Czechoslovakia

Article

November 27, 2021

Czechoslovakia (/ ʧɛkozloˈvakkja / or / ʧɛkozlovakˈkia /; in Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko) was an independent European state that existed from 1918 to 1992. Following a parliamentary decision in 1992, it was decided to split the country into two separate state entities which, from 1 January 1993, took the name of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. From 1939 to 1945, due to the forced annexation to Nazi Germany and consequent division, the state de facto existed only as a government in exile of Czechoslovakia.

History

The state of Czechoslovakia was born in October 1918, from the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the First World War. The main architect of the operation was its founder and first President, the philosopher Tomáš Masaryk. The nascent nation consisted of the current territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the region of Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia today in Ukraine. The territory of the new state included some of the most industrialized regions of the previous Austro-Hungarian Empire, and of the whole of Europe, with a rate of employment in industry reaching 40%. Until the Second World War it was a democratic republic, but it was characterized by ethnic contrasts. The difficulties were due to the fact that the second and third of the country's largest ethnic groups (Germans and Slovaks respectively) were dissatisfied with the economic and political dominance of the Czechs. Many members of the German and Hungarian communities never really accepted the creation of the new state. Germans, Hungarians and Poles and even some Slovaks felt that they were at a disadvantage, as a centralized government was introduced in the country and in general no political autonomy was allowed to minority ethnic groups. This policy, coupled with the growing propaganda of Germany's Nazi regime in the predominantly German-speaking industrial region of the Sudetenland, led to increasing unease among the non-Czech population. Shortly before the Second World War, Czechoslovakia became a target of Hitler. After the Munich accords of 1938, German troops occupied the border regions of Bohemia and "ethnically" German Moravia (the Sudetenland), while Hungary acquired the territories of southern Slovakia, and the remaining Slovak territory and Ruthenia received an autonomous statute within the Czechoslovakian state. In March 1939, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, when Hitler occupied the rest of Bohemia, while Slovakia, even under German pressure, proclaimed its independence. During the Second World War the Bohemian territories formed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, governed directly by Germany. The newborn state of Slovakia became an ally of the former. Slovak troops fought on the Russian front until the summer of 1944, when the same armed forces rebelled against their government: the rebellion was crushed by the German army after several months of fighting. After the end of the Second World War the state of Czechoslovakia was re-established as it was previously. The German ethnic group was expelled from the country, while Ruthenia was ceded to the Soviet Union. Later the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia played key roles in the government (1946) following the victory in the parliamentary elections in which it turned out to be the first party and soon (1948) established the dictatorship. Czechoslovakia thus entered the Soviet Union's orbit of influence. With the exception of a short period, the country was characterized by a certain economic backwardness in relation to the countries of Western Europe, although its economy remained among the most advanced of those of its Eastern European neighbors. In the religious field, atheism was officially promoted and taught. In the 1950s, Czechoslovakia

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