The return of the victorious

It wasn’t a fault of the Czechoslovak resistance that the share of our foreign units in the final liberation process was considerably smaller than it had been expected. Only the members of Czechoslovak units serving in Red Army were able to welcome the end of the war on their native soil. The armoured brigade, except for a small symbolic unit dispatched to western Bohemia, besieged Dunkerque Harbour until May 9th, 1945 and also the aviators of Czechoslovak wings had to stay in Great Britain for operation reasons.

Fate proved unfavourable in the same way also to the resistance movement at home. According to the original plans there was meant to be an extensive uprising in Czechoslovakia. However, weapons promised from abroad never reached the country in a sufficient number. Only long after the war it was brought to light that the weapons hadn’t arrived because Czechoslovakia belonged to the operation zone of Red Army and Stalin’s Soviet establishment, despite their promises, had no real interest in providing military support to a democratic resistance movement. Therefore in May 1945 the home resistance entered the fights with great determination but virtually without weaponry.

While German supreme command was negotiating about the terms of signing an unconditional surrender and other European nations were celebrating the end of the Second World War, in the streets of Czech towns and districts hundreds of Czech patriots were dying in the last days and hours of the War.

After liberation the fundament of Czechoslovak army became the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps in the Soviet Union, which held nearly 50 000 men, including the members of the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Aviation Division. In May 1945 Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade with about 6 600 soldiers removed to the territory of Czechoslovakia. The base of Czechoslovak aviation became the 310th, 312th and 313th fighter wing and the 311th bombing wing RAF – British Royal Aviation Forces. By the end of March 1945 Czechoslovak aviation wings in Great Britain had about 1 500 men. Thousands of Prague inhabitants paid homage to these units in grand parades.

The return of the victorious