In Slavic languages, the word "Svoboda" translates to "freedom", or sometimes "liberty". Charles Games, a Czech Republic developer/publisher today announced their new FMV adventure Svoboda 1945: Liberation, which looks at the history of Central European countries post WWII.
Here in the United States, the history we learn about WWII mostly focuses on the biggest of big players. We hear about the blitz of London, the war in the Pacific, the siege of Stalingrad. But there are many countries that were deeply involved in the war - actively fighting on their native soil - that we simply brush past. The topic is too big, and it is taught to children too young to fully comprehend the global human impact of such an event.
Svoboda 1945 looks as though it is taking a very personal look at the fallout from the war. Charles Games state that they "wrote the game with professional historians and it deals with post-war mass expulsions, [and the] troubled past that is still controversial in Central Europe & especially our home Czech republic."
According to the press release, "Svoboda 1945 takes place in a small village in the Czech borderlands. How did the forced expulsions and the communist coup d'état affected it's face? Can the horrors of war justify the violence after its end? Your grandpa was somehow in the center of all this, but the details are missing. What happened?"
As this is an historic event that I was completely unfamiliar with, I ended up going down a Google-hole, researching what these 'forced expulsions' were all about. To make a very complex topic overly brief: after WWII, Czech resistance groups demanded the deportation of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). After gaining popular support with the government, these deportations were carried out by both local government factions, and armed public militia.
Thousands of ethnic Germans were killed in the process. Around 1.6 million ethnic Germans were tossed into West German, with 800,000 being deported to East Germany. In 1958, the West German government estimated the death toll of these actions to be about 270,000, though this number has been disputed, with Czech records showing the number to be around 23,000.
Regardless, this action - taken as a backlash against the German occupation of Czechoslovakia during WWII - largely replicated many of the atrocities of that war, including massacres and interment camps. As recently as 1997, the Czech Republic and Germany were negotiating treaties and apologies to each other over these events.
Obviously, that is a lot to cover in an FMV game, and the history is deeply complex and fraught. But hopefully knowing the barest outline of the history will help players understand the events of the game. For more information of Svoboda 1945: Liberation, check out the game's Steam page here.
Svoboda 1945: Liberation is scheduled to release in Q1 of 2021. Gaming Nexus will bring more details as they become available.