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HOW TO CITE THIS SCHOLARLY ESSAY: Institute for Research of Expelled Germans. "The history and failure of expellee politics and commemoration." http://expelledgermans.org/expelleepolitics.htm (accessed Day-Month-Year).

This exclusive article documents the history of expellee political parties and lobbies in West Germany from 1949 until 1970, when West Germany and Eastern Europe slowly warmed their international relations. It analyses key factors why expellee lobbies failed to accomplish their objectives. It challenges assumptions that expellee groups failed because they were too radical, nationalist, or pan-Germanist. Instead, it shows that expellees were among the most progressive of their time in embracing mutual dialogue between East and West. However, expellee leaders failed not because they were too radical, but because they were too progressive and unrealistic as the Cold War evolved. For more, see our article as to why the German, Polish, and Czech governments have largely abandoned expellees after the 1970s.

Speaking before the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Nuremberg on March 18, 1968, Chancellor Willy Brandt announced his plans for a shift in West German foreign policy: West Germany was to reverse its longstanding refusal to negotiate with East Germany, Warsaw Pact states, and the Soviet Union by pursuing a new strategy of détente. Sitting in the front row, Reinhold Rehs, the leader of the Federation of Expellees, stormed out of the Bundestag and soon switched parties from the SPD to the Christian democrats (CDU) in protest.1 Other prominent expellees like Herbert Hupka, former finance minister Heinz Starke, and former Free Democratic Party (FDP) chairman Erich Mende soon followed suit. West German newspapers were quick to lampoon expellees as radical nationalists who refused to compromise with the nations that had forced them out of Eastern Europe after 1945.2 This negative portrayal mirrors the assumption held by many contemporary historians that expellees never moved beyond revanchism and pan-German nationalism. According to this interpretation, expellees lost the support that they had enjoyed from the West German government for the previous two decades because they failed to adapt to the changing relationship between East and West during the Cold War. Supposedly, the government was forced to abandon the expellees because expellees’ firebrand nationalism threatened the rapprochement that was central to Brandt’s foreign policy (Ostpolitik).

Challenging these assumptions, this paper demonstrates that expellees not only recognized, but encouraged the opening of relations with Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. In fact, it was the social democrat and expellee Wenzel Jaksch who presented the first initiative to the Bundestag calling for the normalization of ties with Eastern Bloc states in 1961, and with strong support from the SPD and Willy Brandt himself.3 The far-right approach to expellee politics proved to be a total failure in the 1950s. As a result, most expellees developed much more moderate ideas to accomplish their objectives. In the 1960s, expellee leaders steered away from revanchism and toward a new platform of pan-European integration, human rights, cross-cultural understanding, and compromise. Expellees even advocated the integration of East and West into a continental federation. Both conservative and social democratic expellees asserted this platform as a solution to the Cold War and the means to recover the homelands (Heimat) in the East.

Second, this paper argues that expellees failed to accomplish their objectives not because they were too nationalistic, but because their new progressive ideas went too far. Despite having changed for the new climate of the Cold War, “humanitarian” expellee politics remained impracticable, contradictory, and utopian. The expellees’ expectation that East and West would set aside their ideological differences and merge into a pan-European federation was unrealistic in the middle of the Cold War. The contradictions and lack of realism of the new humanitarian platform failed to convince Czechoslovakia and Poland that expellee goals were any less irredentist than they were in the 1950s. The Brandt government, while promising to support expellees, was incredibly frustrated that expellee leaders could not offer any effective plan that would secure the right to homeland (Heimatrecht) without opening old wounds and contradicting the détente that the SPD, FDP, and expellees considered necessary for the future of Europe.

Third, this paper challenges the perspective of many scholars who argue that the Brandt government simply “abandoned” the expellees in the course of Ostpolitik. Instead, I demonstrate that Brandt saw Ostpoltik as the only way that expellee interests could be served considering the lack of any practical alternative suggested by expellee leaders. Only after making concessions could Brandt pressure Warsaw and Prague to protect the expellees’ right to homeland. The paper is divided into three parts: the failure of the far-right approach to expellee politics; the humanitarian agendas of expellees in the 1960s; and the expellees’ responses to Brandt’s “Eastern Treaties” with Moscow, Prague, and Warsaw. Although expellees were remarkably progressive for the time, it was the expellees themselves who failed to understand the difficult realities that faced the Brandt government in the middle of the Cold War.

The State of Historiography on Expellee Politics

The changing relationship between West German governments and expellees has been documented extensively. Robert Moeller, Pertti Ahonen, Pascal Maeder, and Erik Franzen recognized the significant role played by expellee lobbies in West German economics, foreign policy, and German historical memory.4 While historians disagree whether expellee integration was successful, almost all point out that expellees enjoyed continuous support from the conservative governments after 1949. More contentious in scholarship is how Ostpolitik and the new SPD-FDP coalition (1969-74) affected expellees. Matthias Müller, Manfred Kittel, Andreas Kossert, and Andrew Demshuk depict progressive alienation and abandonment of expellees by the government by the end of the 1960s.5 Ostpolitik effectively destroyed the expellee lobbies. While I agree that expellees lost influence and became largely irrelevant after the Eastern Treaties, I show that Willy Brandt saw territorial concessions as a prerequisite for rapproachment before he could serve expellee interests. Expellees lost influence because of their own political shortcomings and their vague, contradictory ideas of “return” and self-determination.

In addition, while many historians recognize that expellee groups used rhetoric of human rights, the majority of scholars portray expellees in general as nationalists, revisionists, or even closet National Socialists. Ahonen argued that the reason Ostpolitik started so late was precisely because expellees refused to allow any negotiations.6 Gilad Margalit went as far as to argue that expellees thought the Slavic race was incapable of governing German homelands and that expellees “seemed to deny the very legitimacy of the Czechs having their own nation-state.”7 Kittel depicted expellee politics as “defiantly persistent” (“trotzige Beharrungspolitik”), only becoming more aggressive over time. David Rock dismissed them as being “stuck in the past” and ailing with “homesickness.”8 Franzen, like many scholars, described expellee leaders as latent Nazis.9 Most publications claim that expellees drifted ever further to the conservative right (CDU/CSU) or even the extreme right and refused to abandon the idea of a Greater Germany.

While I recognize that many expellees came from Nazi backgrounds and that some continued to use revanchist rhetoric, most historians do not appreciate that the expellees’ far-right failed in the 1950s.10 I do not argue that expellees ceased having nationalistic beliefs. However, the private beliefs of expellee leaders are less important than their remarkable public effort to reclaim the homelands through a new humanitarian vision of Europe. The most prominent expellees of the 1960s were moderate and progressive. Both conservatives and social democrats upheld the same basic platform of human rights, integration, and détente. Ultimately, expellees defected from the SPD not because they were stubborn nationalists, but because they resented that the Brandt regime had given far too much away with no guaranteed protection of the German homelands behind the Iron Curtain in return.11

To demonstrate how expellee politics adapted for détente, this project focuses on the political programs put forth by the leaders of the Federation of Expellees and the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft from 1960 to the early 1970s, including Wenzel Jaksch (SPD), Reinhold Rehs (SPD), Herbert Hupka (SPD), Herbert Czaja (CDU), Hans-Christoph Seebohm (CDU), and Walter Becher (CSU). For sources, I use expellee leaders’ speeches, newspaper interviews, parliamentary debates, manifestos, press conferences, and correspondence with SPD officials. While this paper addresses the stance of the CDU and CSU on the changing political situation, I focus on the relationship between expellees and SPD leaders like Brandt, Herbert Wehner, and Egon Bahr because of the SPD’s dominant role in détente. The positions of the CDU, FDP, and CSU on Ostpolitik have already been documented in detail.12 Although the new humanitarian platform was shared by both conservative and social democratic expellees, I highlight key differences when they are important.

Despite the expellees’ efforts to develop a moderate platform to accomplish their objectives, they failed to provide the SPD-FDP coalition with any realistic agenda that could return the homelands without threatening détente between East and West. As one expellee lamented in 1964, Sudeten Germans were quickly losing influence because they had yet to lay out any practical plan of action. He, too, failed to offer any suggestions.13 With no better alternative, Brandt proceeded with Ostpolitik and reassured expellee leaders that their interests could only be served through a pragmatic course of concession, compromise, and the burial of past grievances.

The Shift in Expellee Politics and the

Failure of Far-right Nationalism

By the early 1960s, there were more than four million members of expellee organizations, making expellees a significant force behind elections and in the reconstruction of the German economy after the war.14 The Federation of Expellees, the umbrella lobby representing all expellees, received political and financial support from the federal government well into the Brandt administration, while Bavaria pledged assistance to the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft and the 1,445,049 Sudeten German refugees.15 Because of the importance of expellee voters, all parties supported expellee organizations and their right to homeland.16 Until the Brandt government, there was little disagreement between the SPD, CDU, CSU, and FDP toward the expellees. All parties agreed that the Sudetenland, Prussia, and Silesia (the Ostgebiete) must be integral components of the German nation. Adenauer and the CDU assured expellees that “we will never forfeit our claims to our lands east of the Oder and Neisse [Prussia and Silesia].”17 FDP leaders defended the “inalienable human right…for the self-determination of Sudeten Germans and by extention for all other peoples” and insisted that the FDP had “tested every step” to ensure the “Heimatrecht of all peoples.”18 Willy Brandt, his close ally Egon Bahr, and SPD chairman Herbert Wehner continued to reassure expellees that “cession [of the Ostgebiete] is treason” and that their interests would not be forgotten.19 Wehner even demanded “reparation for the expulsions,” offered to “support the Landsmannschaften to the best of our abilities,” and insisted that the borders of 1945 “do not settle the right of homeland and self-determination.”20

With strong backing from the parties, the Federation of Expellees and the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft demanded the reunification of Germany, the liberation of the “Soviet occupied zone” (the German Democratic Republic), the return of the Ostgebiete, and restitution for property lost during the expulsions. Despite the expellees’ diverse political affiliations, the most visible and vocal expellee politics of the 1950s was nationalistic, irredentist, and viciously anti-communist. Indeed, expellees published about human rights as early as 1950 calling for a “partnership of equal peoples” and for “the establishment of a free and united Europe.”21 However, these ideas only became predominant in the 1960s and were overshadowed in the 1950s by the radicalism of expellee leaders. A recent study by Michael Schwarz confirmed the suspicions of many contemporaries that many early expellee functionaries were of Nazi and nationalist background.22 Many supported the far-right German Empire Party and the Socialist Reich Party. The first president of the Federation of Expellees, Hans Krüger, was a local Nazi official during the German occupation of Poland. The main expellee political party, the League of Expellees and Deprived of Rights, was dominated by nationalists and irredentists. Its two leaders, Waldemar Kraft and Theodor Oberländer, were both members of the Nazi Party, the latter having been a racial scholar (Ostforscher) researching in Poland.

While the Nazi background of many early expellee officials cannot be denied, we cannot characterize expellee politics in general as revanchist, nationalistic, or surreptiously nefarious. Particularly because of the economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder) of the 1950s and the federal program of public assistance (the Lastenausgleich), most expellees felt little pressure to pursue a radical solution or lead their own separate political party. Expellees continued to occupy leading positions in center-left parties, including Erich Mende (FDP), Herbert Hupka, Reinhold Rehs, and Wenzel Jaksch (SPD). Conservative expellee leaders, too, took a moderate approach to expellee objectives in the 1960s, including Herbert Czaja, Hans-Christoph Seebohm, and Walter Becher. Although we cannot determine the private beliefs of expellee leaders, expellee politics underwent a drastic shift away from revanchism in the 1960s. The expellees’ experiment with the far-right in the 1950s quickly proved to be a failed one.

At its height in the federal election of 1953, the League of Expellees and Deprived of Rights—the only expellee party to enter the federal government—attained less than 6% of the vote. By the 1957 election, the party failed to qualify for the 5% vote threshold and never entered the Bundestag again. Following the collapse of the League, most of its leadership defected to the CDU, CSU, and SPD, including Hans-Christoph Seebohm and Walter Becher.23 The far-right Socialist Reich Party was an electoral failure and was finally banned in 1952 for extremism. The German Empire Party barely met the 5% minimum, never had any real influence, and finally disbanded in 1964.24 By the end of the 1950s, expellee leaders quickly recognized that the far-right approach would not accomplish expellee objectives. Further, because of the strong support from the leading parties, most expellees understood that mainstream politics could fulfill expellees’ demands.25 A study carried out in the mid-1960s found that 45% of expellees voted for the SPD, 42% for the CDU, 6.4% for the FDP, and only 2.5% for the far-right National Democratic Party.26

At the same time that radical expellee politics failed, the Nazi background of many officials in the West German government and expellee organizations resulted in media scandals. This atmosphere of controversy further pressured expellee leaders to distance themselves from the far-right. Even future Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger was embroiled in protests after it was revealed that he was a member of the Nazi Party for the entire duration of Hitler’s chancellorship.27 Chancellor Konrad Adenauer forced Theodor Oberländer, the former head of the expellee League, to step down from politics in 1960 when his Nazi background made him a liability for the administration. Adenauer refused to support the right-wing expellee parties because he feared associating publically with Nazis.28 Hans Krüger, the first leader of the Federation of Expellees, resigned when his Nazi background became public in 1963.29 The next two leaders of the Federation would be social democrats for the next seven years, followed by the moderate conservative Herbert Czaja. Following the failure of the far-right and the Nazi fallout, expellee leaders recognized that more moderate ideas would be necessary to reclaim the homelands in the East. To this end, the vast majority of expellee publications and speeches after 1960 focus on human rights, federation, and cooperation between East and West. At the same time, expellee leaders were well aware of the changes taking place in European politics and the evolving climate of the Cold War.

Throughout the 1960s, many signs showed expellee leaders that Europe was gradually moving towards international cooperation, integration, and cultural exchange.30 Even conservative expellees like Hans-Christoph Seebohm underscored what they saw as a new era of Cold War politics and a “pull towards world openness” that was supposedly inaugurated by US President John F. Kennedy.31 The establishment of pan-European associations suggested to expellees that integration was a means to diffuse conflict and that rapproachment might be be a solution to the Cold War.32 Expellees admired that the European Economic Community and the Council of Europe, which eventually developed into the European Union, were already expanding rapidly after 1960. International human rights conventions reassured expellees that Europe was embracing new ideas of cross-cultural dialogue and minority protection, especially the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.33 When Czechoslovakia and Poland signed the latter after 1967, they embolded expellees to believe that the German right to the homelands in the East was both legal and feasible. At the same time, gradual changes in West German foreign policy suggested to expellees that the new atmosphere of rapproachment would be applied to the communist East as well.

Although they disagreed over how to negotiate with communist regimes in the 1960s, all leading parties agreed that some form of pragmatic cooperation was necessary to resolve the Cold War.34 For three years before the Brandt administration, the CDU, CSU, and SPD were in a grand coalition. Willy Brandt himself was Vice President from 1966-9, giving him a soapbox to assert the necessity for rapproachment.35 The conservative Kiesinger was forced to accommodate the more progressive foreign policies of the charismatic personalities in his cabinet from the SPD. In 1964, SPD chairman Herbert Wehner insisted on a “peaceful solution of the German question in the framework of a united Europe” and the coexistence between East and West.36 SPD leader Kurt Schumacher advocated “good relations” and a “just compromise with our eastern neighbors.”37 The conservative CSU, too, saw the need for “a partnership of equal peoples and ethnic groups” and “a decided contribution for the reconstitution of Europe,” while the FDP advocated “pan-European understanding.”38 Gestures of negotiation from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact also showed expellees that rapproachment would be part of the future of Europe.39 Since expellee leaders were aware that they had to develop new, moderate ideas to reclaim the homelands, the astmosphere of détente that was taking shape across party lines had a significant impact on the expellee politics of the 1960s.

Most proposals for European integration only focused on Western Europe. Few Western leaders went as far as to advocate the integration of East and West. It was expellee leaders who first applied “European” solutions to the lands behind the Iron Curtain. After the failure of the far-right in the 1950s, the new expellee politics of the 1960s advocated the merger of East and West into a federated Europe that guaranteed the self-determination of all nations and the universal right to homeland. The new humanitarian platform was shared by both social democratic and conservative expellee leaders. For leaders of the center-left, Europe would be united with a greater focus on mutual economic growth and free labor movement. For conservatives, European unity would derive from Europe’s Christian heritage and the Christian ethic of self-determination. Despite their small differences, expellee leaders of the 1960s were in firm agreement that the homelands must be returned through peaceful negotiation, integration, and détente between East and West. At the same time, what expellee leaders also shared was that their humanitarian ideas were vague, contradictory, and utopian, which would result in the failure of expellee politics during the Brandt administration. In the next section, the new expellee agendas will be analyzed thematically according to the main issues that expellee leaders outlined for the future of Europe.

Towards a Federated and Humanitarian Europe:

The Ostpolitik of Expellee Leaders in the 1960s

It was expellees who first proposed the initiative to negotiate with the socialist regimes behind the Iron Curtain. By the early 1960s, the staunch social democrat Wenzel Jaksch had become the most powerful force in expellee politics and had pioneered the shift away from revanchism, making him the “father of the expellees” and “the best of us,” as Willy Brandt would call him.40 Encouraging the federal government to stop speculating and find an active solution to the Cold War, Jaksch delivered what became known as the Jaksch Report to the Bundestag in July 1961.41 Arguing that German reunification required a “peaceful and salutary relationship” between East and West, Jaksch advised that “the federal government should seize every available opportunity for normalization…” Rapproachment should be a “cross-party basis of departure for a future of German Ostpolitik…”42 This should be achieved only through “the formulation of themes of dialogue that are in both sides’ interests” for East and West.43 Jaksch, like many expellees, endorsed Brandt’s basic ideas of Ostpolitik as “opening the door for a common market for the Eastern European lands” that would eventually help resolve the Cold War and provide the opportunity to return to the homelands.44

The debate in the Bundestag ended with full support from the CDU, CSU, FDP, and SPD.45 SPD chairman Wehner praised the Jaksch agenda, agreeing that “the federal government cannot forfeit the demands of the Germans and will actualize a just solution to the German question through a European security and peace order (Friedensordnung).” He reassured expellees that rapproachment would accompany the “alleviation of suffering” of Germans in the Ostgebiete.46 Willy Brandt himself praised the Jaksch Report as “the activation of Ostpolitik” and claimed that through Jaksch’s agenda “the federal government found for the first time a gateway towards greater diplomatic action.”47 He lauded the now-moderate Federation of Expellees as a “cross-party organization” that provided the opportunity to move forward with rapproachment.48 Indeed, it was expellee leaders who helped steer West Germany toward détente as the solution to the Cold War, German reunification, and the unresolved status of the Ostgebiete. The expellees’ new platform of negotiation was a stark shift away from the revanchist politics in the 1950s.

However, as would remain the case for expellee politics throughout the 1960s, the specifics of the Jaksch Report were unclear and contradictory. The expellees’ remarkably progressive ideas always accompanied an ambiguous position on what should happen to the Ostgebiete. In personal correspondence after 1960, even a moderate like Wenzel Jaksch was advised by contacts in the West to avoid clarifying the border issue in order to assuage suspicions of German irredentism.49 Although Jaksch seems to have genuinely believed his humanitarian ideology, the ultimate motivation for rapproachment was German reunification. It was not specified in the Jaksch Report what borders the reunified Germany should have—nor would it be by any other expellee well into the Brandt period. In the report, Jaksch insisted that normalization must be careful not to “surrender any vital German interests…”50 Around the same time that he delivered the report, Jaksch implied that the 1937 borders (i.e. excluding the Sudetenland, but including parts of Prussia and Silesia) would not suffice for a united Germany. Anschluß with the “German-speaking territories” in the East might be a “sensible solution,” but only with the approval of Prague and Warsaw.51 Overtly pressing for annexation would contradict the détente that the expellees outlined in the Jaksch Report. Partly for this reason, expellees never clarified whether Germany was to re-annex the Ostgebiete or whether expellees hoped to simply immigrate back to the homelands. However, we must not interpret the expellees’ vagueness as evidence that they were surruptiously nefarious. The expellees’ reluctance to take a clear position was the result of the impracticality of their own utopian ideas.

With Ostpolitik set in motion by the Jaksch Report, both conservative and social democratic expellees pioneered a new solution to the Cold War, German reunification, and the Ostgebiete: pan-European integration; human rights; self-determination for all nations; and the right to homeland. As will become apparent below, each of these themes epitomized that expellees were quite progressive, but unrealistic. Expellees advocated peace with the Soviets at the same time as they castigated the Red Army as the occupying scourge of Eastern Europe.52 Expellees demanded compromise with the Warsaw Pact, but saw communism as incompatible with the future of Europe because of its lack of human rights.53 They offered partnership to the Czechs but decried that minorities were suffering “cultural death” (“Volkstod”) in a “rotting land” under Czech communism.54 Expellees struggled to agree whether “return” (Heimkehr) meant that expellees would immigrate back to the homelands and keep them under Polish and Czech sovereignty, or whether the homelands should “return” to German rule. The conservative Walter Becher lamented that return immigration was “of course impossible” because of the Cold War, but insisted on the right to “return.”55 Hans-Christoph Seebohm agreed that returning was impossible “as long as [communist] unfreedom rules,” but he too demanded the right to return.56 Expellees emphasized that the Sudetenland was theirs under international law, but demanded the “free codetermination” of Czechoslovakia.57 These “grey” distinctions made it difficult for the Czechs, Poles, and the West German government alike to understand how expellee objectives could possibly avoid opening old wounds in a region still reeling from the crimes of the Third Reich. However, despite their shortcomings, expellees had a progressive vision of Europe that was quite ahead of its time.

The main program of the new expellee politics was pan-European integration. For expellees, the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall represented the unnatural division of Europe and the denial of self-determination to Germans, Poles, and Czechs alike by Soviet imperialism.58 Expellees envisioned a future with no walls between East and West, whether military, cultural, or ideological.59 For expellees, the integration of East and West would simultaneously resolve the Cold War in the name of cooperation, bring about German reunification following Soviet withdrawal, and open the expellees’ homelands for free settlement. If Europe could only overcome the antagonism between Western liberalism and Eastern socialism through détente and “de-ideologization,” all European nations could cooperate as democratic societies united by their shared cultural and historical roots.60 Herbert Czaja claimed that the gradual liberalization of cultural life in Poland marked the opportunity to promote “cultural exchange” and openness between Germans and Poles in a new Europe.61

For expellees, tensions could be diffused by breaking down trade barriers, promoting free migration, economic interdependency, travel networks, and even common currency. Herbert Hupka (SPD) hoped that interdependency would peacefully encourage the democratic and “revolutionary elements within these people [Poles and Czechs]” and help resolve the Cold War.62 Supposedly, integration would nurture Warsaw Pact states away from communism through “destalinization of historical thinking in East and West,” thereby “liberating” Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Ostgebiete at the same time.63 With democratization, Prague and Warsaw would soon guarantee the expellees’ minority rights and the right to homeland, lifting what Walter Becher called the “wall of silence” that the communists had imposed over the German language.64 Jaksch went as far as to argue that communism had roots in Austrian socialism, and therefore Germans could guide Eastern European communism towards a more humanitarian future for the benefit of both sides.65 Considering that they advocated these pan-European ideas more than thirty years before the European Union, expellee leaders were remarkably progressive for the 1960s.

With these goals for Europe’s future in mind, expellees lauded themselves as “the spiritual bridge between East and West” because of their descent from multicultural borderlands that Reinhold Rehs called a model “land of tolerance and freedom.”66 Jaksch argued that “the look towards East Europe lies in our blood.”67 From expellees, therefore, emanate the “impulses of cross-cultural understanding” that would make rapproachment possible.68 To this end, Jaksch organized detailed schematics for European travel networks, educational exchange, international public works projects, and commercial routes that could allow for the mutual growth and integration of both East and West.69 Jaksch envisioned a pan-European fund for science, education, labor, and technology that would bring about the “beneficial impulses flowing from one country to another.”70 Herbert Czaja similarly saw “youth exchange” and “contact between men” as a means to bring East and West together.71 Since expellees lauded themselves as naturally productive and industrious—and because there was supposedly a “shortage of investment capital” in the homelands despoiled by communism—expellees claimed that they would be a “balancing factor” that would benefit Germans, Czechs, and Poles alike if they were allowed to return.72 Many went as far as to argue that since expellees had contributed so strongly to West Germany’s economic miracle, they would anxiously do the same for Poland and Czechoslovakia as “pioneers of the future.”73 Economic integration and openness, therefore, were in everyone’s interest in Eastern Europe.

Although scholars often underscore the Nazi origins of conservative expellees like Walter Becher and Hans-Christoph Seebohm, conservatives publicly endorsed the same basic platform as more liberal expellees.74 In terms of their humanitarian outlook, most conservatives were just as progressive as staunch social democrats like Wenzel Jaksch. Despite their stronger opposition to communism, conservatives were adamant about the need for compromise, rapproachment, and pan-European integration. Herbert Czaja envisioned the “free existence of all people who live between us and the Russian people…in free statehood and in a federal structure between East and West…”75 Becher, like Czaja and Seebohm, encouraged European statesmen to move beyond the “capitalism versus communism” dichotomy and work together in “freedom through partnership.” For conservatives like Becher, both systems were “children of the same [European] parentage.”76 Where the conservatives differed was the basis of Europe’s shared roots that could bring East and West together. According to conservatives, if Germans, Poles, and Czechs could only overcome their ideological differences, they could unite around their shared Christian ethics of freedom, property rights, fraternity, and “peace duty.” They could forge a new Europe with “an equally-balanced distribution of force, decentralization, self-determination, and human rights” for a “free life” for all nations. Germans, Czechs, and Poles could appeal to the “Catholic call on the natural human rights” and the “principal of love,” merge into a “free political community,” and pursue a “European solution of compromise” for the Cold War. Becher and Seebohm went as far as to advocate a Christian United States of Europe that included the East.77 On this religious basis, conservatives were even more utopian and unrealistic than social democratic expellees. Since “the will for good, like for evil, knows no boundaries,” Walter Becher assumed that neither should Christian Europe.78 Seebohm even claimed that the expellees’ right to the Ostgebiete was as fundamental as God’s gift of paradise to Adam.79 Even some social democrats like Reinhold Rehs similarly expected NATO and the atheist Soviets to pursue more “Christian behavior.”80

Despite how progressive the expellees’ visions of integration and cooperation were, expellee leaders never explained exactly how pan-European integration could become reality. Expellees referred to an upcoming European commonwealth (“Gemeinwesen”) and “federation” (“Föderation”) interchangeably without ever defining how either would function. They never clarified whether East and West would integrate by simply opening their borders for free migration, whether Warsaw Pact states would join NATO and the European Community, or whether Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia would merge into a superstate like the Habsburg Empire. Through Ostpolitik, Willy Brandt eventually proved that basic rapproachment between East and West was possible. By contrast, the expellees’ expectation that East and West would merge in fraternity was unrealistic and utopian, especially during the Cold War. Expellees did not fully appreciate the tense geopolitical situation that faced the West German government, the ongoing antagonism between NATO and the Soviets, the influence of the Soviets over Warsaw Pact states, and the simple reality that there was a military and ideological wall that would continue to divide Germany and Europe for the next three decades. How could conservatives expect the officially atheist Soviet Union or the People’s Republics to unite with the capitalist West in the name of Christian ethics? For the dream of integration, the utopian character of expellee politics is perhaps most evident in the widespread admiration of expellees for the Habsburg Empire as a model of multinational integration.81 Considering that the Habsburg Empire was a system of ethnic inequality that collapsed into bitter nationalist and irredentist rivalries after 1918, how could the Habsburg model resolve the nationalism and antagonism that divided East and West at the middle of the Cold War?

The second platform of expellee politics in the 1960s was the call for universal human rights. Expellees demanded legal protection for all minority nationalities in Europe, the preservation of minority languages through multilingual education, the promotion of democractic civil liberties, and the human right of every individual to live in his or her homeland. For expellees, human rights would solve the Cold War and prevent future conflicts because human rights encouraged cross-cultural understanding, respect for self-determination, and non-violence (Gewaltverzicht). A “precondition” for ending the Cold War, according to Herbert Czaja, was the “examination and application of human-, ethnic-, and fundamental rights.”82 Wenzel Jaksch agreed that “the sociopolitical problems of the present [will be] mastered in the spirit of a humanist social philosophy” for the benefit of all Europeans.83 Human rights’ focus on cultural dialogue would also facilitate the pan-European integration that expellees envisioned for Europe. In the interest of peace and mutual prosperity, Europeans on both sides of the Iron Curtain would have to eschew nationalism altogether along with collective guilt for Germans, Poles, and Czechs alike, since expellees like Jaksch saw both as incompatible with the future of humanitarian Europe.84

At the same time, a global commitment to human rights would guarantee the cultural, linguistic, and political rights of German minorities in the Ostgebiete and save them from what Herbert Hupka called “cultural death” (“Volkstod”) and the “inhumanities under communism.” Expellees lauded Heimatrecht as a fundamental human right in line with the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.85 For expellees, the expulsion of Germans and the current borders of 1945 were in violation of international law because the “unilateral and violent acquisition and forced cession of territory…contradict leading foundations of modern state- and human rights.”86 Annexation and deportation were crimes that “only sharpen tensions” between nations until injustices are corrected by international arbitration.87 Human rights, therefore, demanded that the expellees regain their right to the Ostgebiete. Many expellees, particularly Reinhold Rehs (SPD), defended Heimatrecht by making legal references to the human rights laid out in the Atlantic Charter, the Treaty of Westphalia, and even the Nuremburg Trials and the Magna Carta.88 Czaja and Hupka planned to invite Poland and Czechoslovakia to sign a new pan-European convention on human rights for the benefit of all ethnic groups involved.89 Most expellees extended Heimatrecht to Poles and Czechoslovaks who resettled in the Ostgebiete after the expulsion of Germans and the forced transfer of over 810,000 Poles to the west after 1944.90 In other words, expellees envisioned that Germans, Poles, and Czechs could all live with guaranteed rights to homeland in the Ostgebiete.

Despite the expellees’ progressive ideas of human rights, here again their expectations were impractical. Indeed, just as expellees adapted for détente in Europe, expellees recognized the growing consciousness for human rights. By 1965, the European Convention on Human Rights had been ratified by almost every member of the Council of Europe. Nonetheless, the expellees’ efforts to apply these trends to the lands behind the Iron Curtain were unfeasible. Considering the ongoing antagonisms between East and West, expellees were unrealistic to expect any universal agreement between communists and democrats on any “fundamental” norms of human rights, individual rights, property rights, or governance in the early 1960s. No member of the Warsaw Pact signed the European Human Rights Convention, nor did the Soviet Union or East Germany. Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviets even abstained from the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights. A very loose international agreement between East and West on sovereignty and human rights was only reached with the Helsinki Accords almost a decade later in 1973, when expellees accused Willy Brandt of ceding the Ostgebiete. Above all, the expellees’ ideas of human rights and détente carried a fundamental contradiction. Expellee leaders from all parties—particularly conservatives—saw communism as antithetical to human rights.91 Expellees claimed that human rights could only be fully secured for Germans, Poles, and Czechs alike if Eastern Europe were “liberated” from communist totalitarianism and Soviet occupation. How could West Germany achieve détente with the Soviets if it claimed that communism had no place in the humanitarian future of Europe? How could East and West come together if one side accused the other of being fundamentally unethical?

The final major demand of expellees was the universal right to self-determination for all nations. The Soviet annexation of East Prussia (Kaliningrad) and the invasion of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 showed expellees that the self-determination of Eastern Europe (including the German homelands) was denied by Soviet imperialism.92 Like most expellees, Wenzel Jaksch claimed that all Eastern Europeans suffered “powerlessness…under the omnipotence of the Soviet Union.”93 According to expellees, a pan-European commitment to the sovereignty of all nations would resolve the Cold War because NATO and the Soviets would no longer interfere in the affairs of European states. For Jaksch, the end of the Cold War would inaugurate a “post-imperial” Europe united in cooperation and integration.94 Expellees absurdly expected both sides to withdraw from Europe in the name of humanity. Every nation would supposedly enjoy the inalienable right to determine its own economic and political system without suffering military intervention from abroad. At the same time, the problem of German reunification would be solved if the Soviets respected the self-determination of Germans living in the “Soviet-occupied zone” (the German Democratic Republic), since expellees assumed that East Germans would anxiously join democratic West Germany following the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Most important, the undecided status of the Ostgebiete would be settled if the Soviets, Czechs, Poles, and West Germans guaranteed that expellees could determine their right to their own homelands behind the Iron Curtain. Like their view on Heimatrecht, expellees insisted that the Germans’ self-determination would not infringe upon the rights of Poles and Czechoslovaks, since self-determination was a universal human right to be agreed upon by international mediation or plebiscite.95 Self-determination, too, was supposedly in everyone’s interest in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

However, as was so often the case, expellees never defined “Selbstbestimmungsrecht.” Expellees never agreed whether self-determination meant autonomy for ethnic minorities, complete independence, or whether the Ostgebiete should be “returned” to Germany. While never directly stating that Germany should re-annex the Sudetenland, Walter Becher suggested that Germany’s 1937 borders did not fulfill German self-determination and would merely replicate the same grievances that led to World War II.96 Herbert Hupka dismissed the Oder-Neisse border as a “non-viable basis for a stable relationship between Poland and Germany,” but he encouraged Poles and Germans to find a peaceful compromise that was in both countries’ interests.97 Hupka vaguely suggested that the Ostgebiete might be turned into a jointly-administered international territory as part of federated Europe.98 Herbert Czaja similarly envisioned international territories united by a “cooperative European reappraisal [of administration]…in the lands and the homeland of the expellees.”99 Expellees failed to explain how these vague political arrangements could function during the ongoing tensions of the Cold War. In the course of Ostpolitik, Brandt proved that East and West could normalize diplomatic relations. However, for expellees to expect them to jointly govern such controversial territories as the Ostgebiete was unrealistic, particularly since expellees expected the West to eschew communist ideas of governance as fundamentally unjust.

Equally problematic, expellees never agreed how European statesmen would identify the self-determination of disputed territories. Was the fate of the Ostgebiete to be decided through international negotiations, by a plebiscite among German expellees, or a plebiscite among the current residents of the Sudetenland, Prussia, and Silesia? The overwhelming majority in the Ostgebiete was now Polish and Czech. It is unlikely that expellees would have allowed the status of the Ostgebiete to be decided by Poles or Czechs alone, but by expellees living in West Germany. Since Poles, too, were expelled to the west by the Soviets after 1944, German expellees assumed that Poles wanted to leave the Ostgebiete just as much as Germans wanted to return.100 Many expellees went as far as to expect that Poland and Czechoslovakia would eventually gain a sense of democratic and humanitarian “reason” and cede the Ostgebiete. If expellees determined the vote in a plebiscite, then the Polish and Czech majority would not have a say in their own self-determination. How could the West German government avoid threatening Poland and Czechoslovakia if it demanded that Prague and Warsaw “return” the Ostgebiete in the name of self-determination? Since Czechoslovakia and Poland would be negating their own sovereignty if they ceded large portions of territory with very small German populations, Czechs and Poles were hardly convinced that the expellees’ new humanitarian politics was any less irredentist than in the 1950s.

Above all else, what best represented the expellees’ lack of realism was their continuing support for the Munich Agreement, which forced Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland to the Third Reich in September 1938 in accordance with the self-determination of the Sudeten Germans.101 Only six months later in violation of the treaty, Germany, Poland, and Hungary occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia.102 While the expellees’ support for the Munich Agreement may suggest closet Nazi sympathies, the basis for their support was human rights, rather than irredentism or revanchism. Few expellees openly advocated a Greater German Reich or directly called for annexation by Germany, even though this is precisely what happened in 1938. Even the most moderate expellee leaders like Wenzel Jaksch defended the Munich Agreement and argued that the Sudeten Germans’ right to homeland was codified under international law as a “human rights-binding act.”103 According to the expellees, it was the Czechs—not the Germans—who occupied the Sudetenland without any international arbitration, denied the indigenous Germans their Heimatrecht through ethnic cleansing, and resettled the region with Czechs and Slovaks.104 For Jaksch, the Czechs’ insistence that the Munich Agreement was unjust “from the beginning” was evidence that Czech nationalism and communism were denying German minorities their fundamental human rights.105 In accordance with self-determination and international law, expellees insisted that the Sudeten Germans must eventually be guaranteed the right to settle in the Sudetenland. For expellees, territorial conflicts, irredentism, and the Cold War could be resolved if Czechoslovakia, Poland, and West Germany committed to the human right of self-determination that was upheld by the Munich Agreement.

Despite their otherwise humanitarian intentions, expellees failed to convince Prague that Germans had no irredentist ambitions in a region still recovering from the traumas of Nazi occupation. In the 1960s, most expellee leaders denounced Adolf Hitler and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.106 The conservative Walter Becher, like Jaksch, argued that Hitler violated the freedom of Czechs and Germans alike.107 Jaksch insisted that “Hitler’s march to Prague” and his “rape of the self-determination of the Czechs” contradicted international law and cannot be justified.108 However, most expellees insisted on the legality of the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland. To Czechs, these “gray” distinctions and contradictions in expellee politics looked very much like the same irredentism of the 1950s. Czechs continue to describe the Munich Agreement as the “Munich Betrayal” (Mnichovská zrada) because it signified the abandonment of the Czechs by the Western Allies and because it initiated the traumas of Nazi occupation.109 In other words, the Munich Agreement—which expellees insisted was legal—represented the destruction of Czech self-determination. Since the Sudetenland now only had less than 200,000 ethnic Germans, Prague was unconvinced that ceding one of Czechoslovakia‘s wealthiest regions amounted to anything less than capitulation to German irredentism. In the course of Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik, there was no way that West Germany could defend the Munich Agreement without derailing rapproachment with Prague.

The Eastern Treaties and Brandt’s Continued Support for Expellees

With no realistic program offered by expellee leaders, the new SPD-FDP coalition of 1969 under Willy Brandt proceeded with Brandt’s agenda for Ostpolitik and “change through rapproachment.”110 In 1970, Brandt signed the Treaty of Warsaw with Poland, reaffirming Polish sovereignty and accepting the Oder-Neisse Line as the Polish-German border for now.111 Under the Basic Treaty of 1973, West Germany recognized the German Democratic Republic as a sovereign state for the first time, rather than merely a “Soviet-occupied zone.” That year, Brandt officially renounced all German claims to the Sudetenland in the Peace of Prague.

With the feeling that the West German government had forfeited the Ostgebiete, denied the expellees their right to homeland, and abandoned the expellees after two decades of support, expellees viciously opposed the Eastern Treaties (Ostverträge). Many defected to conservative parties, including Herbert Hupka, Erich Mende, and Reinhold Rehs. Following Rehs’ retirement in 1970, all of the next presidents of the Federation of Expellees and Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft would be from the CDU or CSU. However, the defection from the SPD and FDP to the conservative parties was not the result of obdurate nationalism or refusal to make compromises. Instead, expellees abhorred that the Brandt regime, the SPD, and the FDP bypassed “legally binding declarations” and capitulated to Moscow, East Berlin, Prague, and Warsaw without demanding the protection of Heimatrecht in return.112 Erich Mende reflected that he left the FDP because Brandt had allowed German minority rights to remain “criminalized” behind the Iron Curtain.113 Brandt lost his critical chance to protect ethnic Germans still suffering “harassment and threat” in the Ostgebiete.114 Herbert Czaja claimed that Brandt had reinforced the “legalization of injustice” carried out by Prague and Warsaw and had bowed to Soviet threats.115 Walter Becher, while supporting détente as a whole, rejected Willy Brandt’s “surrender policy.” He lamented that “overnight disappeared the belief in and the commitment to self-determination” and that Brandt had strengthened the Soviets’ imperial foothold in the West.116

For expellees, the Eastern Treaties negated the human right of self-determination. Brandt had signed off “without the simultaneous free participation of the Sudeten Germans...”117 In other words, the Sudeten Germans did not have a say in their own sovereignty. Herbert Hupka decried that the Brandt government had carried out the “second expulsion of expellees.”118 Czaja lamented that the expellees’ homelands were not a “bartering peace” for Brandt to pawn behind the backs of expellees.119 For conservatives like Becher, the Czechs did not have any say in the treaty either, since Brandt only negotiated with a socialist regime that was “not a feely elected government…”120 Expellees desired fraternity with the Czechs, not their current government. Since the far-right approach to expellee objectives proved to be a total failure in the 1950s and the SPD had supposedly abandoned the expellees, most expellees now found conservative parties to be their only option. The expellees’ increasing support for conservative parties was reinforced by the fact that the CDU and CSU were highly critical of Brandt’s Ostpolitik. Most historians today uphold the expellees’ perspective that expellees were simply sidelined and abandoned by the Brandt regime, including Matthias Müller, Manfred Kittel, Andreas Kossert, and Andrew Demshuk.

However, despite accusations that West Germany abandoned the expellees, in fact, the Brandt cabinet and the SPD-FDP coalition continued to pledge support for expellee objectives, expellee lobbies, and Heimatrecht. The Federation of Expellees continued to receive financial and political backing from the federal government, while Bavaria still subsidizes the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft.121 In personal correspondence with expellee leaders, Brandt insisted that the expellees remained “one of the great groups of our population.” He insisted that the Eastern Treaties did not signify “the loss of [expellees’] homeland,” nor did they “legitimate the injustice” of the expulsions.122 Egon Bahr asserted that “Sudeten Germans are losing nothing through this treaty.”123 State secretary Paul Frank reassured Walter Becher that the Eastern Treaties “will not hinder” the West German government’s “duty of assistance” to the expellees and their right to the homelands in the East, which would be revisited by future negotiations.124 When grilled by expellees in press conferences, parlimanetary secretary Karl Moerch reassured Hupka, Czaja, and Becher that “in the course of the signing” of the Eastern Treaties, the federal government would later ensure the “improvement of Germans living in Poland in the areas where they are still disadvantaged…”125 Moersch propitiated Becher with the promise that Czechoslovakia had already hinted at “secured minority status” for Germans in the Sudetenland.126 Following rapproachment, president Walter Scheel (FDP) confirmed that the coalition would pressure Czechs to protect the rights of German minorities and that these issues would be revisited later after relations between West Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland had normalized.127

However, for the Brandt cabinet, rapproachment necessitated territorial concessions, and only after rapproachment was achieved could Willy Brandt make any demands of Prague and Warsaw. Because expellees themselves failed to present a realistic plan to the SPD-FDP coalition, Willy Brandt thought he had no choice but to proceed with Ostpolitik and could only reassure expellees that their interests would not be forgotten. For Brandt, what expellees called “cession politics” was a prerequisite to secure “what builds for us the path towards a secure future” for expellees, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany alike.128 The SPD reassured expellees that Ostpolitik only fulfilled the expellees’ own demands for détente between East and West and insisted that rapproachment would be carried out “in the framework of a peace treaty measure” that served all parties involved.129 FDP leaders in the coalition agreed that Ostpolitik only fulfilled the expellees’ own dreams of pan-European cooperation and negotiation.130 Similarly, Brandt thought that the Warsaw Treaty was what most Germans and even expellees recognized as the next inevitable step for the Cold War and the unresolved status of the Ostgebiete.131 For Brandt, the Eastern Treaties had finally given expellees the “real possibility of returning [to the Ostgebiete]…”132

At the same time, Brandt expressed tremendous frustration that expellees opposed Ostpolitik so vehemently but could not develop or agree on any better alternative. When expellees like Hupka and Czaja interrogated Brandt about Ostpolitik, Brandt retorted that “I am for such Heimatrecht, but…I don’t know anyone [of you] who has any realistic suggestions.”133 Brandt deflected criticisms from Walter Becher by suggesting that he “be more realistic” and recognize the concessions that were necessary for the future of the Germans.134 Brandt knew that he could only establish peaceful dialogue between East and West if he reassured Warsaw and Prague that West Germany had no territorial ambitions over the Sudetenland and the Oder-Neisse. He knew that “recognition of Poland’s western borders,” like the Sudetenland, was “a key element of our proposal to renounce the use of force against our neighbors…”135 Egon Bahr saw cession of the Oder-Neisse line as a prerequisite for détente with Poland.136 The Czechs demanded the renunciation of the Munich Agreement as a precondition for normalization and even asked Brandt to ban the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft.137 East German radio consistently reported on the “revanchism” of expellees like Walter Becher when they spoke about the Ostgebiete.138 Brandt knew that while he continued to support expellee interests, Germany had to “leave the shadow of the Munich conference behind us.”139 SPD leaders defended Brandt by insisting that this was “the only way to come to compromise with our neighbors in the East,” that “there is no alternative,” and that “we must be ready to [sacrifice] for a secure freedom” between East and West.140 Like most expellees, Brandt knew that West Germany could not pressure Poland and Czechoslovakia to respect the expellees’ Heimatrecht until after détente had been achieved. However, unlike expellees, Brandt understood that West Germany could only normalize relations in a region still reeling from World War II by making territorial concessions. Because of the traumas of Nazi occupation, Germany was in no position to make demands until it made sacrifices to compensate for the crimes of the Third Reich, crimes that were still prominent in the minds of Poles and Czechs. Although expellee leaders of the 1960s were remarkably progressive for the time, they still failed to understand the complicated realities that faced the Brandt regime at the middle of the Cold War. While Brandt continued to reaffirm his support for expellees until the end of his term, he lamented that expellees must accept “the situation as it is, as it now has been for twenty-five years.”141

Conclusion: The Failure of Expellee Politics

As it is evident in the publications and speeches of expellee leaders analyzed above, it is inaccurate to characterize expellees in general as revanchist, nationalistic, or inflexible. By the end of the 1950s, most expellees recognized that overtly irredentist or nationalist politics would not secure their objectives. The expellees’ far-right approach to politics proved to be a total failure by 1960. The failure of the far-right was exacerbated by public scandals over the Nazi backgrounds of officials from expellee lobbies and the West German government, which forced expellee leaders to distance themselves from revanchism and adopt a more moderate platform. Further, because the CDU, CSU, FDP, and SPD all pledged strong support to the expellees, most expellees realized that their interests could be served by working within the mainstream party system of the federal republic. At the same time, expellees recognized the signs of détente and integration that were emerging across Europe. In response, the expellee leaders of the 1960s advocated a remarkably progressive platform of universal human rights, self-determination for all nations, and pan-European federalism that united both East and West. Both conservatives and social democrats presented this new form of expellee politics as a solution to the Cold War, the key to German reunification, and the means to open the Ostgebiete for peaceful resettlement. Even the most conservative leaders like Walter Becher and Hans-Christoph Seebohm, who are often critiqued by historians like Gilad Margalit as closet National Socialists, asserted the same humanitarian agenda as staunch social democrats.142 Moderate expellee leaders were among the first to advocate normalization and compromise with the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Indeed, even Willy Brandt praised expellees for their efforts to steer West German foreign policy towards détente beginning with the report presented by Wenzel Jaksch to the Bundestag in 1961.143

Like Willy Brandt, expellees recognized that détente was a prerequisite before the expellees’ right to homeland could be secured. In other words, expellees saw rapproachment and Heimatrecht as fundamental human rights of Europe’s future that mutually reinforced each other. In reality, despite the expellees’ humanitarian intentions, Heimatrecht and détente between Germans, Czechs, and Poles were totally irreconcilable in the middle of the Cold War. By definition, bringing up Heimatrecht would derail rapproachment because it pointed fingers for past injustices committed by Czechs and Poles against the Germans, which inevitably pressured Czechs and Poles to highlight the crimes of the Third Reich. Expellees failed to accomplish their objectives because of the contradictions, ambiguousness, and lack of realism of their own humanitarian ideas. Expellees unrealistically expected NATO and the Soviets to set aside their differences in the name of human rights and withdraw from Europe in the middle of the Cold War. Expellees denounced communism as incompatible with the future of humanitarian Europe, but predicted that East and West would unite and protect the self-determination and free will of all nations. Expellees expected Prague to recognize the German occupation of the Sudetenland as an act of international law, but denounced Hitler’s subsequent annexation of Czechoslovakia, an act that was made possible by the Munich Agreement itself. Because expellees themselves failed to develop a feasible agenda that would not damage international relations, neither Czechoslovakia, Poland, nor West Germany understood how to make the expellees’ demands a reality.

Perhaps most problematic, expellee leaders could never coherently explain their ultimate goal. They never agreed whether expellees should “return” to the Ostgebiete through open immigration in the federated Europe of the future or whether the Ostgebiete should “return” to German rule.144 By the 1960s, the homelands in the East had been completely transformed by the expulsion of Germans and the resettlement of Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks. The overwhelming majority of the population was non-German, making the Sudetenland, Prussia, and Silesia integral components of Czechoslovakia and Poland, both of which expellees claimed had inviolable sovereignty. Expellees often even implied that the Ostgebiete would peacefully “return” to their German character after the Germans returned because Polish, Czech, and Slovak settlers did not “feel at home” and would eventually go back “home” peacefully to the east.145 Would expellees truly leave democratic, wealthy West Germany and “return” to their socialist homelands? In a speech to the youth congress of the Sudeten Germans in 1968, Walter Becher addressed whether expellees would go back to the East given the opportunity—a question that was often asked by frustrated officials from the West German government. Becher suggested that expellees had little desire to return to communist countries with “dilapidated homes, no transportation and cars, badly dressed men” and the “personal unfreedom” wrought by the communist system that had despoiled the Heimat.146 However, Becher insisted that expellees yearned with all their hearts to return to a homeland defined by democracy, multicultural cooperation, and “true reconciliation…on the basis of human rights, of truth, of the disappearance of death orders [by secret police]…and the recognition of self-determination of all peoples.”147 Considering how unrealistic these expectations were in the middle of the Cold War—and that similar aspirations are still in the dreams of many human rights activists across the world in 2014—expellee politics failed to move beyond utopia.


In 2015, the leading Sudeten German organisation Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft made a surprising shift by revising their official language to avoid words like 'restitution' and 'compensation', words that have dominated expellee politics for over 50 years. These words are usually perceived as revanchist by the Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian, and other governments that were involved in the expulsions (Deutsche Welle, 2015). This is a very significant about-face because expellee lobbies have always maintained political agendas that seem very contradictory to those accused governments. Most prominently, Sudeten German leaders have often been confused why their positive demands for human rights, integration, and cross-cultural dialogue have not been taken seriously by Prague. Here again, the Landsmannschaft insists that they will act as a "go-between in the German-Czech dialogue" and work to denounce all human atrocities carried out against Germans, Czechs, Jews, and Silesians alike. However, Czechs continue to dismiss Sudeten German lobbies as revisionist, revanchist, or simply disingenuous when they simultaneously demand very vague goals like the "return" of the homeland and demand compensation for Czech atrocities. It remains to be seen whether the new Sudeten German political agenda will be treated differently by Prague.





1 Dietrich Strothmann, "Die schwere Bürde des Reinhold Rehs," Die Zeit, April 12, 1968.

2 "Oder-Neisse-Grenze, Gott behüte," Der Spiegel 24, no. 19 (1970): 27 and "Organisierte Widerstand leisten," in Ibid., 30-31.

3 Wenzel Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion (Bonn: Atlantic-Forum, 1965), 7, Herbert Wehner, “In der Zukunft verbunden,“ in Karl Kern, Sucher und Künder (München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967), 6 and Willy Brandt, “Speech on the 70th anniversary of the birth of Wenzel Jaksch at the Seliger-Gemeinde,“ in Karl Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer (München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967), 58.

4 Robert Moeller, War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany (Berkeley, CA:

Univ of California Press, 2003), Pertti Ahonen, After the Expulsion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004),

Pascal Maeder, Forging a New Heimat (Göttingen: V&R Unipress, 2011), and Erik Franzen, Der Vierte

Stamm Bayerns (München: R. Oldenbourg, 2010).

5 Matthias Müller, Die SPD und die Vertriebenenverbände 1949-1977: Eintracht, Entfremdung, Zwietracht

(Münster: Lit Verlag, 2012), Manfred Kittel, Vertreibung der Vertriebenen? (München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2007),

Andreas Kossert, Kalte Heimat: Die Geschichte der deutschen Vertriebenen nach 1945 (München: Siedler Verlag,

2008), and Andrew Demshuk, The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970

(London: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

6 Pertti Ahonen, "Domestic Constraints on West German Ostpolitik: The Role of the Expellee Organizations in

the Adenauer Era," Central European History 31, no. 1/2 (1998): 31-63.

7 Gilad Margalit, "The Foreign Policy of the Sudeten German Council and Hans-Christoph Seebohm, 1956-

1964," Central European History 43, no. 3 (Sept., 2010): 472 and 480.

8 David Rock, Coming Home to Germany? (New York: Berghahn Books, 2002), 29.

9 Kittel, Vertreibung der Vertriebenen?, 154-5 and Franzen, Der Vierte Stamm Bayerns, 364.

10 Particlarly Erich Schellhaus and Silesian lobbies continued to express firebrand irredentism well into the 1960s.

See "Im Alleingang," Der Spiegel, March 20, 1963. By the end of the 1950s, however, radical expellees had been

marginalized and overpowered by more moderate and charismatic leaders.

11 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971, 2.

12 See Markus Feldenkirchen, Die CDU und die Ostverträge (München: GRIN Verlag, 2002), Sascha Woditsch,

Ostpolitik der CDU/CSU 1960/70 (München: GRIN Verlag, 2007) and Clay Clemens, Reluctant Realists: The

Christian Democrats and West German Ostpolitik (Durham, NC: Duke Univ Press, 1989).

13 W.G. Crauford, “Ein unmissverständliches sudetendeutsches Programm?,“ Sudetenland (1964): 192.

14 Paul Myers, Population of the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, Ausgaben 1-4 (Washington, D.C: US

Gov’t Printing Office, 1952), 41 and Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 (New York: Penguin Press,

2005), 269.

15 Franzen, Der Vierte Stamm, 321 and Giles MacDonough, After the Reich (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 159.

16 Expellees gained such a central role in West German foreign policy debates that it was often said that “nothing happens behind the backs of expellees.”See Ahonen, After the Expulsion, 176.

17 Margalit, ”The Foreign Policy of the Sudeten German Council,” 466 and "Ehemalige deutsche Ostgebiete,"

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, http://www.kas.de/wf/de/71.9517

18 Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, “Zur sudetendeutschen Frage,” Sudetenland (1964), 282.

19 See Krzysztof Ruchniewicz “Ostpolitik and Poland,” in Carole Fink et al., Ostpolitik, 1969-1974: European and Global Responses (New York: Cambridge Univ Press, 2009) and “Programmheft zum Deutschlandtreffen der Schlesier,“ as cited in Landsmannschaft Schlesien, 50 Jahre Landsmannschaft Schlesien (Koenigswinter, 1999), 29.

20 “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 237,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, March 6, 1964 and “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 173,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, March 30, 1966.

21 See the Charter of Expellees: Bund der Vertriebenen, Charta der deutschen Heimatvertriebenen (Bonn:

Bundesminister für Vertriebene, 1950), Sudetendeutscher Rat, Genoßenschaft gleichberechtiger Völker (München:

Verlag Dr. C. Wolf, 1956), and ”Czech National Committtee and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Wahrung

sudetendeutscher Interessen,” in Louis Lochner Collection, Box 4, Hoover Archives, Stanford

University, Stanford, CA.

22 Michael Schwarz, Funktionäre mit Vergangenheit (Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2012).

23 Franzen, Der Vierte Stamm Bayerns, 273.

24 Luciano Cheles and Ronnie Ferguson, Neo-Fascism in Europe (Harlow: Longman, 1991), 71.

25 Eugen Lemberg, 20 Jahre nach der Vertreibung (Munich: Ackermann-Gemeinde, 1965), 17.

26 See Adolf Hasenoehrl, as cited in Wenzel Jaksch, “Sozialpolitik und Nationalpolitik in unserer Zeit, Patriot und Europäer (Munich: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967), 65-6.

27 "Mein Mann ist leider verhindert..." Der Spiegel, September 1, 1969, 86 and “Kiesinger socked in eye by

woman resenting Nazi past,“ in Martha Feuchtwangler Papers, 131:1, Hoover

Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

28 Margalit, “The Foreign Policy of the Sudeten German Council,” 466-8 and Wulf Kansteiner, In Pursuit of German

Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press; 2006), 222-4.

29 "Es kam auf ihn zu," Der Spiegel, January 8, 1964 and "League of German expellees unwilling to investigate

own past," Deutsche Welle, August 14, 2006.

30 Wenzel Jaksch, Gedanken zur Ostpolitik (Verlag Die Brücke, 1966), 29-32.

31 Wenzel Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion, 9 and Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, Festprogramm zum Sudetendeutschen Tag (Munich: SD Landsmannschaft, 1965), 10-12.

32 Among many others, these include the European Committee for Standardization in 1961, the European Free

Trade Association in 1960 and the European Customs Union in 1968.

33 Bund der Vertriebenen, Zum Jahr der Menschenrechte 1965: Ein Almanach (Bonn: BdV, 1966).

34 Although the Hallstein Doctrine—whereby West Germany severed ties with states that recognized East

Germany—was not formally renounced until the Brandt administration, all parties began to take a more practical

approach to Ostpolitik by the mid-1960s starting with the recognition of Romania and the opening of trade with the

Warsaw Pact under the Erhard government. See Willy Brandt, Friedenspolitik in Europa (Frankfurt: S. Fischer,

1968), 109.

35 Oldrich Tuma “The Difficult Path to the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Czechoslovakia and the Federal Republic of Germany,” 71 in Fink, Ostpolitik, 1969-1974.

36 Herbert Wehner, “Politik aus erster Hand,“ Sudetenland (1964), 191.

37 "Ehemalige deutsche Ostgebiete," Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, http://www.kas.de/wf/de/71.9517

38 "Erklärung der CSU in München, 3. Juni, 1961“ and "Erklärung der FPD in Bonn, 15. Oktober, 1964,“ in Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, Die politischen Parteien und die Sudetenfrage (Munich:

SD Landsmannschaft, 1966).

39 Herbert Wehner, Kommunalpolitik und Wiedervereinigungspolitik (Göttingen: Schwartz, 1967), 36.

40 Karl Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer (München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967), 62 and Karl Kern, Sucher und Künder (München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967), 14.

41 Wenzel Jaksch, Gedanken zur Ostpolitik (Verlag Die Brücke, 1966), 30. Like Jaksch, Reinhold Rehs (SPD) and

many other expellees expressed frustration over the lack of action on foreign relations with Eastern Europe and the

status of the Ostgebiete. See Rehs in “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 28,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Jan. 26, 1960.

42 Wenzel Jaksch, “In Osteuropa harren Schlüsselproblems: die deutsche Zukunft ihrer Lösung,“ speech delivered

before the Bundestag, June 14, 1961.

43 Wenzel Jaksch, “Bundestagsdrucksachen 2740/2807,“ July 1961, as cited in Jaksch, Westeuropa,

Osteuropa, Sowjetunion. 7.

44 Jaksch, Gedanken zur Ostpolitik, 20.

45 Wenzel Jaksch, Germany and Eastern Europe: Two Documents of the Third German Bundestag 1961 (Bonn: Edition Atlantic-Forum, 1964), 3 and 35.

46 “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 480,” Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, September 10, 1967.

47 Willy Brandt, “Speech at the 70th birthday of Jaksch at the Seliger-Gemeinde,” in Kern, Sucher und Künder, 58.

48 Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer, 58.

49 See the correspondence between Jaksch and Christopher Emmet of the anti-communist organization Friends of the

Captive Nations in 1962. Christopher Emmet Papers, Box 80, Hoover Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

50 Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion, 7.

51 Gerald Hughes, Germany and the Cold War: the search for a European Détente, 1949-1967 (New York:

Routledge, 2007), 77.

52 See Vladimír Štědrý, Wie wird ein Staat zum Satelliten? (Munich: Ackermann-Gemeinde, 1963) and Ernst Nittner,

Die Bolschewisierung Ostmitteleuropas (Munich: Ackermann-Gemeinde, 1962).

53 Demshuk, The Lost German East, 99.

54 Sudetendeutscher Rat, Das Sudetenland 25 Jahre nach der Vertreibung: Dokumentation über ein verfallendes

Gebiet (München: Tins, 1970) and Sudetendeutscher Rat, Menschen vor dem Volkstod: 200.000 Deutsche in der

ČSSR (Munich: Sudetendeutscher Rat, 1961).

55 "Brandt steht unter dem Druck von Kapitulanten," Der Spiegel, July 29, 1968.

56 "Interview mit dem Sprecher der Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft," Der Spiegel, May 27, 1964.

57 Sudetendeutscher Rat, München 1938: Dokumente sprechen (Munich: Verlag C. Wolf, 1964).

58 Bund der Vertriebenen, Unsere Antwort auf Fragen und Argumente zur Vertreibung (Wiesbaden: BdV, 1965), 6 and SD Landsmannschaft, Die deutsch-tschechoslowakischen Verhandlungen und die sudetendeutsche Frage (Geislingen: Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, 1970), 1.

59 Karl Anton Prinz Rohan, “Die Donau-Monarchie – Beispiel und Warnung für Europa,” Sudetenland (1964), 163.

60 Jaksch, Gendanken zur Ostpolitik, 19.

61 Herbert Czaja, Deutsche und Polen: Probleme einer Nachbarschaft (Recklinghausen: Paulus, 1960), 5.

62 “Inerview with Jaksch and Hupka,“ in Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer, 155-6.

63 Ibid., 141. Walter Becher advocated a peaceful democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia “from below up,“ since

this would supposedly liberate both expellees and the Czechs. See Becher, Freiheit durch Partnerschaft (München:

Tins, 1971), 16.

64 Ibid., 26.

65 Jaksch, Gedanken zur Ostpolitik, 5-10.

66 See Rehs, in Bund der Vertriebenen, Unsere Antwort auf Fragen und Argumente zur Vertreibung (Wiesbaden: BdV, 1965), 12 and Reinhold Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage und politische Aufgabe der Ostpreußen (Hamburg:

Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen, 1966), 11.

67 Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer, 121.

68 Rehs, Unsere Antwort, 12.

69 See the maps and annotations throughout Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion.

70 Jaksch, Germany and Eastern Europe, 17.

71 Czaja, Zur Situation, 38-41.

72 Herbert Czaja, Ausgleich mit Osteuropa (Stuttgart: Seewald, 1969), 37 and Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa,

Sowjetunion, 11.

73 Becher, Freiheit durch Partnerschaft, 22-3 and 44-5.

74 Margalit, “The Foreign Policy of the German Sudeten Council,” 204 and 464.

75 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 30-1.

76 Becher, Freiheit durch Partnershchaft, 8 and 31.

77 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 10, 14, 17, and 22; Becher, Wir und die Welt von morgen, 11; Becher, Freiheit

durch Partnerschaft, 29-30; and SD Landsmannschaft, Festprogramm 1965, 26-7.

78 Becher, Wir und die Welt von morgen, 14.

79 "Auftrag von Adam," Der Spiegel, May 27, 1964.

80 Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage, 3.

81 Virtually every history of the Sudeten Germans begins with a romanticized history of the Habsburgs’ supposed

legacy of multinational cooperation. See Rohan, “Die donau-Monarchie – Beispiel und Warnung für Europa, ” 121.

82 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 24 and SD Landsmannschaft, Festprogram 1965, 26.

83 Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer, 72.

84 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 29 and SD Landsmannschaft, Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen (Munich: SD

Landsmannschaft, 1973), 9 and Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion, 15.

85 Herbert Hupka, Unteilbares Deutschland (Berlin: Kuratorium Unteilbares Deutschland, 1960), 17.

86 Reinhold Rehs, Das Recht auf die Heimat (Bonn: Bund der Vertriebenen, 1961), 7-9.

87 BdV, Zum Jahr der Menschenrechte 1965: Ein Almanach.

88 See the many contributing legal documents compiled in Rehs, Das Recht auf die Heimat.

89 See Czaja and Hupka, "Menschliche Erleichterungen, Entäutschte Hoffnung,“ in Zur Situation, 15 and 44-5.

90 Bohdan Kordan, "Making Borders Stick: Population Transfer and Resettlement," International Migration Review 31, no. 3 (Autumn, 1997): 705.

91 Demshuk, The Lost German East, 99, Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 37 and Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa,

Sowjetunion, 11.

92 After Prague Spring, many expellees feared “Re-stalinization” and a massive campaign of Slavic settlement in the Sudetenland. Becher argued that Prague Spring “derailed” the Czechs’ hope for freedom. See Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage, 7 and Sudetendeutscher Rat, Das Sudeten 25 Jahre nach der Vertreibung, 60.

93 Jaksch, Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion, 21

94 Jaksch, Gedanken zur Ostpolitik, 12-13.

95 Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage, 10-11.

96 "Das Mysterium," Der Spiegel, May 17, 1961.

97 Hupka, Unteilbares Deutschland, 13.

98 Herbert Hupka, Geschichte Schlesiens (Bonn: Landsmannschaft Schlesien, 1971).

99 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa, 45, 48, and 62.

100 Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage, 15-6.

101 By 1938, over 75% of ethnic German voters in Czechoslovakia chose the Sudeten German Party, which by then rejected autonomy and advocated annexation into the Reich. See Ralf Gebel, Heim ins Reich!: Konrad Henlein und der Reichsgau Sudetenland (München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000), 58.

102 According to §1, the treaty guaranteed “the new boundaries of the Czechoslovak State against unprovoked aggression.” See “Munich Pact: Annex to the Agreement,” The Yale Avalon Project- Lillian Goldman Law School, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/munich2.asp

103 SD Landsmannschaft, Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen, 9 and SD Landsmannschaft, Die deutsch-

tschechoslowakischen Verhandlungen und die sudetendeutsche Frage, 11.

104 Walter Becher went as far as to call the Czech socialist regime “revanchist.“ See Becher, Freiheit durch

Partnershchaft, 10.

105 Kern, Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer, 118-20.

106 Like both conservatives and liberals, Wenzel Jaksch often repeated that his “heart bleeds for every victim of

Hitler’s tyranny, as my Jewish and Czech friends know.” See BdV, Zum Jahr der Menschenrechte 1965, 17.

107 Walter Becher, “Der Gedanke des Volksgruppentreches und seine Bedeutung für die heimatpolitischen Ziele der

Sudetendeutschen,“ speech before the Sudetendeutscher Rat, November 1969.

108 Kern, Patriot und Europäer, 118-119.

109 Jolyon Naegele, “Past imperfect- 64 years later, Munich ‘Betrayal’ still defines thought,” Radio Free Europe,


110 Arne Hofmann, The Emergence of Détente in Europe: Brandt, Kennedy and the Formation of Ostpolitik (New

York: Routledge, 2007), 129.

111 West Germany did not officially renounce the lands east of the Oder-Neisse without reservation until after

reunification in 1990. However, in order to normalize relations with Warsaw, Brandt agreed that Germany had no

claims or ambitions in Poland. The Sudetenland, however, was officially ceded by the Brandt regime.

112 SD Landsmannschaft, Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen, 9 and "Friedrich Hollunder to Willy Brandt - BAK B 137/5998," Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, December 6, 1970.

113 Erich Mende, Von Wende zu Wende: 1962-1982 (Herbig, 1986), 330 and 358.

114 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971 and and Konrad Badenheuer, Die Sudetendeutschen (Munich: Sudetendeutscher Rat, 2010), 107.

115 Czaja, Ausgleich mit Europa 10-12.

116 Walter Becher, Europa und die deutsche Nation (München: Witiko-Bund, 1971), 4 and 12 and "Brandt steht unter

dem Druck von Kapitulanten," Der Spiegel, July 29, 1968.

117 SD Landsmannschaft, Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen, 10.

118 Herbert Hupka, ”Eine zweite Vertreibung: Die Vertriebenen in der deutschen Öffentlichkeit,” Deutscher Ostdienst 41 (1991), 1.

119 Herbert Czaja, Der deutsch-polnische Dialog (Stuttgart: Eichendorfgilde, 1966), 15.

120 Becher, Freiheit durch Partnerschaft, 64.

121 Hans Erhard, "Beurkundung der Schirmherrschaft über die Sudetendeutsche Volksgruppe,"Free State of Bavaria, Munich, November 7, 1962.

122 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971 and Willy Brandt, Reden und Interviews (Hamburg:

Hoffmann/Campe Verlag, 1971), 243-4.

123 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, July 13, 1974, 3.

124 SD Landsmannschaft, Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen, 29-30.

125 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971 and "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, February 20, 1971.

126 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, December 15, 1973, 8.

127 Ruchniewicz, “Ostpolitik and Poland,“ 50.

128 Brandt, Friedenspolitik in Europa, 22.

129 “SPD-Pressdienst P/XXIII/62," Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, April 1, 1968, 2.

130 Volrad Deneke, "Stellungnahme der FDP zum Vertrag zwischen der Volksrepublik Polen und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, 16. November 1970," as cited in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, Bonn-Warschau 1945-1991: die deutsch-polnischen Beziehungen (Köln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1992), 220.

131 Brandt, Reden und Interviews, 243-49.

132 "Jahrgang,“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971, 2.

133 “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 470,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, December 11, 1970.

134 “SPD Pressedienst P/XXVI/48,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, March 11, 1971.

135 Brandt, Friedenspolitik in Europa, 186.

136 Ruchniewicz, “Ostpolitik and Poland,“44.

137 Franzen, Der Vierte Stamm Bayerns, 402.

138 Schwarzer Kanal, June 13, 1966.

139 “SPD Pressedienst P/XXVII/232,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, December 4, 1972.

140 “SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 152,“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, June 2, 1970.

141 Willy Brandt, Reden und Interviews, 243-44.

142 See Margalit, "The Foreign Policy of the Sudeten German Council.”

143 Brandt, “Speech at the 70th birthday of Jaksch at the Seliger-Gemeinde.”

144 There are very few publications by expellees in the 1960s that directly engage the issue of “return.” Many

expellees claimed that their ultimate goal was to return “home,” but only after communism fell. See Bund der

Vertriebenen, Unsere Antwort auf Fragen und Argumente zur Vertreibung, 25.

145 Rehs, Die geistige Grundlage, 15-6.

146 Walter Becher, “Speech to Youth Congress [of the Sudeten Germans],” delivered October, 1968, as cited in

Becher, Freiheit durch Partnerschaft, 40-43.

147 Becher, Europa und die deutsche Nation, 12.



Archival Documents

Christopher Emmet Papers, Box 80. Hoover Archives. Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Louis Lochner Collection, Box 4. Hoover Archives. Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Martha Feuchtwangler Papers, Box 131. Hoover Archives. Stanford University, Stanford, CA.


Newspaper, Journal, and Magazine Articles

"Auftrag von Adam." Der Spiegel, May 27, 1964.

"Brandt steht unter dem Druck von Kapitulanten." Der Spiegel, July 29, 1968.

"Das Mysterium." Der Spiegel, May 17, 1961.

"Es kam auf ihn zu." Der Spiegel, January 8, 1964.

"Im Alleingang." Der Spiegel, March 20, 1963.

"Interview mit dem Sprecher der Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft." Der Spiegel, May 27, 1964.

"Jahrgang.“ Das Parlament, January 30, 1971.

"Jahrgang.“ Das Parlament. February 20, 1971.

"Jahrgang.“ Das Parlament, December 15, 1973.

"Jahrgang.“ Das Parlament, July 13, 1974.

"League of German expellees unwilling to investigate own past." Deutsche Welle. August 14, 2006.

"Mein Mann ist leider verhindert..." Der Spiegel, September 1, 1969.

"Oder-Neisse-Grenze, Gott behüte." Der Spiegel 24, no. 19 (1970): 27.

"Organisierte Widerstand leisten." Der Spiegel 24, no 19 (1970): 30-31.

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft. Sudetenland (1964).

"German Sudetenland group revises charter to exclude 'reclamation of homeland.' Deutsche Welle, 2015. www.dw.de/german-sudetenland-group-revises-charter-to-exclude-reclamation-of-homeland/a-18288165.


Press Releases, Speeches, and Correspondence

Becher, Walter. “Der Gedanke des Volksgruppentreches und seine Bedeutung für die heimatpolitischen Ziele der Sudetendeutschen.“ Speech before the Sudetendeutscher Rat, November 1969.

Brandt,Willy. Reden und Interviews. Hamburg: Hoffmann/Campe Verlag, 1971.

"Friedrich Hollunder to Willy Brandt - BAK B 137/5998." Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. December 6, 1970.

SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 28.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. January 26, 1960.

“SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 237.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. March 6, 1964.

“SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 173.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. March 30, 1966.

“SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 480.” Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. September 10, 1967.

SPD-Pressdienst P/XXIII/62." Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. April 1, 1968.

SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 470.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. December 11, 1970.

SPD Pressemitteilung Nr. 152.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. June 2, 1970.

SPD Pressedienst P/XXVI/48.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. March 11, 1971.

“SPD Pressedienst P/XXVII/232.“ Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, December 4, 1972.


Publications and Documents

Czaja, Herbert. Deutsche und Polen: Probleme einer Nachbarschaft. Recklinghausen: Paulus, 1960.

Czaja, Herbert. Zur Situation. München: Ackermann Gemeinde, 1969.

Czaja, Herbert. Ausgleich mit Osteuropa. Stuttgart: Seewald, 1969.

Czaja, Herbert. Der deutsch-polnische Dialog. Stuttgart: Eichendorfgilde, 1966.

Hupka, Herbert. ”Eine zweite Vertreibung. Die Vertriebenen in der deutschen Öffentlichkeit.” Deutscher Ostdienst 41 (1991).

Hupka, Herbert, and Otto Pückler. Geschichte Schlesiens. Bonn: Landsmannschaft Schlesien, 1971.

Hupka, Herbert. Unteilbares Deutschland. Ein Rechenschaftsbericht 1954 bis 1960. Berlin:Kuratorium Unteilbares Deutschland, 1960.

Jaksch, Wenzel. Gedanken zur Ostpolitik. Verlag Die Brücke, 1966.

Jaksch, Wenzel. Germany and Eastern Europe: Two Documents of the Third German Bundestag 1961. Bonn: Edition Atlantic-Forum, 1964.

Jaksch, Wenzel. Westeuropa, Osteuropa, Sowjetunion: Perspektive wirschaftlicher Zusammenarbeit. New York: Atlantic Forum, 1965.

Kern, Karl. Sucher und Künder. München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967.

Kern, Karl. Wenzel Jaksch: Patriot und Europäer. München: Verlag Die Brücke, 1967.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. “Ehemalige deutsche Ostgebiete.“ http://www.kas.de/wf/de/71.9517.

Landsmannschaft Schlesien. 50 Jahre Landsmannschaft Schlesien: Eine Dokumentation. Koenigswinter, 1999.

Lemberg, Eugen. 20 Jahre nach der Vertreibung. Munich: Ackermann-Gemeinde, 1965.

Mende, Erich. Von Wende zu Wende: 1962-1982. Herbig, 1986.

Menschen vor dem Volkstod: 200.000 Deutsche in der ČSSR. Munich: Sudetendeutscher Rat, 1961.

Munich Pact: Annex to the Agreement.” The Yale Avalon Project- Lillian Goldman Law School. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/munich2.asp.

Myers, Paul. Population of the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin, Ausgaben 1-4. Washington, D.C: US Government Printing Office, 1952.

Rehs, Reinhold. Das Recht auf die Heimat. Bonn: Bund der Vertriebenen, 1961.

Rehs, Reinhold. Die geistige Grundlage und politische Aufgabe der Ostpreußen. Hamburg: Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen, 1966.

Štědrý, Vladimír. Wie wird ein Staat zum Satelliten?: der Februarputsch in der Tschechoslowakei Munich: Ackermann-Gemeinde, 1963.

Strothmann, Dietrich. "Die schwere Bürde des Reinhold Rehs." Die Zeit, April 12, 1968.

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft Bayern. “Sudetendeutsche in Bayern heute- Aufname in Bayern,“ http://www.sudetenby.de/heimatpflege/Aufnahme.htm

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft. Die deutsch-tschechoslowakischen Verhandlungen und die sudetendeutsche Frage. Geislingen: Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, 1970.

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft. Die politischen Parteien und die Sudetenfrage. Munich:Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, 1966.

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft. Festprogramm zum Sudetendeutschen Tag. Munich: SD Landsmannschaft, 1965.

Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft. Rechtsverwahrung der Sudetendeutschen. Munich: SD Landsmannschaft, 1973.

Sudetendeutscher Rat. Genoßenschaft gleichberechtiger Völker: Tschechisch-sudetendeutsche Beziehung als Problem westlicher Friendens- und Freiheitspolitik. München: Verlag Dr. C. Wolf, 1956.

Sudetendeutscher Rat. Das Sudetenland 25 Jahre n.d. Vertreibung: Dokumentation über ein verfallendes Gebiet. B.

Tins, 1970.

Sudetendeutscher Rat. München 1938: Dokumente sprechen. Munich:Verlag C. Wolf, 1964.

Wehner, Herbert. Kommunalpolitik und Wiedervereinigungspolitik. Göttingen: Schwartz, 1967.


Ahonen, Pertti. After the Expulsion: West Germany and Eastern Europe 1945-1990. New York,

NY: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Ahonen, Pertti. "Domestic Constraints on West German Ostpolitik: The Role of the Expellee Organizations in the Adenauer Era." Central European History 31, no 1/2 (1998): 31-63.

Cheles, Luciano. Neo-Fascism in Europe. Harlow: Longman, 1991.

Clemens, Clay. Reluctant Realists: The Christian Democrats and West German Ostpolitik, 1969-1982. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1989.

Cohen, Gerard. In War's Wake: Europe's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Demshuk, Andrew. The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory. London: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Franzen, Erik. Der Vierte Stamm Bayerns: Die Schirmherrschaft über Die Sudetendeutschen 1954-1974. München: R. Oldenbourg, 2010.

Feldenkirchen, Markus. Die CDU und die Ostverträge. München: GRIN Verlag, 2002.

Fink, Carole et al. Ostpolitik, 1969-1974: European and Global Responses. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Gebel, Ralf. Heim ins Reich!: Konrad Henlein und der Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938-1945). München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000.

Hofmann, Arne. The Emergence of Détente in Europe: Brandt, Kennedy and the Formation of Ostpolitik. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Hughes, Gerald. Germany and the Cold War: the search for a European Détente, 1949-1967. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Jacobsen, Hans-Adolf. Bonn-Warschau 1945-1991: die deutsch-polnischen Beziehungen, Analyse

und Dokumentation. Köln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1992.

Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. New York: Penguin Press, 2005.

Kansteiner, Wulf. In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press; 2006.

Kilian, Werner. Die Hallstein-Doktrin. Der diplomatische Krieg zwischen der BRD und der DDR 1955–1973. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001

Kittel, Manfred. Vertreibung der Vertriebenen?: der historische deutsche Osten in der Erinnerungskultur der Bundesrepublik. München: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2007.

Kordan, Bohdan. "Making Borders Stick: Population Transfer and Resettlement in the Trans Curzon Territories, 1944-1949." International Migration Review 31, no. 3 (Autumn, 1997): 705.

Kossert, Andreas. Kalte Heimat: Die Geschichte der deutschen Vertriebenen nach 1945. München: Siedler Verlag, 2008.

MacDonough, Giles. After the Reich. New York: Basic Books, 2009.

Maeder, Pascal. Forging a New Heimat. Göttingen: V&R unipress GmbH, 2011.

Margalit, Gilad. "The Foreign Policy of the Sudeten German Council and Hans-Christoph Seebohm, 1956-1964" Central European History 43, no 3 (Sept., 2010): 472-480.

Moeller, Robert. War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany. Berkeley, CA: Univ of California Press, 2003.

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