Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War by John O. Crane, Sylvia Crane

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About the Book – Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War


This groundbreaking work presents a revisionist history of Czechoslovakia’s struggle for independence from 1917 to the death of Jan Masaryk in March 1948. The authors focus on three critical events in Czechoslovak history: the year of its founding in the midst of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, the Munich betrayal in 1938, and the Communist coup of 1948. The account is informed by John Crane’s longstanding personal acquaintance with the Masaryk family and by Sylvia Crane’s extensive research into previously inaccessible original archival sources. The Cranes argue that throughout the period in question, Czechoslovakia was victimized by the rival Great Powers as they attempted to forge their own separate spheres of influence in Europe. Among their startling new findings is their assessment that Jan Masaryk, their brother-in-law, committed suicide on March 10, 1948, correcting the Cold War myth that claims he was murdered. The book begins with an examination of the early years of the Czechoslovakian independence movement during World War I. Among the Cranes’ most notable discoveries are documents, until recently classified by the British Foreign Office, that demonstrate how Great Britain used the Czechoslovak Legions in Bolshevik Russia to fight the Soviets–contrary to President Thomas Masaryk’s desires and the arrangements he had made for their withdrawal. The next set of chapters addresses the events leading up to Munich 1938 and demonstrates the various roles played by the Great Powers in the ultimate “betrayal” of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Finally, the Cranes turn their attention to the immediate post-World War II period. They argue that American policies, based on stronganti-Soviet attitudes, were a major contributing factor in the defeat of democratic forces within Czechoslovakia by hardline Communists. Throughout, the Cranes rely on both their extensive research into primary sources and their intimate knowledge of the Masaryk family to offer the reader an unusually revealing account of the critical events in Czechoslovakia’s turbulent history. Must reading for Cold War historians, this book will also be of significant interest to students of European politics, particularly in light of the recent events in Eastern Europe.

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Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War by John O. Crane, Sylvia Crane
Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War by John O. Crane, Sylvia Crane

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