Sudetes (sōdēˈtēz) [key], 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 Pact 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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