10. 9. 2009 9:40

Dearly Paid Freedom

At the beginning of September we memorialize a sad anniversary - the beginning of the greatest conflict of human history, up to the present, the beginning of the World War Two.

Tank WWIIThis global conflict, which indelibly affected lives of millions of people and which radically influenced further development of the entire world, broke out on September 1, 1939 when Germany began the attack against neighbouring Poland. Great Britain and France stood up for the side of the attacked country; thus two basic blocks were established which for the following six years competed against each other. Italy and Japan were on the side of Germany while the Soviet Union and the United States of America were significantly engaged on the side of so called Allies.

The war was not definitely ended in May 1945 after the capitulation of Germany, as many people think, but as late as in September 1945 after the capitulation of Japan. Thus we are now memorializing rather untraditionally also the end of the World War II., even though it is not a round anniversary

The World War II influenced significantly also the development in then Czechoslovakia. In spite of the fact that it might sound rather paradoxically, its break-out brought hope for many Czechoslovak citizens; hope that the state arranged after the Munich Treaty and after the occupation of the rest of the country would soon be changed. Number of them decided to support the fight of the Allies and left abroad to enter armies or they were engaged in the revolt at home. Both variants entailed big risks. All the efforts were controlled by the exile government in London which was headed by the Prime Minister Jan Šrámek, and by the President Edvard Beneš, of course.

The Office of the Government decided to combine the commemoration of the end of the World War II. with launching ceremony of the book "Dearly Paid Freedom" which was written by historians of the Institute of Contemporary History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and published by Paseka Publishing House. In spite of the fact that this book relates only to the last two years of the War, we are of the opinion that it comprehensively describes what efforts and what torture had to be exerted to revive Czechoslovak freedom and to remove the state that had been established after the September 1, 1939.

Informace o knize

The authors aim their attention to two basic spheres. The first one concerns the foreign policy efforts of the Czechoslovak exile representation focused on the international acknowledgement of Czechoslovakia, and on restoration, liberalization and post-war security of the Czechoslovak state. The book describes relations of the Czechoslovak exile with key powers of the anti-Hitler coalition and changes of views on the Czechoslovak issue. The second sphere that was studied was the military sphere; the direct course of liberalization of the Czechoslovak territory in the context of the European military operations.

The book analyses changes of the strategic situation on the European battlefield in 1944-1945, it outlines military operations of the Allies in this period and analyses in detail fights in the Czechoslovak territory; it deals with issues of concepts and as well as the course of uprisings in the occupied countries, in particular those in the territory of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Two-volume synthesis arose on the basis of the collection of studies elaborated in the framework of the grant project GA CR 402/02/1154 "Liberation of Czechoslovakia" by a team headed by Jaroslav Hrbek who has died recently. The purpose of the work was to include the phenomenon of the Czechoslovak liberalization into the wide context of the World War II. history and to open problems that have not been explained satisfactorily so far, and to try to analyse them as precisely as possible.

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