I’m obviously finding Larrabee enjoyable on the whole, even if he indulges in a bit too much FDR-worship:
Tondelayo [a B-17 bomber] returned with eleven unexploded 20-mm shells in its fuel tanks, any one of which should have been enough to blow it out of the sky. The shells were sent to Ordnance to be examined, and when they were opened, each was found to be empty, no explosie charge — all but one, which contained a rolled-up slip of paper on which was written, in Czech: “This is all we can do for you now.”
Czechoslovakia was the first territory unambiguously conquered by Hitler. (Austria and the Sudetenland arguably wished to be conquered, calling to mind the saying about rape and a willing gal.) Czechoslovakia was also the location of the Skoda armaments works, the largest in Europe, which was promptly put to work for the Germans.
Skoda would later be overrun by, and put to work for, the Soviets during the Cold War. I imagine the Soviets were welcomed at first, given that they were not the Nazis, but after the Soviets frosted the Prague Spring no one had any business regarding Czechoslovakia as anything but conquered territory again.
It’s the Czech Republic and Slovakia now, ending the unnatural marriage that Hitler exploited so successfully, but they are at least a free Czech Republic and Slovakia. Gorbachev deserves a lot of credit, but then so does Reagan, who really ought to have had a share of that Nobel Prize.