeten Germans were subjected to restrictive measures and conscripted for compulsory labor to repair war damages. Individual acts of retaliation against Germans and precipitous expulsion under harsh conditions characterized the immediate aftermath of the occupation. On June 15, however, Benes called Czechoslovak authorities to order. In July Czechoslovak representatives addressed the Potsdam Conference (the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union) and presented plans for a humane and orderly transfer of the Sudeten German population.

The Potsdam Agreement provided for the resettlement of Sudeten Germans in Germany under the supervision of the Allied Control Council. The transfer began in January 1946. By December 31, 1946, some 1.7 million Germans had been resettled in the American Zone and 750,000 in the Soviet Zone. Approximately 225,000 Germans remained in Czechoslovakia, of whom 50,000 emigrated or were expelled soon after.

The Potsdam Agreement pertained to Germans only. Decisions regarding the Hungarian minority reverted to the Czechoslovak government. The resettlement of about 700,000 Hungarians was envisaged at Kosice and subsequently reaffirmed by the National Front. Budapest, however, opposed a unilateral transfer. In February 1946, the Hungarian government agreed that Czechoslovakia could expatriate as many Hungarians as there were Slovaks in Hungary wishing to return to Czechoslovakia. By the spring of 1948 only 160,000 Hungarians had been resettled.

Territory ceded to Poland in 1938 and restored to Slovakia after the Nazi invasion of Poland, in accordance with the terms of the German-Slovak agreement of November 21, 1939, became part of the restored Czechoslovak state in 1945. The Polish minority (100,000) enjoyed full civil liberties.

Data as of August 1987

Last Updated: August 1987

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Czechoslovakia was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 50 of 170


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