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European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
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Beyond Expulsion. The Emergence of “Unwanted Elements” in the Postwar Czech Borderlands, 1945–1950

Written by David Gerlach, this article appeared on the second issue of Vol. 24 of the journal East European Politics and Society in May 2010.
 
The article examines how the complexities of the Sudeten German expulsion and resettlement of the former Sudetenland spawned the notion that certain groups of people were unreliable or suspicious and, therefore, unwanted inhabitants. The intoler­ance and suspicion that setters, local and central officials, and others voiced toward different groups and actions directly related to the expulsion of Germans. The rapid influx of new settlers in search of German property and social mobility had a destabi­lizing effect on the region as well. The category of unwanted elements changed over time and reflected not necessarily the arrival of particular people but the problems unleashed by expulsion and settlement. The emergence of this category demonstrates how ethnic cleansing affected not only the targeted ethnic group but also how that process transformed people and places.
 
The article offers new insights into the increas­ing body of literature on this topic in Central and Eastern European history by expand­ing the focus beyond Czechs and Germans. By examining a range of different sources, it also demonstrates that local actors as much as central ones created and sustained repressive attitudes in the borderlands.

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