Forced Migration, Staying Minorities, and New Societies: Evidence from Postwar Czechoslovakia

Can staying minorities who evade ethnic cleansing affect political outcomes in resettled communities? After World War Two, three million ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, but some were allowed to stay, many of them left-leaning antifascists. We study quasi-experimental local variation in expulsion policies, a result of the surprising presence of the U.S. Army, which indirectly helped antifascist Germans stay. We find a long-lasting footprint: Communist party support, party cells, and far-left values are stronger today where antifascist Germans stayed in larger numbers. Postwar German Communist elites appear to be behind this effect along with the intergenerational transmission of values among active party members.

16. April 2024

Authors Jakub Grossmann Štěpán Jurajda Felix Rösel

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