Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia (/ˌtʃɛkoʊsloʊˈvækiə, -kə-, -slə-, -ˈvɑː-/; Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko), was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.
From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc with a command economy. Its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949 and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution; state price controls were removed after a period of preparation. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
|Common languages||Czech · Slovak · German · Hungarian · Yiddish · Rusyn|
|Government||First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938)|
Second Czechoslovak Republic (1938–1939)
Third Czechoslovak Republic (1945–1948)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1948–1990)
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (1990–1992)
|Tomáš G. Masaryk|
• 1935–1938 · 1945–1948
• 1918–1919 (first)
• 1992 (last)
|Historical era||20th century|
|28 October 1918|
|9 May 1945|
|25 February 1948|
|31 December 1992|
|1921||140,446 km2 (54,227 sq mi)|
|1992||127,900 km2 (49,400 sq mi)|
|Today part of|| Czech Republic|
∟ Zakarpattia Oblast
The country was of generally irregular terrain. The western area was part of the north-central European uplands. The eastern region was composed of the northern reaches of the Carpathian Mountains and lands of the Danube River basin.
The weather is mild winters and mild summers. Influenced by the Atlantic Ocean from the west, Baltic Sea from the north, and Mediterranean Sea from the south. There is no continental weather.
The area was long a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire collapsed at the end of World War I. 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 (1884–1948).
The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, when philologists and educators, influenced by Romanticism, promoted the Czech language and pride in the Czech people. Nationalism became a mass movement in the second half of the 19th century. Taking advantage of the limited opportunities for participation in political life under Austrian rule, Czech leaders such as historian František Palacký (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. Palacký supported Austro-Slavism and worked for a reorganized and federal Austrian Empire, which would protect the Slavic speaking peoples of Central Europe against Russian and German threats.
An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to the Reichsrat (Austrian Parliament), first from 1891 to 1893 for the Young Czech Party, and again from 1907 to 1914 for the Czech Realist Party, which he had founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář and Josef Kaizl.
During World War I small numbers of Czechs, the Czechoslovak Legions, fought with the Allies in France and Italy, while large numbers deserted to Russia in exchange for its support for the independence of Czechoslovakia from the Austrian Empire. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in a union with Slovakia. With Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, 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 the Kingdom 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.
The Bohemian Kingdom ceased to exist in 1918 when it was incorporated into Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was founded in October 1918, as one of the successor states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I and as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It consisted of the present day territories of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Its territory included some of the most industrialized regions of the former Austria-Hungary.
The new country was a multi-ethnic state. The population consisted of Czechs (51%), Slovaks (16%), Germans (22%), Hungarians (5%) and Rusyns (4%). Many of the Germans, Hungarians, Ruthenians and Poles and some Slovaks, felt oppressed because the political elite did not generally allow political autonomy for minority ethnic groups. This policy led to unrest among the non-Czech population, particularly in German-speaking Sudetenland, which initially had proclaimed itself part of the Republic of German-Austria in accordance with the self-determination prinicple.
The state proclaimed the official ideology that there were no separate Czech and Slovak nations, but only one nation of Czechoslovaks (see Czechoslovakism), 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 surfaced again. The governments of Czechoslovakia and other eastern European nations deported ethnic Germans to the West, reducing the presence of minorities in the nation. Most of the Jews had been killed during the war by the Nazis and their allies.
Ethnicities of Czechoslovakia in 1921
Ethnicities of Czechoslovakia in 1930
*Jews identified themselves as Germans or Hungarians (and Jews only by religion not ethnicity), the sum is, therefore, more than 100%.
During the period between the two world wars, democracy thrived in Czechoslovakia. Of all the new states established in central Europe after 1918, only Czechoslovakia preserved a democratic government until the war broke out. 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 influence of these conditions was augmented by the political values of Czechoslovakia's leaders and the policies they adopted. Under Tomas Masaryk, 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", 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.
After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.
In September 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland. On 29 September 1938, Britain and France ceded control in the Appeasement at the Munich Conference; France ignored the military alliance it had with Czechoslovakia. During October 1938, Nazi Germany occupied and annexed the Sudetenland border region, effectively crippling Czechoslovak defences.
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, 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 completely. The authors of Generalplan Ost believed it would be best if they emigrated overseas, as even in Siberia 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. In 1940, in a secret Nazi plan for the Germanization of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia it was declared that those considered to be of racially Mongoloid origin and the Czech intelligentsia were not to be Germanized.
The deportation of Jews to concentration camps was organized under the direction of Reinhard Heydrich, and the fortress town of Terezín was made into a ghetto way station for Jewish families. On 4 June 1942 Heydrich died after being wounded by an assassin in Operation Anthropoid. Heydrich's successor, Colonel General Kurt Daluege, ordered mass arrests and executions and the destruction of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. In 1943 the German war effort was accelerated. Under the authority of Karl Hermann Frank, German minister of state for Bohemia and Moravia, some 350,000 Czech laborers 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.
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 totaled 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.
Despite the estimated 136,000 deaths at the hands of the Nazi regime, the population in the Reichsprotektorate saw a net increase during the war years of approximately 250,000 in line with an increased birth rate.
On 3 May 1945, the third US Army of General Patton entered Pilsen from the south west. On 9 May 1945, Soviet Red Army troops entered Prague.
After World War II, pre-war Czechoslovakia was re-established, with the exception of Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Beneš decrees were promulgated concerning ethnic Germans (see Potsdam Agreement) and ethnic Hungarians. Under the decrees, citizenship was abrogated for people of German and Hungarian ethnic origin 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, over 2 million people. Those who remained were collectively accused of supporting the Nazis after the Munich Agreement, as 97.32% of Sudeten Germans had 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 (Podkarpatská Rus) was occupied by (and in June 1945 formally ceded to) the Soviet Union. In the 1946 parliamentary election, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was the winner in the Czech lands, and the Democratic Party won in Slovakia. In February 1948 the Communists seized power. Although they would maintain the fiction of political pluralism through the existence of the National Front, except for a short period in the late 1960s (the Prague Spring) the country had no liberal democracy. Since citizens lacked significant electoral methods of registering protest against government policies, periodically there were street protests that became violent. For example, there were riots in the town of Plzeň in 1953, reflecting economic discontent. Police and army units put down the rebellion, and hundreds were injured but no one was killed. While its economy remained more advanced than those of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia grew increasingly economically weak relative to Western Europe.
The currency reform of 1953 caused dissatisfaction among Czechoslovakian laborers. Prior to World War II, the Czech purchasing power surpassed that of the Soviet Union by 115-144%. This disparity was noted after Czechoslovakia came under the Soviet bloc. To equalize the wage rate, Czechoslovakians had to turn in their old money for new at a decreased value. This lowered the real value of wages by about 11%. The banks also confiscated savings and bank deposits to control the amount of money in circulation. The economy continued to suffer as production achievements of bituminous coal was less than anticipated. Bituminous coal powered 85% of Czechoslovakia's economy. Because of low production, coal was utilized in industry only. Pre-war years, consumers used both coal and lignite for fuel, however due to low production, coal was for industrial use only which meant the consumer was only able to utilize lignite. In 1929, a typical family of four consumed approximately 2.34 tons of lignite but, by 1953, this same family unit was only allowed to use 1.6-1.8 tons per year.
In 1968, when the reformer Alexander Dubček 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. In response, after failing to persuade the Czechoslovak leaders to change course, five other Eastern Bloc 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 viewed this intervention as vital for the preservation of the Soviet, socialist system and vowed to intervene in any state that sought to replace Marxism-Leninism with capitalism. In the week after the invasion there was a spontaneous campaign of civil resistance 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 Dubček was finally dismissed from the First Secretaryship of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. Meanwhile, one plank of the reform program had been carried out: in 1968-69, Czechoslovakia was turned into a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. 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 federalization.
The 1970s saw the rise of the dissident movement in Czechoslovakia, represented among others by Václav Havel. 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.
In 1989, the Velvet Revolution restored democracy. This occurred at around the same time as the fall of communism in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.
The word "socialist" was removed from the country's full name on 29 March 1990 and replaced by "federal".
In 1992, because of growing nationalist tensions in the government, Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved by parliament. On 1 January 1993 it formally separated into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
After World War II, a political monopoly was held by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). Gustáv Husák was elected first secretary of the KSČ 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 KSČ. All political parties, as well as numerous mass organizations, were grouped under umbrella of the National Front. Human rights activists and religious activists were severely repressed.
Czechoslovakia had the following constitutions during its history (1918–1992):
In the 1930s, the nation formed a military alliance with France, which collapsed in the Munich Agreement of 1938. After World War II, active participant in Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), Warsaw Pact, United Nations and its specialized agencies; signatory of conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Before World War II, the economy was about the fourth in all industrial states in Europe. The state was based on strong economy, manufacturing cars (Škoda, Tatra), trams, aircraft (Aero, Avia), ships, ship engines (Škoda), canons, shoes (Baťa), turbines, guns (Zbrojovka Brno). It was the industrial workshop for Austro-Hungarian empire. The Slovak lands were more in agriculture.
After World War II, the economy was centrally planned, with command links controlled by the communist party, similarly to the Soviet Union. The large metallurgical industry was dependent on imports of iron and non-ferrous ores.
After World War II, 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 were a major factor in the 1980s.
Slightly after the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, there was a lack of needful infrastructure in many areas – paved roads, railways, bridges etc. Massive improvement in the following years enabled Czechoslovakia to develop its industry. Prague's civil airport in Ruzyně became one of the most modern terminals in the world, when it was finished in 1937. Tomáš Baťa, Czech entrepreneur and visionary outlined his ideas in the publication "Budujme stát pro 40 milionů lidí", where he described the future motorway system. Construction of the first motorways in Czechoslovakia begun in 1939, nevertheless, they were stopped after Nazi occupation during the World War II.
Education was free at all levels and compulsory from age 6 to 15. The vast majority of the population was literate. There was a highly developed system of apprenticeship training and vocational schools supplemented general secondary schools and institutions of higher education.
In 1991: Roman Catholics 46%, Evangelical Lutheran 5.3%, Atheist 30%, n/a 17%, but there were huge differences in religious practices between the two constituent republics; see Czech Republic and Slovakia.
After World War II, 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 health care during the 1960s and 1970s.
During the era between the World Wars, Czechoslovak democracy and liberalism facilitated conditions for free publication. The most significant daily newspapers in these times were Lidové noviny, Národní listy, Český deník and Československá republika.
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 by the government's Office for Press and Information.
The Czechoslovakia national football team was a consistent performer on the international scene, with eight appearances in the FIFA World Cup Finals, finishing in second place in 1934 and 1962. The team also won the European Football Championship in 1976, came in third in 1980 and won the Olympic gold in 1980.
The International Olympic Committee code for Czechoslovakia is TCH, which is still used in historical listings of results.
The Czechoslovak national ice hockey team won many medals from the world championships and Olympic Games. Peter Šťastný, Jaromír Jágr, Dominik Hašek, Peter Bondra, Petr Klíma, Marián Gáborík, Marián Hossa, Miroslav Šatan and Pavol Demitra all come from Czechoslovakia.
Věra Čáslavská was an Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics, winning seven gold medals and four silver medals. She represented Czechoslovakia in three consecutive Olympics.
Several accomplished professional tennis players including Ivan Lendl, Jan Kodeš, Miloslav Mečíř, Hana Mandlíková, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna, Petra Kvitová and Daniela Hantuchová were born in Czechoslovakia.
Maps with Hungarian-language rubrics:
Alexander Dubček (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈalɛksandɛr ˈduptʃɛk]; 27 November 1921 – 7 November 1992) was a Slovak politician who served as the First secretary of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) (de facto leader of Czechoslovakia) from January 1968 to April 1969. He attempted to reform the communist government during the Prague Spring but was forced to resign following the Warsaw Pact invasion in August 1968.
During his leadership, under the slogan of "Socialism with a human face", Czechoslovakia lifted censorship on the media and liberalized Czechoslovak society, fuelling the so-called New Wave in Czechoslovak filmography. However, he was put under pressure by Stalinist voices inside the party as well as the Soviet leadership, who disliked the direction the country was taking and feared that Czechoslovakia could loosen ties with the Soviet Union and become more westernized. As a result, the country was invaded by the other Warsaw Pact countries on 20–21 August 1968, effectively ending the process known as the Prague Spring. Dubček resigned in April 1969 and was succeeded by Gustav Husák, who initiated normalization. Dubček was then expelled from the Communist Party in 1970.
Later, after the overthrow of the communist regime in 1989, he was Chairman of the federal Czechoslovak parliament. Also in 1989, the European Parliament awarded Dubček the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.Bohemia
Bohemia ( boh-HEE-mee-ə; Czech: Čechy; German: Böhmen ; Polish: Czechy; Latin: Bohemia) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.
Bohemia was a duchy of Great Moravia, later an independent principality, a kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently a part of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire. After World War I and the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, Bohemia became a part of Czechoslovakia. Between 1938 and 1945, border regions with sizeable German-speaking minorities of all three Czech lands were joined to Nazi Germany as the Sudetenland.The remainder of Czech territory became the Second Czechoslovak Republic and was subsequently occupied as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, In 1969, the Czech lands (including Bohemia) were given autonomy within Czechoslovakia as the Czech Socialist Republic. In 1990, the name was changed to the Czech Republic, which became a separate state in 1993 with the split of Czechoslovakia.Until 1948, Bohemia was an administrative unit of Czechoslovakia as one of its "lands" ("země"). Since then, administrative reforms have replaced self-governing lands with a modified system of "regions" ("kraje") which do not follow the borders of the historical Czech lands (or the regions from the 1960 and 2000 reforms). However, the three lands are mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution of the Czech Republic: "We, citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia…"Bohemia had an area of 52,065 km2 (20,102 sq mi) and today is home to approximately 6.5 million of the Czech Republic's 10.5 million inhabitants. Bohemia was bordered in the south by Upper and Lower Austria (both in Austria), in the west by Bavaria and in the north by Saxony and Lusatia (all in Germany), in the northeast by Silesia (in Poland), and in the east by Moravia (also part of the Czech Republic). Bohemia's borders were mostly marked by mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, and the Krkonoše, a part of the Sudetes range; the Bohemian-Moravian border roughly follows the Elbe-Danube watershed.Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Czech and Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa, KSČ) was a Communist and Marxist–Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992. It was a member of the Comintern. Between 1929 and 1953 it was led by Klement Gottwald. After its election victory in 1946 it seized power in the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état and established a one-party state allied with the Soviet Union. Nationalization of virtually all private enterprises followed.
In 1968, party leader Alexander Dubček proposed reforms that included a democratic process and this led to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Under pressure from the Kremlin, all reforms were repealed, party leadership became taken over by its more authoritarian wing and a massive non-bloody purge of party members was conducted.
In 1989 the party leadership bowed to popular pressure during the Velvet revolution and agreed to call the first contested election since 1946. In 1990, the centre-based Civic Forum won the election and the Communist party stood down.
In November 1990, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia became a federation of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and the Communist Party of Slovakia.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was declared to be a criminal organisation in the Czech Republic by the 1993 Act on Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It.Czech Republic
The Czech Republic ( (listen); Czech: Česká republika [ˈtʃɛskaː ˈrɛpublɪka] (listen)), also known by its short-form name, Czechia ( (listen); Czech: Česko [ˈtʃɛsko] (listen)), is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants; its capital and largest city is Prague, with 1.3 million residents. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and Pilsen. The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services, manufacturing and innovation. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index. It ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor; and Prague was the imperial seat in periods between the 14th and 17th century. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church.
Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. This contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.
Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic; Czechoslovakia was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (Czech and Slovak: Československá socialistická republika, ČSSR) ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 until 23 April 1990, when the country was under communist rule. Formally known as the Fourth Czechoslovak Republic, it has been regarded as a satellite state of the Soviet Union.Following the coup d'état of February 1948, when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized power with the support of the Soviet Union, the country was declared a people's republic after the Ninth-of-May Constitution became effective. The traditional name Československá republika (Czechoslovak Republic) was changed on 11 July 1960 following implementation of the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia as a symbol of the "final victory of socialism" in the country, and remained so until the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Several other state symbols were changed in 1960. Following the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the CSSR was renamed to the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic.Czechoslovakia national football team
The Czechoslovakia national football team (Czech: Československá fotbalová reprezentace, Slovak: Československé národné futbalové mužstvo) was the national association football team of Czechoslovakia from 1920 to 1992. The team was controlled by the Czechoslovak Football Association, and the team qualified for eight World Cups and three European Championships. It had two runner-up finishes in World Cups, in 1934 and 1962, and won the European Championship in the 1976 tournament.
At the time of 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 Representation of Czechs and Slovaks (RCS) before it was disbanded. The present-day Czech Republic national football team is recognized as the successor of the Czechoslovakia team. The country of Slovakia is represented by the Slovak national team.Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia (Czech: Rozdělení Československa, Slovak: Rozdelenie Česko-Slovenska), which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities that had arisen before as the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic in 1969 within the framework of a federal republic.
It is sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989 that led to the end of the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the restoration of a capitalist state in the country.First Czechoslovak Republic
The First Czechoslovak Republic (Czech: První československá republika, Slovak: Prvá česko-slovenská republika) was the Czechoslovak state that existed from 1918 to 1938. The state was commonly called Czechoslovakia (Czech and Slovak: Československo). It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia.
After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only functioning democracy in Central Europe. Under pressure from its Sudeten German minority, supported by neighbouring Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia was forced to cede its Sudetenland region to Germany on 1 October 1938 as part of the Munich Agreement. It also ceded southern parts of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia to Hungary and the Zaolzie region in Silesia to Poland. This, in effect, ended the First Czechoslovak Republic. It was replaced by the Second Czechoslovak Republic, which lasted less than half a year before Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939.German occupation of Czechoslovakia
The German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the German annexation of Czechoslovakia's border regions known collectively as the Sudetenland, under terms outlined by the Munich Agreement. German leader Adolf Hitler's pretext for this action was the alleged privations suffered by the ethnic German population living in those regions. New and extensive Czechoslovak border fortifications were also located in the same area.
Following the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi Germany, in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler's next ambition. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Germany that began on 1 October 1938 left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak, and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation. Part of the borderland region known as Zaolzie was occupied and subsequently returned to Poland after Czechoslovakia previously annexed it from Poland prior during the Polish-Soviet War. On 15 March 1939, the German Wehrmacht moved into the remainder of Czechoslovakia and, from Prague Castle, Hitler proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The occupation ended with the surrender of Germany following World War II.History of Czechoslovakia
With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of World War I, the independent country of Czechoslovakia (Czech, Slovak: Československo) was formed as a result of the critical intervention of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, among others.
The Czechs and Slovaks were not at the same level of economic and technological development, but the freedom and opportunity found in an independent Czechoslovakia enabled them to make strides toward overcoming these inequalities. However, the gap between cultures was never fully bridged, and this discrepancy played a disruptive role throughout the seventy-five years of the union.Lists of Czech films
The list of Czech films is a list of films made in the Czech lands from 1898 to the present. After 1930 some were with Czech sound, and after 1947 some were in colour. The list is ordered by year of release.Munich Agreement
The Munich Agreement (Czech: Mnichovská dohoda; Slovak: Mníchovská dohoda; German: Münchner Abkommen) or Munich Betrayal (Czech: Mnichovská zrada; Slovak: Mníchovská zrada) was an agreement between France and Nazi Germany, that France would not provide military assistance to Czechoslovakia in the upcoming German occupation of the "Sudetenland", effectively dishonoring the French-Czechoslovak alliance and allowing Nazi Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland, a region of western Czechoslovakia inhabited by 800,000 people, mainly German speakers. Adolf Hitler announced it was his last territorial claim in Europe, and the choice seemed to be between war and appeasement. An emergency meeting of the main European powers – not including the Soviet Union, an ally to both France and Czechoslovakia – took place in Munich, Germany, on 29-30 September 1938. An agreement was quickly reached on Hitler's terms. It was signed by the top leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy. Czechoslovakia was not invited to the conference. Militarily, the Sudetenland was of strategic importance to Czechoslovakia as most of its border defenses were situated there to protect against a German attack. The agreement between the four powers was signed on the backdrop of a low-intensity undeclared German-Czechoslovak war that had started on 17 September 1938. Meanwhile Poland, which was relying on German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact, also moved its army units towards common border with Czechoslovakia, attempting to breach it by use of paramilitary units after 23 September 1938. Facing combined force of German and Polish army alongside most of its border, with major part of the remaining border being with Hungary, Czechoslovakia yielded to French and British diplomatic pressure and ceded the Sudetenland to Germany in line with the terms of the agreement. The agreement was soon followed by the First Vienna Award which set the new border between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, while Poland also annexed territories from Czechoslovakia. In March 1939, the First Slovak Republic was proclaimed and shortly by the creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Germany took full control of the Czech parts. As a result, Czechoslovakia was dismembered.
Today, it is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement, and the term has become "a byword for the futility of appeasing expansionist totalitarian states".Prague Spring
The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in
Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.
The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel. After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. This dual federation was the only formal change that survived the invasion.
The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets, who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country. The New York Times cited reports of 650,000 men equipped with the most modern and sophisticated weapons in the Soviet military catalogue. A large wave of emigration swept the nation. Resistance was mounted throughout the country, involving attempted fraternization, sabotage of street signs, defiance of curfews, etc. While the Soviet military had predicted that it would take four days to subdue the country, the resistance held out for eight months until it was finally circumvented by diplomatic stratagems (see below). It became a high-profile example of civilian-based defense; there were sporadic acts of violence and several protest suicides by self-immolation (the most famous being that of Jan Palach), but no military resistance. Czechoslovakia remained controlled by the Soviet Union until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended the communist regime; the last Soviet troops left the country in 1991.
After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period known as "normalization": subsequent leaders attempted to restore the political and economic values that had prevailed before Dubček gained control of the KSČ. Gustáv Husák, who replaced Dubček as First Secretary and also became President, reversed almost all of the reforms. The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.Slovak Republic (1939–1945)
The (First) Slovak Republic (Slovak: [Prvá] Slovenská republika), otherwise known as the Slovak State (Slovenský štát), was a client state of Nazi Germany which existed between 14 March 1939 and 4 April 1945. It controlled the majority of the territory of present-day Slovakia but without its current southern and eastern parts, which had been ceded to Hungary in 1938. The Republic bordered Germany, constituent parts of "Großdeutschland", the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Poland – and subsequently the General Government (German-occupied remnant of Poland) – along with independent Hungary.
Germany recognized the Slovak State, as did several other states, including the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, the Croatian State, El Salvador, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, Romania, the Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, and the Vatican City. The majority of the Allies of World War II never recognized the existence of the Slovak Republic. The only exception was the Soviet Union, which nullified its recognition after Slovakia joined the invasion of the USSR in 1941.Slovakia
Slovakia ( (listen); Slovak: Slovensko [ˈslɔʋɛnskɔ] (listen)), officially the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovenská republika, listen ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, and the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5.4 million and consists mostly of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, and the second largest city is Košice. The official language is Slovak.
The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra, which was later conquered by the Principality of Moravia to establish Great Moravia. In the 10th century, after the dissolution of Great Moravia, the territory was integrated into the Principality of Hungary, which would become the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000. In 1241 and 1242, much of the territory was destroyed by the Mongols during their invasion of Central and Eastern Europe. The area was recovered largely thanks to Béla IV of Hungary who also settled Germans which became an important ethnic group in the area, especially in what are today parts of central and eastern Slovakia. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechoslovak National Council established Czechoslovakia (1918–1939). A separate (First) Slovak Republic (1939–1945) existed during World War II as a totalitarian, clero-fascist one-party client state of Nazi Germany. At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was re-established as an independent country. A coup in 1948 ushered in a totalitarian one-party state under the Communist regime during whose rule the country existed as a satellite of the Soviet Union. Attempts for liberalization of communism in Czechoslovakia culminated in the Prague Spring, which was crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia peacefully. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with a very high Human Development Index, a very high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of market economy with a comprehensive social security system. Citizens of Slovakia are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leave in the OECD. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009. Slovakia is also a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes. In 2018, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 10th in the world. As part of Eurozone, Slovak legal tender is the Euro, the world's 2nd-most-traded currency. Slovakia is the world's largest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone and the 7th largest car producer in the European Union. The car industry represents 43% of Slovakia's industrial output, and a quarter of its exports.Sudetenland
The Sudetenland ( (listen); German: [zuˈdeːtn̩ˌlant]; Czech and Slovak: Sudety; Polish: Kraj Sudecki) is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. These German speakers had predominated in the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia from the time of the Austrian Empire.
The word "Sudetenland" did not come into being until the early part of the 20th century and did not come to prominence until over a decade into the century, after the First World War, when the German-dominated Austria-Hungary was dismembered and the Sudeten Germans found themselves living in the new country of Czechoslovakia. The Sudeten crisis of 1938 was provoked by the Pan-Germanist demands of Germany that the Sudetenland be annexed to Germany, which happened after the later Munich Agreement. Part of the borderland was invaded and annexed by Poland. When Czechoslovakia was reconstituted after the Second World War, the Sudeten Germans were expelled and the region today is inhabited almost exclusively by Czech speakers.
The word Sudetenland is a German compound of Land, meaning "country", and Sudeten, the name of the Sudeten Mountains, which run along the northern Czech border and Lower Silesia (now in Poland). The Sudetenland encompassed areas well beyond those mountains, however.
Parts of the now Czech regions of Karlovy Vary, Liberec, Olomouc, Moravia-Silesia, and Ústí nad Labem are within the area called Sudetenland.Velvet Revolution
The Velvet Revolution (Czech: sametová revoluce) or Gentle Revolution (Slovak: nežná revolúcia) was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, occurring from 17 November to 29 December 1989. Popular demonstrations against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia included students and older dissidents. The result was the end of 41 years of one-party rule in Czechoslovakia, and the subsequent dismantling of the planned economy and conversion to a parliamentary republic.On 17 November 1989 (International Students' Day), riot police suppressed a student demonstration in Prague. The event marked the 50th Anniversary of a violently suppressed demonstration against communism and sparked a series of demonstrations from 17 November to late December. On 20 November, the number of protesters assembled in Prague grew from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated 500,000. The entire top leadership of the Communist Party, including General Secretary Miloš Jakeš, resigned on 24 November. On 27 November, a two-hour general strike involving all citizens of Czechoslovakia was held.
In response to the collapse of other Warsaw Pact governments and the increasing street protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced on 28 November that it would relinquish power and dismantle the one-party state. Two days later, the legislature formally deleted the sections of the Constitution giving the Communists a monopoly of power. Barbed wire and other obstructions were removed from the border with West Germany and Austria in early December. On 10 December, President Gustáv Husák appointed the first largely non-communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubček was elected speaker of the federal parliament on 28 December and Václav Havel the President of Czechoslovakia on 29 December 1989.
In June 1990, Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections since 1946. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries—the Czech Republic and Slovakia.Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Approximately 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.Česká zbrojovka Strakonice
Česká zbrojovka (ČZ a.s.) is a Czech company producing components for the automobile industry and former firearms manufacturer also known for making ČZ motorcycles. ČZ was established as a branch of the Škoda Works Armament in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia in September 1919.