Sudetes

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Sudetes

(so͞odē`tēz), Czech Sudety, Ger. Sudeten, mountain range, along the border of the Czech Republic and Poland, extending c.185 mi (300 km) between the Elbe and Oder rivers. It is continued on the W by the Erzgebirge and on the E by the Carpathians. The Sudetes are divided into several groups. Farthest west, bordering on SE Germany, are the Lusatian (Pol. Luzické) Mts; along the border with SW Poland are, from west to east, the Isergebirge, the Krkonoše (Ger. Riesengebirge), the Adlergebirge, and the Jeseniky mts. The mineral deposits of the Sudetes are varied, but working mines have begun to decline in numbers. Industry flourishes on both slopes of the Sudetes; glass and porcelain, paper, and textiles are the chief products. Home industries have long held an important place in the Sudetes. There are also numerous mineral springs and resorts. The region was largely German-speaking until 1945. However, the term "Sudeten Germans" designated all the German-speaking population in the regions of Czechoslovakia bordering on Germany. The Sudetenland, home of these Germans for centuries, has always been a part of Bohemia. The Sudeten German party, founded by Konrad Henlein in 1934, was an offshoot of the German National Socialist party. In 1938 the party became Hitler's chief instrument in the events leading to the Munich PactMunich Pact,
1938. In the summer of 1938, Chancellor Hitler of Germany began openly to support the demands of Germans living in the Sudetenland (see Sudetes) of Czechoslovakia for an improved status. In September, Hitler demanded self-determination for the Sudetenland.
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 and the annexation of the Sudetenland to Germany. The districts were recovered by Czechoslovakia in 1945, and most of the German population was summarily expelled.

Sudetes

 

a mountain system in Western Europe in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic. The Sudetes extend 310 km from northwest to southeast and consist of individual ranges and massifs separated by longitudinal tectonic depressions. An elevated edge of the Bohemian Massif, they rise to an elevation of 1,602 m, at Mount Snézka in the Krkonose Hory. The mountains are composed primarily of granites, gneisses, Paleozoic schists, and volcanic rocks, mainly basalts and porphyries; the depressions have Cretaceous sandstones and marls. The peaks are usually smooth, and the slopes are steep. The pectinate zone of the Krkonose Hory has cirques, glacial troughs, and other glacial formations. There are also outliers of weathered granites.

The Elbe, Oder, and Morava rivers originate in the Sudetes. The climate is temperate; the average January temperature ranges from –4°C to –7°C, and the average July temperature ranges from 8°C to 14°C. Annual precipitation is 700–1,400 mm; in the winter there is a constant snow cover. The lower parts of the slopes are covered with oak and beech forests; at higher elevations there are spruce and fir forests, which at elevations of 1,200–1,300 m give way to shrubs, meadows, and peat bogs.

The Krkonoše National Park, located in the Sudetes, lies in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The Sudetes have numerous balneological resorts, including the Polish resorts Lądek Zdrój, Polanica Zdrój, Duszniki Zdrój, Kudowa Zdrój, Cieplice Śląskie Zdrój, Szczawno Zdrój, and Sweradów Zdrój and the Czechoslovakian resort Janské Lázné. The mountains attract hikers and skiers.

K. G. TARASOV

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