Karel Straka - The Covert Connections of an Asymmetrical Alliance: Czechoslovak-French Cooperation in Military Intelligence in the Years 1932–1938

The foundation of Czechoslovakia’s security architecture was formed by an alliance with France from the beginning of its existence. This alliance predetermined the direction, nature and objectives of the construction of the Czechoslovak armed forces. The purpose of the alliance was to preserve the Versailles system. The presented study explores the intelligence cooperation between the armies of both countries. It reconstructs its course, dealing with the main features, trends and significant influences that shaped or constrained it. From 1919, the French military intelligence had a major influence on the formation of the intelligence apparatus of the Czechoslovak armed forces in organizational and methodical terms. Before the beginning of the 1930s, however, a distinct and conceptually independent Czechoslovak intelligence developed. In the critical years of 1932–1938, it was a valuable and beneficial partner of the French military intelligence. However, the remarkably productive cooperation was dependent on the overall nature of the Czechoslovak-French relations. Their crisis first severely limited it in the course of 1938 and, subsequently, completely destroyed it as a result of the Munich Agreement.