German occupation of Czechoslovakia  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the German annexation of Sudetenland in 1938, continued with the March 1939 invasion of the Czech lands and creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and by the end of 1944 extended to all parts of the former Czechoslovakia.

Following the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi Germany in March 1938, the conquest and breakup of Czechoslovakia became Hitler's next ambition, which he obtained with the Munich Agreement in September 1938. Adolf Hitler justified the invasion by the purported suffering of the ethnic Germans living in these regions. The seizure of Sudetenland by Nazi Germany was detrimental to the future defense of Czechslovakia as the extensive Czechoslovak border fortifications were also located in the same area. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Germany that began on 1 October 1938 left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak, and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation. Moreover, a small northeastern part of the borderland region known as Zaolzie was occupied and annexed to Poland ostensibly to "protect" the local ethnic Polish community and as a result of previous territorial claims (Czech-Polish disputes in the years of 1918–20). Futhermore, by the First Vienna Award, Hungary received the southern territories of Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia, largely inhabited by Hungarians.

As the Slovak State was proclaimed on 14 March, the next day Hungary occupied and annexed the remainder of Carpathian Ruthenia and the German Wehrmacht moved into the remainder of the Czech Lands. On 16 March 1939 from the Prague Castle, Hitler proclaimed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia after the negotiations with Emil Hácha, who remained as technical head of state with the title of State President. However, he was rendered all but powerless; real power was vested in the Reichsprotektor, who served as Hitler's personal representative.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "German occupation of Czechoslovakia" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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