JF Ptak Science Books Post 1069
"In this war, we know, books are weapons"--Franklin Roosevelt, 1943.
This image composes the back cover of a very small (3 inches tall)
pamphlet, Unknown Country, published by the Inter-Allied
Publications in New York City in 1943. Its intention was to give a
background and some sort of name, a little understanding, to what was
Czechoslovakia, for the general reading public of the United States. By
1943 the pamphlet may have been a long time in coming, the Nazis
bullying the Western powers with threat of war if it didn't get its way
in stealing most of the country back in 1938--an enormous debacle, the
only decent thing of it being the necessary disgrace of Neville
Chamberlain and the coming to the Prime Ministership of Winston
Churchill. The business of the division of Czechoslovakia and the
killing of the country through the later months of 1938 is a dark and
sorry tale, too long to tell here properly.
The Unknown Country was heavy with democracy, the extremely limited successes of interwar Czechoslovakia,and the resistance movement--plus of course lots of pre-war history--all to provide some sort of recognition for this place in the news, an attempt to create a sense of "ownership" about what was happening there, a familiarity that would perhaps make Americans responsive to war news from far away in places that they had never herd of before.
One thing largely missing from this 94-page pocket pamphlet deals with another sort of crowd--the dead crowds of Lidice. This was the town that was used as part of the 1942 reprisals against the Czech people as their punishment for the murder of Reinhard Heydrich: and what happened there is that the town and all of its people were killed. Even dead people were killed, dug up, exploded, dynamited. The town was set on fire, exploded and then bulldozed. The people there were murdered on the spot or sent to concentration camps to be murdered there. Lidice was world-famous by 1943, but for some reason it was missing (save for a brief mention) from this pamphlet. I wonder why.
Here's a sculpture dedicated to some of the murdered children of Lidice: