The Info List - Republic Of Czechoslovakia

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The Czechoslovak First Republic emerged from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
in October 1918. The new state consisted mostly of territories inhabited by Czechs
and Slovaks, but - for a combination of historical, strategic and economic reasons - also included areas containing majority populations of other nationalities. Despite initially developing effective representative institutions alongside a successful economy, the deteriorating international economic situation in the 1930s gave rise to growing ethnic tensions. The dispute between the Czech and German populations, fanned by the rise of National Socialism
National Socialism
in neighbouring Germany, resulted in the loss of territory under the terms of the Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
and subsequent events in the autumn of 1938, bringing about the end of the First Republic.


1 Independence 2 Statehood 3 Growing conflict 4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography

6.1 Other languages


Tomáš Masaryk returning from exile

Following the Pittsburgh Agreement
Pittsburgh Agreement
of May 1918, the Czechoslovak declaration of independence was published by the Czechoslovak National Council, signed by Masaryk, Štefánik
and Beneš on October 18, 1918 in Paris, and proclaimed on October 28 in Prague. Towards the end of the First World War
First World War
which led to the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, several ethnic groups and territories with different historical, political, and economic traditions were blended into new state structures. In the face of such obstacles, the creation of Czechoslovak democracy was indeed a triumph. Initial authority within Czechoslovakia
was assumed by the newly created National Assembly on November 14, 1918. Because territorial demarcations were uncertain and elections impossible, the provisional National Assembly was constituted on the basis of the 1911 elections to the Austrian parliament with the addition of fifty-four representatives from Slovakia. National minorities
National minorities
were not represented. Hungarians
remained loyal to Hungary, and on November 12, 1918, ethnic Germans of the former Empire declared the short-lived Republic of German Austria
German Austria
with the intent of unifying with Germany, relying on President Wilson's principle of self-determination. The National Assembly elected Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as its first president, chose a provisional government headed by Karel Kramář, and drafted a provisional constitution. The Paris
Peace Conference convened in January 1919. The Czech delegation was led by Kramář and Beneš, premier and foreign minister respectively, of the Czechoslovak provisional government. The conference approved the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, to encompass the historic Bohemian Kingdom
Bohemian Kingdom
(including Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia), Slovakia, and Carpathian Ruthenia. The inclusion of Ruthenia provided a common frontier with Romania, an important ally against Hungary. In January 1920 Czechoslovakian army breaking prior agreements with Poland, crossed the demarcation line and by force of arms occupied the Zaolzie, where a 60% majority of the population was Polish, compared to 25% Czechs. After brief fights they made a truce on the power of which Czechoslovakia
occupied areas to the west of Olza River. The Czech claim to Lusatia, which had been part of the Bohemian Kingdom
Bohemian Kingdom
until the Thirty Years' War, was rejected. On September 10, 1919, Czechoslovakia
signed the Minorities Treaty, placing its ethnic minorities under the protection of the League of Nations. Statehood[edit] The establishment of the Constitution
of 1920 installed a parliamentary system and representative democracy with relatively few constituents for each representative. This allowed a great variety of political parties to emerge, with no clear front runner or leading political entity. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
was elected the country's first president in the 1920 election and his guidance helped to hold the country together. A coalition of five Czechoslovak parties, which became known as the "Pětka" (The Five), constituted the backbone of the government and maintained stability. Prime Minister Antonin Svehla led the Pětka for most of the 1920s and designed a pattern of coalition politics that survived until 1938. Masaryk was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, serving as President until December 14, 1935 when he resigned due to poor health. He was succeeded by Edvard Beneš.

in 1928

Beneš had served as Czechoslovak foreign minister from 1918 to 1935, and created the system of alliances that determined the republic's international stance until 1938. A democratic statesman of Western orientation, Beneš relied heavily on the League of Nations
League of Nations
as guarantor of the post war status quo and the security of newly formed states. He negotiated the Little Entente
Little Entente
(an alliance with Yugoslavia and Romania) in 1921 to counter Hungarian revanchism and Habsburg restoration. The leaders of Czechoslovakia
needed to find solutions for the multiplicity of cultures living within one country. From 1928 and 1940, Czechoslovakia
was divided into the four "lands" (Czech: "země", Slovak: "krajiny"); Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia, Slovakia
and Carpathian Ruthenia. Although in 1927 assemblies were provided for Bohemia, Slovakia, and Ruthenia, their jurisdiction was limited to adjusting laws and regulations of the central government to local needs. National minorities
National minorities
were assured special protection; in districts where they constituted 20% of the population, members of minority groups were granted full freedom to use their language in everyday life, in schools, and in matters dealing with authorities. German parties also participated in the government starting in 1926, while Hungarian parties, supporting Hungarian irredentist claims, never joined the Czechoslovak government but were not openly hostile to it. Growing conflict[edit] Due to Czechoslovakia's centralized political structure, nationalism arose in the non-Czech nationalities, and several parties and movements were formed with the aim of broader political autonomy. The Slovak People's Party led by Andrej Hlinka
Andrej Hlinka
is an example. When German dictator Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
came to power in 1933, fear of German aggression became widespread in eastern Central Europe. Beneš ignored the possibility of a stronger Central European alliance system, remaining faithful to his Western policy. He did, however, seek the participation of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in an alliance to include France. (Beneš's earlier attitude towards the Soviet regime had been one of caution.) In 1935 the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
signed treaties with France and Czechoslovakia. In essence, the treaties provided that the Soviet Union would come to Czechoslovakia's aid, but only if French assistance came first. Hitler himself remarked to his foreign minister von Neurath and top military officials in 1937 that he intended to absorb Bohemia
and Austria, with a vague sentence about the need to expel two million Czechs
and the eventual elimination of the Czech nation.[1] There was a large German minority in Czechoslovakia, mostly living in Sudetenland. They demanded autonomy within Czechoslovakia, claiming they were oppressed by the national government. The political vehicle for this agitation was the newly founded Sudeten German
Sudeten German
Party (Sudetendeutsche Partei - SdP) led by Konrad Henlein, and financed with Nazi money. In the 1935 Parliamentary elections, the SdP had a surprise success, securing over 2/3 of the Sudeten German
Sudeten German
vote. This worsened diplomatic relations between Germany
and Czechoslovakia. Hitler met with Henlein in Berlin on March 28, 1938, and ordered him to raise demands unacceptable to the Czechoslovak government. On April 24, the SdP issued the Carlsbad Programme, demanding autonomy for the Sudetenland
and the freedom to profess Nazi ideology. If these demands were granted, the Sudetenland
could then align with Nazi Germany. On 17 September 1938 Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
ordered the establishment of Sudetendeutsches Freikorps, a paramilitary organization that took over the structure of Ordnersgruppe, an organization of ethnic-Germans in Czechoslovakia
that had been dissolved by the Czechoslovak authorities the previous day due to its implication in large number of terrorist activities. The organization was sheltered, trained and equipped by German authorities and conducting cross border terrorist operations into Czechoslovak territory. Relying on the Convention for the Definition of Aggression, Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš[2] and the government-in-exile[3] later regarded 17 September 1938 as the beginning of the undeclared German-Czechoslovak war. This understanding has been assumed also by the contemporary Czech Constitutional court.[4] See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938).

Germans in Czechoslovakia
(1918–1938) Poles in Czechoslovakia Ruthenians and Ukrainians in Czechoslovakia
(1918–1938) Slovaks
in Czechoslovakia
(1918–1938) Hungarians
in Czechoslovakia


^ Prague
in black: Nazi rule and Czech nationalism, p. 108–109, Chad Carl Bryant, Harvard University Press 2007 ^ President Beneš' declaration made on 16 December 1941 ^ Note of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
Czechoslovak government-in-exile
dated 22 February 1944 ^ Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
(1997), Ruling No. II. ÚS 307/97 (in Czech), Brno  Stran interpretace "kdy země vede válku", obsažené v čl. I Úmluvy o naturalizaci mezi Československem a Spojenými státy, publikované pod č. 169/1929 Sb. za účelem zjištění, zda je splněna podmínka státního občanství dle restitučních předpisů, Ústavní soud vychází z již v roce 1933 vypracované definice agrese Společnosti národů, která byla převzata do londýnské Úmluvy o agresi (CONVENITION DE DEFINITION DE L'AGRESSION), uzavřené dne 4. 7. 1933 Československem, dle které není třeba válku vyhlašovat (čl. II bod 2) a dle které je třeba za útočníka považovat ten stát, který první poskytne podporu ozbrojeným tlupám, jež se utvoří na jeho území a jež vpadnou na území druhého státu (čl. II bod 5). V souladu s nótou londýnské vlády ze dne 22. 2. 1944, navazující na prohlášení prezidenta republiky ze dne 16. 12. 1941 dle § 64 odst. 1 bod 3 tehdejší Ústavy, a v souladu s citovaným čl. II bod 5 má Ústavní soud za to, že dnem, kdy nastal stav války, a to s Německem, je den 17. 9. 1938, neboť tento den na pokyn Hitlera došlo k utvoření "Sudetoněmeckého svobodného sboru" (Freikorps) z uprchnuvších vůdců Henleinovy strany a několik málo hodin poté už tito vpadli na československé území ozbrojeni německými zbraněmi.


Agnew, Hugh Lecaine. The Czechs
and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (Stanford, CA, Hoover Institution Press: Stanford University, 2004). Axworthy, Mark W.A. Axis Slovakia—Hitler's Slavic Wedge, 1938–1945, Bayside, N.Y. : Axis Europa Books, 2002, ISBN 1-891227-41-6 Evans, Robert John Weston; Cornwall, Mark: Czechoslovakia
in a nationalist and fascist Europe : 1918–1948. Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-726391-4. Mueggenberg, Brent, The Czecho-Slovak Struggle for Independence, 1914-1920, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2014 Zimmern, Alfred. " Czechoslovakia
To-Day," International Affairs (July–Aug., 1938), 17#4 pp. 465–492 in JSTOR, just before Munich

Other languages[edit]

Bosl, Karl: Handbuch der Geschichte der böhmischen Länder (4 Bände). Anton Hiersemann Verlag Stuttgart, 1970 Franzel, Emil: Sudetendeutsche Geschichte. Adam Kraft Verlag Augsburg, 1958. Frei, Bohumil: Tschechoslowakei. G.Alzog Verlag München, 1968. Meixner, Rudolf: Geschichte der Sudetendeutschen. Helmut Preußler Verlag Nürnberg, 1988. Zemko, Milan (ed.): Slovensko v Ceskoslovensku : (1918–1939). Bratislava : VEDA, Vydavatel´stvo Slovenskej Akad. Vied, 2004. ISBN 80-224-0795-X. Angyal, Béla (ed.): Dokumentumok az Országos Keresztényszocialista Párt történetéhez : 1919 – 1936. Dunaszerdahely [u.a.] : Lilium Aurum [u.a.], 2004, ISBN 80-8062-195-0. Eva Broklová: Ceskoslovenská demokracie : politický systém CSR 1918 – 1938. Prague: Sociologické Nakladatelství, 1992. ISBN 80-901059-6-3.

v t e

Timeline of Czechoslovak statehood

Pre-1918 1918–1938 1938–1945 1945–1948 1948–1989 1989–1992 1993–

Bohemia Moravia Silesia Austrian Empire First Republica Sudetenlandb Third Republic Czechoslovak Republice 1948–1960 Czechoslovak Socialist Republicf 1960–1990 Czech and Slovak Federative Republic 1990–1992 Czech Republic

Second  Republicc 1938–1939 Protectorate of Bohemia
and Moravia 1939–1945

Slovakia Kingdom of Hungary Slovak Republic 1939–1945 Slovak Republic (Slovakia)

Southern Slovakia
and Carpatho-Ukrained

Carpathian Ruthenia Zakarpattia Oblastg 1944 / 1946 – 1991 Zakarpattia Oblasth 1991–present


Czechoslovak government-in-exile

a ČSR; boundaries and government established by the 1920 constitution. b Annexed by Nazi Germany. c ČSR; included the autonomous regions of Slovakia
and Carpathian Ruthenia. d Annexed by Hungary

e ČSR; declared a "people's democracy" (without formal name change) under the Ninth-of-May Constitution
following the 1948 coup. f ČSSR; from 1969, after the Prague
Spring, consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic (ČSR) and Slovak Socialist Republic
Slovak Socialist Republic
(SSR). g Oblast of the Ukrainian SSR. h