Germany Seizes Remainder of Czechoslovakias

Hácha, Hitler and Göring meeting in Berlin, 14/15 March 1939

In March 1939, the remaining parts of Czechoslovakia were dismembered by the Germans. The excuse used was the firing of the Premier of Slovakia. Prague was occupied and Czechoslovakian independence ended. The occupation of Czechoslovakia dashed the hopes of those who believed Hitler's ambitions were limited to merely uniting Germanic lands.

After his victory in Munich, the question was what next would Hitler want. On January 30th, 1939, on the sixth anniversary of his coming to power, he gave a speech at the Reichstag in which he stated, "If the international Jewish financiers within and outside Europe succeeded once more in hurtling the people of in a world war, the result will not be the Bolshevization of the world and with it a victory for the Jews but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." Hitler went on in the same speech to declare that in order to acquire the food Germany needed to feed its people, it needs Lebensraum (living space). The question was, where was it planning to acquire that living space.

Hitler's intentions became apparent in late February and early March when he made several demands on the Czech government. They included 1/3 of its gold, a decrease in the size of its army, provide him with whatever raw materials he wants, and Germany should control the foreign policy of Czechoslovakia. In addition, the Germans demanded that the Czech's place the same restriction on Jews as they had in Germany.

In the second week of March, the Germans created more chaos when in the mixed German Czech ethnic town of Moravska-Ostrava, clashes developed between Czechs and Germans. On March 9th Dr. Hacha who had become the President of Czechoslovakia declared martial law in Slovakia and dismissed the head of the government, a supporter of Hitler Father Tiso. He then traveled to Berlin, where he demanded Slovak independence. The Slovak Diet demanded independence from Czechoslovakia. Father Tiso then requested that Germany become the protector of Slovakia.

On March 14th, Dr. Hacha and Czechoslovain Foreign Minister Dr. Chvaklovsky traveled to Berlin. They were received with full military and diplomatic honors. They then met with Hitler all night. Hitler demanded that the Czech Republic be divided into three parts Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, and Ruthenia. If his demands were not met, he threatened to bomb Prague into rubble.

Even as Hacha was conferring with his government what to do, German troops marched into the country. The Czech army, which was considered formidable before the British and the French, forced it to give up Sudentenland surrendered without firing a shot. Thus ended the independence of Czechoslovakia.