The SUDETEN GERMAN PARTY (German : Sudetendeutsche Partei, SDP, Czech
: Sudetoněmecká strana) was created by
Konrad Henlein under the name
Sudetendeutsche Heimatfront ("Front of Sudeten German Homeland") on
October 1, 1933, some months after the state of
outlawed the German National Socialist Workers\' Party (Deutsche
Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei, DNSAP). In April 1935, the
party was renamed Sudetendeutsche Partei following a mandatory demand
of the Czechoslovak government. The name was officially changed to
SUDETEN GERMAN AND CARPATHIAN GERMAN PARTY (Sudetendeutsche und
Karpatendeutsche Partei) in November 1935.
With the rising power of
Nazi Party in Germany , the Sudeten German
Party became a major pro-Nazi force in
Czechoslovakia with explicit
official aim of breaking the country up and joining it to the Third
Reich . By June 1938, the party had over 1,3 million members, i.e.
40.6% of ethnic-German citizens of Czechoslovakia. During last free
democratic elections before the German occupation of
the May 1938 communal elections, the party gained 88% of ethnic-German
votes, taking over control of most municipal authorities in the Czech
borderland. The country's mass membership made it one of the largest
fascist parties in Europe at the time.
* 1 Background
* 2 SHF
* 4 Annexation
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
In 1903, a group of
Sudeten Germans living in the Bohemian crown
lands of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy created the German Workers\'
Party (DAP). Influenced by the ideas of
Pan-Germanism and Anti-Slavism
, they opposed the
Czech National Revival movement advocated by the
Young Czech Party . The history of this party is centered on the
cities of Eger (German for present-day Cheb) and Aussig (Ústí nad
Labem), it originated and gave the impetus for Austrian National
Socialism . German settlement areas (pink) of Austria–Hungary,
At the end of
World War I
World War I , the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up into
several nation states . The DAP was renamed German National Socialist
Workers' Party on 5 May 1918 and after the proclamation of
Czechoslovakia claimed the right of self-determination in the
Sudetenland and German Bohemian
territories, demanding affiliation with the newly established Republic
of German-Austria . However, the new Czech-dominated government
demanded the unity of the Bohemian (or now called Czech ) lands, as
confirmed by the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye , and considered
the Pan-German party offensive and dangerous for the existence of the
country. The Czechoslovakian DNSAP led by
Hans Knirsch together with
German National Party (Deutsche Nationalpartei, DNP)
became the main proponent of so-called "negativism", the general
tendency among the
Sudeten Germans not to accept the legitimacy of the
Czechoslovakian state. Under Knirsch's successor
Rudolf Jung the party
increasingly influenced by the rise of the
Nazi Party in the German
Weimar Republic . In 1933 both the DNSAP and DNP decided to dissolve
in order to prevent the imminent ban by the
The SHF was founded on October 1, 1933. The party entered into an
alliance with the
Carpatho-German Party (KdP) in the same year.
Henlein speaking in Karlsbad , 1937
However, the newly established SdP did not see itself as a successor
of the DNSAP; in fact, SdP leader
Konrad Henlein sharply rejected the
idea. At first he advocated the Ständestaat concept of the
Austrofascist movement according to the ideas of
Othmar Spann and
would have rather preferred the affiliation with the Federal State of
Austria than with
Nazi Germany . In his earlier speeches (until 1937),
Henlein stressed his distance from German National Socialism,
affirming loyalty to the Czechoslovak state and stressing approval of
the idea of a cantonal system and individual freedom. He later
described his contact to Nazi leaders as merely tactical. In 1935 when
Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank became deputy leader, the SdP gradually adopted the
DNSAP tradition and became more radical.
In the parliamentary election of May 1935 , the SdP with 1,249,534
(15.2%) of the votes became the strongest of all parties in
Czechoslovakia. The party had won about 68% of the German votes, thus
surpassing the German Social Democratic Workers Party , the German
Christian Social People\'s Party and the Farmers\' League . Meanwhile,
the influence exerted by the German Nazi dictatorship became stronger
and after 1935 several groups within the party were financed by
Germany. In November 1937
Adolf Hitler openly declared - according to
Hossbach Memorandum - his intention to separate the Sudetenland
from the Czechoslovak state. The SdP officially coordinated this
policy with Nazi leaders in order to integrate the German-speaking
parts of Bohemia and Moravia into the
German Reich . Karl Hermann
Frank speaking at the Carlsbad convention of April 1938
After the Austrian
Anschluss Henlein first met Hitler on 28 March
1938. His policy was the so-called "Grundplanung OA" (Basic planning)
of summer 1938 and later in the interior policy of the Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia . In March 1938 the Farmers League joined the SdP,
as well as many Christian Social deputies in the Czechoslovak
parliament. At a convention in Carlsbad on April 24 the majority of
the party advocated the demand of the
Sudeten Germans as an autonomous
ethnic group, the separation of a self-governing German settlement
area and the freedom to decide for the
Anschluss to Nazi Germany. At
this time the SdP had about 1.35 million members.
In September 1938 the policy of SdP succeeded in the German
Sudetenland according to the
Munich Agreement (see:
German occupation of
Czechoslovakia ). On October 1 Henlein was
Reichskommissar of the incorporated territories, which
Reichsgau Sudetenland. After a last convention at Aussig,
the organization officially merged into the German
Nazi Party at a
festive ceremony in Reichenberg (Liberec) on 5 November 1938. However,
as many Nazi officials like
Reinhard Heydrich were suspicious of the
SdP party members, they were not absorbed, but had to apply for
admission to the Nazi Party. About 520,000 members were approved,
among them Henlein himself who also joined the SS . He was officially
Gauleiter in 1939, an office he held until 1945, though
largely losing power to Reich Protector Heydrich.
As of October 1938 the SdP/KdP parliamentary club had 52 members from
the Chamber of Deputies, and their joint Senate club had 26 members.
On October 30, 1938 the parliamenary mandates of 46 deputies and 22
Senators of SdP and KdP were annulled.
The SdP branches in areas that remained in
Czechoslovakia after the
Sudetenland annexation formed the German People\'s Group in
Czecho-Slovakia (Deutsche Volksgruppe in der Tschecho-Slowakei).
Wikimedia Commons has media related to SUDETENDEUTSCHE PARTEI .
* Germans in
Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank
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* ^ Kurt Nelhiebel (1962). Die Henleins gestern und heute:
Hintergründe und Ziele des Witikobundes. Röderberg. p. 70.
* ^ Hruška, Emil (2013), Boj o pohraničí: Sudetoněmecký
Freikorps v roce 1938 (1st ed.), Prague: Nakladatelství epocha,
Pražská vydavatelská společnost, p. 11
* ^ A B C Mads Ole Balling (1991). Von Reval bis Bukarest:
Einleitung, Systematik, Quellen und Methoden, Estland, Lettland,
Litauen, Polen, Tschechoslowakei. Dokumentation Verlag. pp. 278–280.
ISBN 978-87-983829-3-5 .
* ^ Mads Ole Balling (1991). Von Reval bis Bukarest: Einleitung,
Systematik, Quellen und Methoden, Estland, Lettland, Litauen, Polen,
Tschechoslowakei. Dokumentation Verlag. pp. 283–284. ISBN
* ^ The Twentieth Century. Nineteenth Century and After. 1939. p.
* The German Dictatorship, The Origins, Structure, and Effects of
Karl Dietrich Bracher , trans. by Jean Steinberg,
Praeger Publishers, NY, 1970. pp 50–54.
* Marek, Pavel; Dieter Schallner (2000). "Sudetendeutsche Partei -
Sudetoněmecká strana". In Pavel Marek; et al. Přehled politického
stranictví na území českých zemí a Československa v letech
1861-1998. Olomouc: Katedra politologie a evropských studií FFUP .
pp. 279–286. ISBN 80-86200-25-6 .