Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia

Overview
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia (Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko) was a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992. From 1939 to 1945, the state did not de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 exist because of its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
Czechoslovak government-in-exile
The Czechoslovak government-in-exile was an informal title conferred upon the Czechoslovak National Liberation Committee, initially by British diplomatic recognition. The name came to be used by other World War II Allies as they subsequently recognized it...

 nevertheless continued to exist during this period.
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Timeline

1918   World War I: Czechoslovakia is granted independence from Austria-Hungary marking the beginning of independent Czechoslovak state, after 300 years.

1918   Czechoslovakia becomes a republic.

1919   Austria and the Allies sign the Treaty of Saint-Germain recognizing the independence of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

1938   Adolf Hitler demands autonomy and self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1938   Mobilization of the Czechoslovak army in response to the Munich Crisis.

1938   At 2:00 am, Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to occupy the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1939   World War II: German troops occupy the remaining part of Bohemia and Moravia; Czechoslovakia ceases to exist.

1942   World War II: in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazis in Czechoslovakia kill over 1,800 people.

1944   Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia.

1948   Communist revolution in Czechoslovakia.

 
Encyclopedia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia (Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko) was a sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992. From 1939 to 1945, the state did not de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 exist because of its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
Czechoslovak government-in-exile
The Czechoslovak government-in-exile was an informal title conferred upon the Czechoslovak National Liberation Committee, initially by British diplomatic recognition. The name came to be used by other World War II Allies as they subsequently recognized it...

 nevertheless continued to exist during this period. In 1945, the eastern part of Carpathian Ruthenia
Carpathian Ruthenia
Carpathian Ruthenia is a region in Eastern Europe, mostly located in western Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast , with smaller parts in easternmost Slovakia , Poland's Lemkovyna and Romanian Maramureş.It is...

 was taken over by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split
Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
The dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined separation of the federal state of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities which had arisen in 1969 within the framework of Czechoslovak federalisation, became...

 into the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 
and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

.

Basic characteristics


Form of state:
  • 1918 - 1938: A democratic republic.
  • 1938 - 1939: After annexation of Sudetenland
    Sudetenland
    Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

     by Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     in 1938, the region gradually turned into a state with loosened connections between Czech, Slovak, and Ruthenian parts. A large strip of southern Slovakia and Ruthenia
    Ruthenia
    Ruthenia is the Latin word used onwards from the 13th century, describing lands of the Ancient Rus in European manuscripts. Its geographic and culturo-ethnic name at that time was applied to the parts of Eastern Europe. Essentially, the word is a false Latin rendering of the ancient place name Rus...

     was annexed by Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    , and the Zaolzie
    Zaolzie
    Zaolzie is the Polish name for an area now in the Czech Republic which was disputed between interwar Poland and Czechoslovakia. The name means "lands beyond the Olza River"; it is also called Śląsk zaolziański, meaning "trans-Olza Silesia". Equivalent terms in other languages include Zaolší in...

     region was annexed by Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    .
  • 1939 - 1945: The region split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
    Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
    The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

     and the Slovak Republic
    Slovak Republic (1939-1945)
    The Slovak Republic , also known as the First Slovak Republic or the Slovak State , was a fascist state which existed from 14 March 1939 to 8 May 1945 as a puppet state of Nazi Germany. It existed on roughly the same territory as present-day Slovakia...

    . A government-in-exile
    Czechoslovak government-in-exile
    The Czechoslovak government-in-exile was an informal title conferred upon the Czechoslovak National Liberation Committee, initially by British diplomatic recognition. The name came to be used by other World War II Allies as they subsequently recognized it...

     continued to exist in London, supported by the United Kingdom, United States and its Allies; after German invasion of Russia, it was also recognised by the USSR. Czechoslovakia was part of Declaration by United Nations
    Declaration by United Nations
    The Declaration by United Nations was a World War II document agreed to on January 1, 1942 during the Arcadia Conference by 26 governments: the Allied "Big Four" , nine American allies in Central America and the Caribbean, the four British Dominions, British India, and eight Allied...

     and was a founding member of United Nations
    United Nations
    The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

    .
  • 1946 - 1948: The country was governed by a coalition government with Communist ministers, with the prime minister and the minister of interior. Carpathian Ruthenia
    Carpathian Ruthenia
    Carpathian Ruthenia is a region in Eastern Europe, mostly located in western Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast , with smaller parts in easternmost Slovakia , Poland's Lemkovyna and Romanian Maramureş.It is...

     was ceded to the USSR.
  • 1948 - 1989: The country became a communist state
    Communist state
    A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

     with a centrally planned economy
    Planned economy
    A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

    . In 1960, the country officially became a socialist republic
    Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
    The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

    .
  • 1969 - 1990: The federal
    Federation
    A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

     republic consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic
    Czech Socialist Republic
    From 1969 to 1990, the Czech Socialist Republic was the official name of that part of Czechoslovakia that is the Czech Republic today. The name was used from 1 January 1969 to March 1990....

     and the Slovak Socialist Republic
    Slovak Socialist Republic
    From 1969 to 1990, the Slovak Socialist Republic was the official name of that part of Czechoslovakia that is Slovakia today. The name was used from 1 January 1969 until March 1990....

    .
  • 1990 - 1992: The federal democratic republic consisted of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.


Neighbours:
  • Austria
    Austria
    Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

    , 1918-1938, 1945-
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    , 1918-1945, 1990-
  • West
    West Germany
    West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

     and East Germany 1945 - 1990
  • Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

  • Soviet Union 1945 - 1991* Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

    (1992)
  • Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     (until 1939)
  • Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...



Topography:

The country was of generally irregular terrain. The western area was part of north-central European uplands. The eastern region was composed of northern reaches of Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 and Danube River basin lands.

Climate:

The weather was predominantly continental, but varied from the moderate temperature of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 in the west, to more severe weather of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and the western Soviet Union in the east.

Official names

  • 1918 - 1920: Republic of Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938)
    The First Czechoslovak Republic , refers to the first Czechoslovak state that existed from 1918 to 1938. The state was commonly called Czechoslovakia . It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia...

    (abbreviated RČS)/Czecho-Slovak State, or Czecho-Slovakia/Czechoslovakia.
  • 1920 - 1938: Czechoslovak Republic
    Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938)
    The First Czechoslovak Republic , refers to the first Czechoslovak state that existed from 1918 to 1938. The state was commonly called Czechoslovakia . It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia...

    (ČSR), or Czechoslovakia.
  • 1938 - 1939: Czecho-Slovak Republic
    Second Czechoslovak Republic
    The Second Czechoslovak Republic refers to the second Czechoslovak state that existed from October 1, 1938 to March 14, 1939, thus existing for only 167 days...

    , or Czecho-Slovakia.
  • 1945 - 1960: Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR), or Czechoslovakia.
  • 1960 - 1990: Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
    Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
    The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from 1960 until end of 1989 , a Soviet satellite state of the Eastern Bloc....

    (ČSSR), or Czechoslovakia.
  • April 1990: Czechoslovak Federative Republic
    Czech and Slovak Federal Republic
    Czech and Slovak Federal Republic was the official name of Czechoslovakia from April 1990 until 31 December 1992, when the country was dissolved into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.- Adoption of the name :Since 1960, Czechoslovakia's official name had been Czechoslovak Socialist Republic...

     (Czech version) and Czecho-Slovak Federative Republic (Slovak version).
    • The country subsequently became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, ČSFR, or Československo (Czech version) and Česko-Slovensko (Slovak version).

Origins


The area was long a part of the Austro Hungarian Empire until the Empire collapsed at the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The new state was founded by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850 – 1937), who served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935. He was succeeded by his close ally, Edvard Beneš
Edvard Beneš
Edvard Beneš was a leader of the Czechoslovak independence movement, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the second President of Czechoslovakia. He was known to be a skilled diplomat.- Youth :...

 (1884 – 1948).

The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, when philologists and educators, influenced by Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, promoted the Czech language
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and pride in the Czech people
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

. Nationalism became a mass movement in the last half of the 19th century. Taking advantage of the opportunities for limited participation in political life available under the Austrian rule, Czech leaders such as historian František Palacký
František Palacký
František Palacký was a Czech historian and politician.-Biography:...

 (1798 – 1876) founded many patriotic, self-help organizations which provided a chance for many of their compatriots to participate in communal life prior to independence. At first, Palacký supported Austroslavism
Austroslavism
Austroslavism was a political concept and program aimed to solve problems of Slavic peoples in the Austrian Empire.It was most influential among Czech liberals around the middle of the 19th century...

 and worked for reorganized, federal, and Slavic-dominated Austrian Empire, which would protect Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 against Russian and German threats. The failure of the Revolution of 1848
Revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas
From March 1848 through July 1849, the Habsburg Austrian Empire was threatened by revolutionary movements. Much of the revolutionary activity was of a nationalist character: the empire, ruled from Vienna, included Austrian Germans, Hungarians, Slovenes, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians,...

, however, crushed his hopes for Austroslavism.

An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to Reichsrat
Reichsrat (Austria)
The Imperial Council of Austria from 1867 to 1918 was the parliament of the Cisleithanian part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was a bicameral legislature, consisting of the Herrenhaus and the Abgeordnetenhaus...

 (Austrian Parliament), the first time being from 1891 to 1893 in the Young Czech Party
Young Czech Party
The Young Czech Party was formed in 1874. It initiated the democratization of Czech political parties and led to the establishment of the political base of Czechoslovakia.- Background :...

 and again from 1907 to 1914 in the Czech Realist Party
Czech Realist Party
The Realist Party was a Czech political party in Austria-Hungary, founded in 1889 by Tomáš Masaryk, Karel Kramář and Josef Kaizl. The following year the party joined the Young Czechs....

, which he founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář
Karel Kramár
Karel Kramář was a Czech politician.- Biography :Leader of the Young Czech Party in Austria-Hungary and later of the National Democratic Party in Czechoslovakia...

 and Josef Kaizl
Josef Kaizl
Josef Kaizl was a Czech professor and politician in the Austria-Hungary Empire. He was a member of the Imperial Council, and finance minister between 1898 and 1899....

. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in union with Slovakia. With Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik
Milan Rastislav Štefánik
Milan Rastislav Štefánik , Kingdom of Hungary – May 4, 1919 in Ivanka pri Dunaji, Czechoslovakia) was a Slovak politician, diplomat, and astronomer. During World War I, he was General of the French Army, at the same time the Czechoslovak Minister of War, one of the leading members of the...

, Masaryk visited several Western countries and won support from influential publicists.

Bohemia and Moravia, under Austrian rule, were Czech-speaking industrial centres, while Slovakia, which was part of Hungary, was an undeveloped agrarian region. Conditions were much better for the development of a mass national movement in the Czech lands than in Slovakia. Nevertheless, the two regions united and created a new nation.

Founding



Czechoslovakia was founded in October of 1918, as one of the successor states of Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and as part of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

. It consisted of the present day territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Its territory included some of the most industrialized regions of the former Austria-Hungary.

Ethnicity


The new country was a multi-ethnic state. The population consisted of Czechs (51%), Slovaks (16%), Germans (22%), Hungarians (5%) and Rusyns
Rusyns
Carpatho-Rusyns are a primarily diasporic ethnic group who speak an Eastern Slavic language, or Ukrainian dialect, known as Rusyn. Carpatho-Rusyns descend from a minority of Ruthenians who did not adopt the use of the ethnonym "Ukrainian" in the early twentieth century...

 (4%). Many of the Germans, Hungarians, Ruthenians and Poles and some Slovaks, felt oppressed, however, because the political elite did not generally allow political autonomy for minority ethnic groups. This policy, combined with increasing Nazi propaganda especially in the industrialized German speaking Sudetenland, led to unrest among the non-Czech population.

The state nonetheless proclaimed the official ideology that there are no Czechs and Slovaks, but only one nation of Czechoslovaks (see Czechoslovakism
Czechoslovakism
Czechoslovakism is a term for the political and cultural conception of a unified Czechoslovak nation and disapproval of differentiating separate nations of Czechs and Slovaks. This nation was made ideologically for a newborn country, which needed to identify itself on national level...

), to the disagreement of Slovaks and other ethnic groups. Once a unified Czechoslovakia was restored after World War II (after the country had been divided during the war), the conflict between the Czechs and the Slovaks
Slovaks
The Slovaks, Slovak people, or Slovakians are a West Slavic people that primarily inhabit Slovakia and speak the Slovak language, which is closely related to the Czech language.Most Slovaks today live within the borders of the independent Slovakia...

 surfaced again.

----
Nationalities of Czechoslovakia 1921
----
total population | 13,607.385
Czechoslovaks  8,759.701 64.37 %
Germans
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 
3,123.305 22.95 %
Hungarians  744.621 5.47 %
Ruthenians
Ruthenians
The name Ruthenian |Rus']]) is a culturally loaded term and has different meanings according to the context in which it is used. Initially, it was the ethnonym used for the East Slavic peoples who lived in Rus'. Later it was used predominantly for Ukrainians...

 
461.449 3.39 %
Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 
180.534 1.33 %
Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 
75.852 0.56 %
Others 23.139 0.17 %
Foreigners 238.784 1.75 %

Interwar


The period between the two world wars saw the flowering of democracy in Czechoslovakia. Of all the new states established in central Europe after 1918, only Czechoslovakia preserved a democratic government until the war broke out. The persistence of democracy suggests that Czechoslovakia was better prepared to maintain democracy than were other countries in the region. Thus, despite regional disparities, its level of development was much higher than that of neighboring states. The population was generally literate, and contained fewer alienated groups. The impact of these conditions was augmented by the political values of Czechoslovakia's leaders and the policies they adopted. Under Masaryk
Tomáš Masaryk
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk , sometimes called Thomas Masaryk in English, was an Austro-Hungarian and Czechoslovak politician, sociologist and philosopher, who as an eager advocate of Czechoslovak independence during World War I became the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia, also was...

, Czech and Slovak politicians promoted progressive social and economic conditions that served to defuse discontent.

Foreign minister Beneš became the prime architect of the Czechoslovak-Romanian-Yugoslav alliance (the "Little Entente
Little Entente
The Little Entente was an alliance formed in 1920 and 1921 by Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia with the purpose of common defense against Hungarian revision and the prevention of a Habsburg restoration...

", 1921–38) directed against Hungarian attempts to reclaim lost areas. Beneš worked closely with France. Far more dangerous was the German element, which after 1933 became allied with the Nazis in Germany. The increasing feeling of inferiority among the Slovaks, who were hostile to the more numerous Czechs, weakened the country in the late 1930s. Many Slovaks supported an extreme nationalist movement and welcomed the puppet Slovak state set up under Hitler's control in 1939.

Munich


In 1938, Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland
Sudetenland
Sudetenland is the German name used in English in the first half of the 20th century for the northern, southwest and western regions of Czechoslovakia inhabited mostly by ethnic Germans, specifically the border areas of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Silesia being within Czechoslovakia.The...

. Britain, and France at the Munich Conference ceded the control in the Appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

, ignoring the military alliance Czechoslovakia had with France. In 1939, the remainder ("rump") of Czechoslovakia was invaded by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and divided into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

 and the puppet Slovak State. Much of Slovakia and all of Subcarpathian Ruthenia were annexed by Hungary. Poland occupied Zaolzie
Zaolzie
Zaolzie is the Polish name for an area now in the Czech Republic which was disputed between interwar Poland and Czechoslovakia. The name means "lands beyond the Olza River"; it is also called Śląsk zaolziański, meaning "trans-Olza Silesia". Equivalent terms in other languages include Zaolší in...

, an area with Polish minority, in October 1938.

The eventual goal of the German state under Nazi leadership was to eradicate Czech nationality through assimilation, deportation, and extermination of the Czech intelligentsia; the intellectual elites and middle class made up a considerable number of the 200,000 people who passed through concentration camps and the 250,000 who died during German occupation. Under Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...

, it was assumed that around 50% Czechs would be fit for Germanization. The Czech intellectual elites were to be removed not only from Czech territories but from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 completely. The authors of Generalplan Ost believed it would be best if they emigrated overseas, as even in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 they were considered a threat to German rule. Just like Jews, Poles, Serbs, and several other nations, Czechs were considered to be untermenschen by the Nazi state.

The deportation of Jews to concentration camps was organized, and the fortress town of Terezín
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp was a Nazi German ghetto during World War II. It was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín , located in what is now the Czech Republic.-History:The fortress of Terezín was constructed between the years 1780 and 1790 by the orders...

 was made into a ghetto way station for Jewish families. On June 4, 1942, Heydrich died after being wounded by an assassin in Operation Anthropoid
Operation Anthropoid
Operation Anthropoid was the code name for the targeted killing of top German SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. He was the chief of the Reich Main Security Office , the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and a chief planner of the Final Solution, the Nazi German programme for the genocide of the...

. Heydrich's successor, Colonel General Kurt Daluege
Kurt Daluege
Kurt Daluege was a German Nazi SS-Oberstgruppenführer and Generaloberst der Polizei as chief of the Ordnungspolizei and ruled the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia as Deputy Protector after Reinhard Heydrich's assassination.-Early life and career:Kurt Daluege, a son of a Prussian state official,...

, ordered mass arrests and executions and the destruction of the villages of Lidice
Lidice
Lidice is a village in the Czech Republic just northwest of Prague. It is built on the site of a previous village of the same name which, as part of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was on orders from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal...

 and Ležáky
Ležáky
Ležáky was a village in Czechoslovakia. In 1942 it was razed to the ground by Nazis during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.Ležáky was a settlement inhabited by poor stone-cutters and little cottagers...

. In 1943 the German war effort was accelerated. Under the authority of Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank
Karl Hermann Frank was a prominent Sudeten German Nazi official in Czechoslovakia prior to and during World War II and an SS-Obergruppenführer...

, German minister of state for Bohemia and Moravia, some 350,000 Czech labourers were dispatched to the Reich. Within the protectorate, all non-war-related industry was prohibited. Most of the Czech population obeyed quiescently up until the final months preceding the end of the war, while thousands were involved in the resistance movement
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

.

For the Czechs of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, German occupation was a period of brutal oppression.Czech losses resulting from political persecution and deaths in concentration camps totalled between 36,000 and 55,000. The Jewish population of Bohemia and Moravia (118,000 according to the 1930 census) was virtually annihilated. Many Jews emigrated after 1939; more than 70,000 were killed; 8,000 survived at Terezín. Several thousand Jews managed to live in freedom or in hiding throughout the occupation.

On 9 May 1945 Soviet Red Army troops entered Prague.

Communist Czechoslovakia


After World War II, pre-war Czechoslovakia was re-established, with the exception of Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Beneš decrees
Beneš decrees
Decrees of the President of the Republic , more commonly known as the Beneš decrees, were a series of laws that were drafted by the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in the absence of the Czechoslovak parliament during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II and issued by President...

 were promulgated concerning ethnic Germans (see Potsdam Agreement
Potsdam Agreement
The Potsdam Agreement was the Allied plan of tripartite military occupation and reconstruction of Germany—referring to the German Reich with its pre-war 1937 borders including the former eastern territories—and the entire European Theatre of War territory...

) and ethnic Hungarians. Under the decrees, citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 was abrogated for people of German and Hungarian ethnic origin
Ethnic origin
The concept of ethnic origin is an attempt to classify people, not according to their current nationality, but according to where their ancestors came from...

, who had accepted German or Hungarian citizenship during the occupations. In 1948, this provision was cancelled for the Hungarians, but only partially for the Germans. The government then confiscated the property of the Germans and expelled about 90% of the ethnic German population
Expulsion of Germans after World War II
The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria...

, over 2 million people. Those who remained were collectively accused of supporting the Nazis after the Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
The Munich Pact was an agreement permitting the Nazi German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe without...

, as 97.32% of Sudeten Germans voted for the NSDAP in the December 1938 elections. Almost every decree explicitly stated that the sanctions did not apply to antifascists. Some 250,000 Germans, many married to Czechs, some antifascists, and also those required for the post-war reconstruction of the country, remained in Czechoslovakia. The Beneš Decrees still cause controversy among nationalist groups in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Carpathian Ruthenia
Carpathian Ruthenia
Carpathian Ruthenia is a region in Eastern Europe, mostly located in western Ukraine's Zakarpattia Oblast , with smaller parts in easternmost Slovakia , Poland's Lemkovyna and Romanian Maramureş.It is...

 was occupied by (and in June 1945 formally ceded to) the Soviet Union. In the 1946 parliamentary election, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa was a Communist and Marxist-Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992....

 was the winner in the Czech lands
Czech lands
Czech lands is an auxiliary term used mainly to describe the combination of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. Today, those three historic provinces compose the Czech Republic. The Czech lands had been settled by the Celts , then later by various Germanic tribes until the beginning of 7th...

, and the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Slovakia)
The Democratic Party was a political party in Slovakia. When it was founded in late 1989 , it saw itself a continuation of the historical Democratic Party....

 won in Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

. In February 1948 the Communists seized power. Although they would maintain the fiction of political pluralism through the existence of the National Front
National Front (Czechoslovakia)
The National Front was the coalition of parties which headed the re-established Czechoslovakian government from 1945 to 1948. During the Communist era in Czechoslovakia it was the vehicle for control of all political and social activity by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

, except for a short period in the late 1960s (the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

) the country was characterised by the absence of liberal democracy
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

. While its economy remained more advanced than those of its neighbours in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, Czechoslovakia grew increasingly economically weak relative to Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

.

In 1968, when the reformer Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubček , also known as Dikita, was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia , famous for his attempt to reform the communist regime during the Prague Spring...

 was appointed to the key post of First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, there was a brief period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

. In response, after failing to persuade the Czechoslovak leaders to change course, five other Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

  members of the Warsaw Pact invaded. Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia on the night of 20–21 August 1968. The General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 viewed this intervention as vital to the preservation of the Soviet, socialist system and vowed to intervene in any state that sought to replace Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

-Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

 with capitalism. In the week after the invasion there was a spontaneous campaign of civil resistance
Civil resistance
The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

 against the occupation. This resistance involved a wide range of acts of non-cooperation and defiance: this was followed by a period in which the Czechoslovak Communist Party leadership, having been forced in Moscow to make concessions to the Soviet Union, gradually put the brakes on their earlier liberal policies. In April 1969 Dubcek was finally dismissed from the First Secretaryship of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. Meanwhile, one plank of the reform programme had been carried out: in 1968-9, Czechoslovakia was turned into a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 of the Czech Socialist Republic
Czech Socialist Republic
From 1969 to 1990, the Czech Socialist Republic was the official name of that part of Czechoslovakia that is the Czech Republic today. The name was used from 1 January 1969 to March 1990....

 and Slovak Socialist Republic
Slovak Socialist Republic
From 1969 to 1990, the Slovak Socialist Republic was the official name of that part of Czechoslovakia that is Slovakia today. The name was used from 1 January 1969 until March 1990....

. The theory was that under the federation, social and economic inequities between the Czech and Slovak halves of the state would be largely eliminated. A number of ministries, such as education, now became two formally equal bodies in the two formally equal republics. However, the centralised political control by the Czechoslovak Communist Party severely limited the effects of federalisation.

The 1970s saw the rise of the dissident
Dissident
A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

 movement in Czechoslovakia, represented (among others) by Václav Havel
Václav Havel
Václav Havel is a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic . He has written over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally...

. The movement sought greater political participation and expression in the face of official disapproval, manifested in limitations on work activities, which went as far as a ban on professional employment, the refusal of higher education for the dissidents' children, police harassment and prison.

After 1989


In 1989, the Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place from November 17 – December 29, 1989...

 restored democracy. This occurred at around the same time as the fall of communism in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. Within three years communist rule was extirpated from Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

Unlike Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the end of communism in this country did not automatically mean the end of the "communist" name: the word "socialist" was removed from the name on 29 March 1990 and replaced by "federal".

In 1992, because of growing nationalist tensions, Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved
Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
The dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined separation of the federal state of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities which had arisen in 1969 within the framework of Czechoslovak federalisation, became...

 by parliament. On 1 January 1993 it formally separated into two completely independent countries: the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and the Slovak Republic.

Heads of state and government


International agreements and membership


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, active participant in Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon
Comecon
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance , 1949–1991, was an economic organisation under hegemony of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world...

), Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

, United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and its specialized agencies; signatory of conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Administrative divisions



  • 1918 - 1923: Different systems in former Austrian territory (Bohemia
    Bohemia
    Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

    , Moravia
    Moravia
    Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

    , a small part of Silesia
    Silesia
    Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

    ) compared to former Hungarian territory (Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

     and Ruthenia
    Ruthenia
    Ruthenia is the Latin word used onwards from the 13th century, describing lands of the Ancient Rus in European manuscripts. Its geographic and culturo-ethnic name at that time was applied to the parts of Eastern Europe. Essentially, the word is a false Latin rendering of the ancient place name Rus...

    ): three lands (země) (also called district units (obvody)): Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, plus 21 counties (župy) in today's Slovakia and two(?) counties in today's Ruthenia; both lands and counties were divided into districts (okres
    Okres
    Okres refers to administrative entities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia...

    y).
  • 1923 - 1927: As above, except that the Slovak and Ruthenian counties were replaced by six (grand) counties ((veľ)župy) in Slovakia and one (grand) county in Ruthenia, and the numbers and boundaries of the okresy were changed in those two territories.
  • 1928 - 1938: Four lands (Czech: země, Slovak: krajiny): Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, divided into districts (okresy).
  • Late 1938 - March 1939: As above, but Slovakia and Ruthenia gained the status of "autonomous lands".
  • 1945 - 1948: As in 1928–1938, except that Ruthenia became part of the Soviet Union.
  • 1949 - 1960: 19 regions (kraje) divided into 270 okresy.
  • 1960 - 1992: 10 kraje, Prague
    Prague
    Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

    , and (from 1970) Bratislava
    Bratislava
    Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

     (capital of Slovakia); these were divided into 109 - 114 okresy; the kraje were abolished temporarily in Slovakia in 1969 - 1970 and for many purposes from 1991 in Czechoslovakia; in addition, the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic were established in 1969 (without the word Socialist from 1990).

Politics




After WWII, a political monopoly was held by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa was a Communist and Marxist-Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992....

 (KSC). Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

 was elected first secretary of the KSC in 1969 (changed to general secretary in 1971) and president of Czechoslovakia in 1975. Other parties and organizations existed but functioned in subordinate roles to the KSC. All political parties, as well as numerous mass organizations, were grouped under umbrella of the National Front
National Front (Czechoslovakia)
The National Front was the coalition of parties which headed the re-established Czechoslovakian government from 1945 to 1948. During the Communist era in Czechoslovakia it was the vehicle for control of all political and social activity by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

. Human rights activists and religious activists were severely repressed.

Constitutional development



Czechoslovakia had the following constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

s during its history (1918–1992):
  • Temporary constitution of 14 November 1918 (democratic): see History of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
  • The 1920 constitution
    Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920
    After World War I, Czechoslovakia established itself and as a republic and democracy with the establishment of the Constitution of 1920. The constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on 29 February 1920 and replaced the provisional constitution adopted on 13 November 1918.The introduction...

     (The Constitutional Document of the Czechoslovak Republic), democratic, in force until 1948, several amendments
  • The Communist 1948 Ninth-of-May Constitution
    Ninth-of-May Constitution
    The Ninth-of-May Constitution was a constitution of Czechoslovakia in force from 1948 to 1960. It came into force on May 9, shortly after the communist seizure of power in the country on 25 February 1948. It replaced the 1920 Constitution...

  • The Communist 1960 Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
    1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia
    The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic , promulgated on 11 July 1960 as the constitutional law 100/1960 Sb., codified the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia...

     with major amendments in 1968 (Constitutional Law of Federation
    Constitutional Law of Federation
    The Constitutional Law of Federation was a constitutional law in Czechoslovakia adopted on 27 October 1968 and in force from 1969 – 1992, by which the unitary Czechoslovak state was turned into a federation.-Federation:...

    ), 1971, 1975, 1978, and 1989 (at which point the leading role of the Communist Party was abolished). It was amended several more times during 1990–1992 (for example, 1990, name change to Czecho-Slovakia, 1991 incorporation of the human rights charter)

Economy


After WWII, the economy was centrally planned, with command links controlled by the communist party, similarly to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. The large metallurgical industry was dependent on imports of iron and non-ferrous ores.
  • Industry: Extractive industry and manufacturing dominated the sector, including machinery, chemicals, food processing, metallurgy, and textiles. The sector was wasteful in its use of energy, materials, and labor and was slow to upgrade technology, but the country was a major supplier of high-quality machinery, instruments, electronics, aircraft, airplane engines and arms to other communist countries.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture was a minor sector, but collectivized farms of large acreage and relatively efficient mode of production enabled the country to be relatively self-sufficient in food supply. The country depended on imports of grains (mainly for livestock feed) in years of adverse weather. Meat production was constrained by shortage of feed, but the country still recorded high per capita consumption of meat.
  • Foreign trade: Exports were estimated at US$17.8 billion in 1985. Exports were machinery (55%), fuel and materials (14%), and manufactured consumer goods (16%). Imports stood at estimated US$17.9 billion in 1985, including fuel and materials (41%), machinery (33%), and agricultural and forestry products (12%). In 1986, about 80% of foreign trade was with other communist countries.
  • Exchange rate: Official, or commercial, rate was crowns (Kčs) 5.4 per US$1 in 1987. Tourist, or non-commercial, rate was Kčs 10.5 per US$1. Neither rate reflected purchasing power. The exchange rate on the black market was around Kčs 30 per US$1, which became the official rate once the currency became convertible in the early 1990s.
  • Fiscal year: Calendar year.
  • Fiscal policy: The state was the exclusive owner of means of production in most cases. Revenue from state enterprises was the primary source of revenues followed by turnover tax
    Turnover tax
    A turnover tax is similar to a sales tax or a VAT, with the difference that it taxes intermediate and possibly capital goods. It is an indirect tax, typically on an ad valorem basis, applicable to a production process or stage. For example, when manufacturing activity is completed, a tax may be...

    . The government spent heavily on social programs, subsidies, and investment. Budget was usually balanced or left small surplus.

Resource base


After WWII, the country was short of energy, relying on imported crude oil and natural gas from Soviet Union, domestic brown coal, and nuclear and hydroelectric energy. Energy constraints a major factor in 1980s.

Education


Education free at all levels and compulsory from age six to 15. Vast majority of population literate. Highly developed system of apprenticeship training and vocational schools supplemented general secondary schools and institutions of higher education.

Religion


In 1991: Roman Catholics 46.4%, Evangelic Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 5.3%, Atheist 29.5%, n/a 16.7%, but there were huge differences between the two constituent republics – see Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

.

Health, social welfare and housing


After WWII, free health care was available to all citizens. National health planning emphasised preventive medicine; factory and local health care centres supplemented hospitals and other inpatient institutions. There was substantial improvement in rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mass media


During Communist rule, the mass media in Czechoslovakia were controlled by the Communist Party. Private ownership of any publication or agency of the mass media was generally forbidden, although churches and other organizations published small periodicals and newspapers. Even with this information monopoly in the hands of organizations under KSČ control, all publications were reviewed
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 by the government's Office for Press and Information.

Sports


The Czechoslovakia national football team
Czechoslovakia national football team
The Czechoslovakia national football team was the national association football team of Czechoslovakia from 1922 to 1993. At the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the team was participating in UEFA qualifying Group 4 for the 1994 World Cup; it completed this campaign under the name...

 was a consistent performer on the international scene, with 8 appearances in the FIFA World Cup Finals
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

, finishing in second place in 1934
1934 FIFA World Cup
The 1934 FIFA World Cup was the second FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Italy from 27 May to 10 June 1934....

 and 1962
1962 FIFA World Cup
The 1962 FIFA World Cup, the seventh staging of the World Cup, was held in Chile from 30 May to 17 June. It was won by Brazil, who retained the championship by beating Czechoslovakia 3–1 in the final...

. The team also won the European Football Championship
UEFA European Football Championship
The UEFA European Football Championship is the main football competition of the men's national football teams governed by UEFA . Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UEFA European Nations Cup, changing to the current...

 in 1976, came in third in 1980 and won the Olympic gold 1980.

The Czechoslovak national ice hockey team
Czechoslovak national ice hockey team
The Czechoslovak national men's ice hockey team was one of the world's premiere teams during the Soviet dominated international hockey era, often fighting Sweden for second place but sometimes beating the Soviets...

 won many medals from the world championships and Olympic Games. Peter Šťastný
Peter Stastny
Peter Šťastný , also known colloquially as "Peter the Great" and "Stosh", is a retired Slovak professional ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League from 1980 to 1995. During his time with the Quebec Nordiques, Stastny became a Canadian citizen. Since 2004, he has also served as a...

, Jaromír Jágr
Jaromir Jagr
Jaromír Jágr is a Czech professional ice hockey right winger who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League . Jágr formerly played with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and New York Rangers, serving as captain of the Penguins and the Rangers...

, Peter Bondra
Peter Bondra
Peter Bondra is a former Slovak professional ice hockey player. He was the general manager of the Slovak national team from 2007 to 2011...

, Petr Klíma
Petr Klima
Petr Klíma is a Czech former professional ice hockey forward. He played in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings, and the Pittsburgh Penguins...

, Marián Gáborík
Marian Gaborik
Marián Gáborík is a Slovak professional ice hockey right winger currently playing for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League . He began his career in the Slovak Extraliga with HC Dukla Trenčín for two seasons before being drafted third overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the...

, and Pavol Demitra
Pavol Demitra
Pavol Demitra was a Slovak professional ice hockey player. He played sixteen seasons in the National Hockey League , two in the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League /Slovak Extraliga and one in the Kontinental Hockey League . Known as an offensive player, Demitra was a first- or second-line...

 all come from Czechoslovakia.

Emil Zátopek
Emil Zátopek
Emil Zátopek was a Czech long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres runs, but his final medal came when he decided at the last minute to compete in the first marathon of his life...

, winner of four Olympic
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 gold medals in athletics, is considered one of the top athletes in history.

Věra Čáslavská
Vera Cáslavská
Věra Čáslavská is a Czech gymnast. Blonde, cheerful and possessing impressive stage presence, she was generally popular with the public and won a total of 22 international titles...

 was an Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics, winning seven gold medals and four silver medals, and represented Czechoslovakia in three consecutive Olympics.

The famous tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 players Ivan Lendl
Ivan Lendl
Ivan Lendl is a former world no. 1 professional tennis player. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Lendl became a United States citizen. He was one of the game's most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s. He is considered to be one of the greatest tennis...

, Miloslav Mečíř
Miloslav Mecír
Miloslav Mečíř is a former professional tennis player from Slovakia. He won the men's singles gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games where he represented Czechoslovakia and played in two Grand Slam singles finals...

, Daniela Hantuchová
Daniela Hantuchová
Daniela Hantuchová is a Slovak professional tennis player. She turned professional in 1999 and had her breakthrough year in 2002, when she won her first Tier I tournament and ended the year in the top 10.She is currently coached by Larri Passos...

 and Martina Navrátilová were born in Czechoslovakia.

Culture

  • Czech Republic
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

    , Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

  • List of Czechs, List of Slovaks
  • MDŽ
    International Women's Day
    International Women's Day , originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and...

  • Jazz in dissident Czechoslovakia
    Jazz in dissident Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia’s jazz roots were established by Jaroslav Ježek and Rudolf Antonín Dvorský in the 1920s and 1930s. Ježek’s influence in this realm is particularly noted and by the time he immigrated to the United States in 1939, his compositions blending jazz and classical music were among the most...


Postage stamps


See also

  • Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
    Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
    On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

     in 1968
  • Velvet Revolution
    Velvet Revolution
    The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place from November 17 – December 29, 1989...

     of 1989
  • Former countries in Europe after 1815
    Former countries in Europe after 1815
    This article gives a detailed listing of all the countries, , that have existed in Europe since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the present day...

  • Effects on the environment in Czechoslovakia from Soviet influence during the Cold War
    Effects on the environment in Czechoslovakia from Soviet influence during the Cold War
    -Background:After World War II, the Soviet Union put in place five-year plans in the East European countries imitating their own five-year plans in order to recover from the war. The Soviets believed that the economic policies that helped them recover would similarly help the Eastern European...

  • 1968 Red Square demonstration
    1968 Red Square demonstration
    The 1968 Red Square demonstration took place on August 25, 1968 at Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union, to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, that occurred during the night of 20–21 August 1968, crushing the so-called Prague spring, a set of...


Sources


Further reading

  • Heimann, Mary. Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed (2009). the best scholarly history in English, but with a negative tone stressing maltreatment of minorities.
  • Hermann, A. H. A History of the Czechs (1975)
  • Kalvoda, Josef. The Genesis of Czechoslovakia (1986)
  • Leff, Carol Skalnick. National Conflict in Czechoslovakia: The Making and Remaking of a State, 1918-87 (1988)
  • Mantey, Victor. A History of the Czechoslovak Republic (1973)
  • Myant, Martin. The Czechoslovak Economy, 1948-88 (1989)
  • Naimark, Norman, and Leonid Gibianskii, eds. The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944-1949 (1997) online edition
  • Paul, David. 'Czechoslovakia: Profile of a Socialist Republic at the Crossroads of Europe (1990)
  • Renner, Hans. A History of Czechoslovakia since 1945 (1989)
  • Seton-Watson, R. W. A History of the Czechs and Slovaks (1943)
  • Stone, Norman, and E. Strouhal, eds.Czechoslovakia: Crossroads and Crises, 1918-88 (1989)
  • Wheaton, Bernard; Zdenek Kavav. "The Velvet Revolution: Czechoslovakia, 1988-1991". (1992)
  • Williams, Kieran, 'Civil Resistance in Czechoslovakia: From Soviet Invasion to "Velvet Revolution", 1968-89', in Adam Roberts
    Adam Roberts (scholar)
    Sir Adam Roberts, KCMG, FBA is President of the British Academy , the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences...

     and Timothy Garton Ash
    Timothy Garton Ash
    Timothy Garton Ash is a British historian, author and commentator. He is currently serving as Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. Much of his work has been concerned with the late modern and contemporary history of Central and Eastern Europe...

     (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • Windsor, Philip, and Adam Roberts, Czechoslovakia 1968: Reform, Repression and Resistance. (1969)
  • Wolchik, Sharon L. Czechoslovakia: Politics, Society, and Economics (1990)
  • online books and articles

External links


  • Orders and Medals of Czechoslovakia including Order of the White Lion (in English and Czech)
  • Czechoslovakia-The First Czechoslovak Republic
  • Andropov
    Yuri Andropov
    Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

     to the Central Committee, about the Demonstration in Red Square Against the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia, 20 September 1968. Andrei Sakharov
    Andrei Sakharov
    Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He earned renown as the designer of the Soviet Union's Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the...

     KGB
    KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

     file, Archieve posted at the Yale University
    Yale University
    Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

    , http://www.yale.edu/annals/sakharov/documents_frames/Sakharov_008.htm
  • Hungarian Language Map, border changes after the creation of Czechoslovakia
  • Map
  • Map