My Father and I are huge war buffs and have seen some great war places in Europe already and are considering seeing Sudetenland and was wondering what to see, towns to visit and by far most importand is it worth to visit? Thank you!
Sudetenland is a rather big area all around the borders of the Czech Republic (not on border with Slovakia). Between wars there were about 3 million Germans living in Czechoslovakia. The area where 50% or more lived was called Sudetenland. So it would be good to decide which part of Sudetenland you want to visit. But now it does not look different than other parts of C.R. Most of that area has mountains therefore it's quite beautiful. In an area close to the border you can still find some bunkers as parts of border fortifications against Germany. It is worth to visit. Towns to visit: just to name few: Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne, Liberec, Jesenik, Karlova Studanka, Znojmo, Mikulov etc.
Mariensbad has a low key plaque honoring Patton in the park, i was surprised when I stumbled across it. When I wander around in CZ I'm always finding memorials that come from WWII, but they a are low key. On the last trip to Prague i found a statue of Winston Churchill on some winding back street. Enjoy the Sudetenland. I agree with the previous post, it is rugged pretty country.
>and by far most importand is it worth to visit? Depends on what you expect to see. The Sudetenland wasn't a "great war place". Only a small part in the west was affected by combat operations. Finding the "Sudetenland" is difficult too, since the Czech Commies not only expelled all Germans but often also destroyed all their traces. What you can find is a region which was turned upside down. Repopulation was only partly successful. There are entire villages in the mountains which are only used as weekend retreats. Many villages were not resettled at all. The Czech Gipsies were pushed into this border region, which led to huge social problems. Some areas were also destroyed by coal mining.
All this doesn't mean that the area isn't interesting however. The spa triangle around Karlovy Vary is very nice. The mountains like Bohemian Switzerland, Bohemian Paradise, the Giant Mountains or the Adrspach-Teplice Rocks are picturesque. Southern Bohemia/Moravia is a very pleasant region with beautiful towns. The towns in the north aren't that pretty, but they were more important for the history of the Sudetenland, like Liberec, which was the shortlived capital.
Actually Commies did not expelled Germans, they came to power in 1948 and Germans were expelled in 1945 and 46 by then president Benes with the blessings of victorious powers (USA, USSR and UK). Only those who could prove they were anti nazi were allowed to stay. The era is very well described in Madeleine Albright book: Prague Winter. Martin is right; some small villages are slowly depopulating and are mostly used as weekend retreats, but that's not specific just for Sudetenland. IMHO Liberec and nearby Jablonec are pretty towns worth to visit. Some WWII memorials to visit: Terezin, Lidice, Cyril and Method Church on Resslova Street in Prague. Dukla Pass Memorial and museum in Slovakia (place of the biggest battle in former Czechoslovakia in WWII). If you are interested in other wars than WWII then I recommend to visit Austerlitz battlefield monument and museum. It's close to Brno. Czech name for Austerlitz is Slavkov (not in Sudetenland, neither Lidice, Prague and Dukla Pass are).
Brendon, I would suggest also going to Pilsen on WW II monuments. The American Memorial is there, not far from the train station, ca. 20 mins, saw it in 2001. It's dedicated to Patton and his troops for the liberation of Pilsen. Depending on where you're coming from in Germany, you could see the first town in the former Sudetenland...Cheb (Eger), used to be a border checkpoint for passport Kontrolle. If you're in Prague and want to do a day trip r/t, I suggest going to Benesov to see Schloss Konopischt.
Just returned from a month in Central Europe. I am also a military buff and visited many of the sites mentioned in these posts including Lidice, the St Cyril & St Methodius Church in Prague where the Czech patriots were martyred, the road curve in Prague where Heydrich was wounded, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Dukla Pass battle area in Slovakia, Austerlitz and Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. All of these are in the "go out of your way to see" category. None of these are in the Sudetenland and actually there is very little of military interest there relating to WW1 or WW2. However, the Sudetenland is a beautiful area and all the towns that Ilja listed are worth a visit, especially Cesky Krumlov.
More and more young people speak at least some English. They have it at school. German could be also useful.
@Robert...Did you get to any of those battle sites by public transportation, such as Austerlitz and the Dukla Pass? Is a car absolutely necessary?
Car is not necessary. You can go to Brno by train or bus. From Brno by city bus #48 to Prace and then walk 1 km to Austerlitz Memorial and museum. Googgle Austerlitz battlefield for more information. Also this website would be useful: http://www.historvius.com/austerlitz-battlefield-504/ For Dukla Pass battlefield fly or go by train to Kosice then I would recommend a guide: http://www.slovak-tourguide.com/dukla-battlefield.html
If you want to do it on your own then probably you should rent a car in Kosice or Presov and get as much information as possible (I would start with googgling Dukla Pass battlefield). Speaking Slovak would help. If you stretch it you can do Austerlitz as a one day trip from Prague but I would not recommend it. For Dukla Pass you need few days.
Thanks very much for the information and tips. What about speaking German or even English as a last resort?
Once again I second Ilja's remark that many people in Central Europe, both young and old, speak or at least understand some English. Out of respect, I tried to use their language but quite often they would reply in English so in my experience the language problem was minimal. As to public transport to the sites I listed, Ilja is also right. With proper planning all can be reached by public transport. The exception might be the Dukla Pass battlefield. It is quite far from a major town and and covers a wide area from Dukla Pass to Svidnik so a rental car or guide from Presov or Kosice would be preferred.
The sites in Prague and Lidice can easily be reached by walking or public transport. Auschwitz by train and Maulthausen by a combination of train and bus. However, I visited all of these places by rental car with the exception of those in Prague. The roads and highways in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Austria are excellent and all you need is a good map or GPS to find any of them.
In case you are interested in the history related to WW2 some places important to the history of the Sudetenland are: Kadan, Most, Cheb - in these towns armed conflicts with several killed people took place, when the Sudetengermans d their own state according to Woodrow Wilsons 14 points in 1919 and the Czech army marched in and subdued the following large demonstrations. Other places with such happenings were Sternberk, Karlovy Vary or Usti nad Labem.
Spindleruv Mlyn, Bouda na Plani - the Planurbaude is the mountain hut were Stauffenberg received the bomb that was used in the attempt to assassinate Hitler. Brno, Chomutov, Usti nad Labem, Zatec, Postoloprty - these were places where death marches and pogroms took place after WW2, which killed several thousands of Sudetengermans.