Czech facts

December 17, 2009

"The mythbuster", your article on Mary Heimann's new book about 20th-century Czechoslovakia, itself contains myths (3 December). From it, readers may assume that since 1978 there has been no work by British or American historians that sought to demythologise the Czechoslovak state. This is far from the truth. One could cite many British or American articles and monographs since the 1980s that have engaged with sensitive subjects such as the Sudeten Germans, Slovak nationalism, postwar Czech nationalist revenge and Czech behaviour in 1968. Heimann has simply joined the predominant historical discourse, adding a useful synthesis that provocatively claims that a 75-year-old state was a failure.

Mark Cornwall, Professor of modern European history, University of Southampton.

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