in Central 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
exist because of its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany
, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
nevertheless continued to exist during this period.
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.
in Central 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
exist because of its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany
, but the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
nevertheless continued to exist during this period. In 1945, the eastern part of Carpathian Ruthenia
was taken over by the Soviet Union
. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split
into the Czech Republic
Basic characteristicsForm of state:
- 1918 - 1938: A democratic republic.
- 1938 - 1939: After annexation of SudetenlandSudetenlandSudetenland 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 GermanyGermanyGermany , 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 RutheniaRutheniaRuthenia 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 HungaryHungaryHungary , 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 ZaolzieZaolzieZaolzie 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 PolandPolandPoland , 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 MoraviaProtectorate of Bohemia and MoraviaThe 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 RepublicSlovak 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-exileCzechoslovak government-in-exileThe 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 NationsDeclaration by United NationsThe 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 NationsUnited NationsThe 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 RutheniaCarpathian RutheniaCarpathian 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 stateCommunist stateA 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 economyPlanned economyA 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 republicCzechoslovak Socialist RepublicThe 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 federalFederationA 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 RepublicCzech Socialist RepublicFrom 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 RepublicSlovak Socialist RepublicFrom 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.
- AustriaAustriaAustria , 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-
- GermanyGermanyGermany , 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-
- WestWest GermanyWest 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
- PolandPolandPoland , 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* UkraineUkraineUkraine 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...
- RomaniaRomaniaRomania 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...
- HungaryHungaryHungary , 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...
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
and Danube River basin lands.
The weather was predominantly continental, but varied from the moderate temperature of Western Europe
in the west, to more severe weather of Eastern Europe
and the western Soviet Union in the east.
- 1918 - 1920: Republic of CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovak 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 RepublicCzechoslovak 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 RepublicSecond Czechoslovak RepublicThe 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 RepublicCzechoslovak Socialist RepublicThe 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 RepublicCzech and Slovak Federal RepublicCzech 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).
OriginsThe 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 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
(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
and worked for reorganized, federal, and Slavic-dominated Austrian Empire, which would protect Slavic peoples
against Russian and German threats. The failure of the Revolution of 1848
, however, crushed his hopes for Austroslavism.
An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to Reichsrat
(Austrian Parliament), the first time being from 1891 to 1893 in the Young Czech Party
and again from 1907 to 1914 in the Czech Realist Party
, which he founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář
and Josef Kaizl
. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in 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 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.
and as part of the Treaty of Versailles
. 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.
EthnicityThe 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, 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
), 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
Nationalities of Czechoslovakia 1921
|total population||| 13,607.385|
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...
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...
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...
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...
InterwarThe 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
, 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.
MunichIn 1938, Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland
. Britain, and France at the Munich Conference ceded the control in the Appeasement
, ignoring the military alliance Czechoslovakia had with France. In 1939, the remainder ("rump") of Czechoslovakia was invaded by Nazi Germany
and divided into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
and the puppet Slovak State. Much of Slovakia and all of Subcarpathian Ruthenia were annexed by Hungary. Poland occupied Zaolzie
, 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
, 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.
The deportation of Jews to concentration camps was organized, and the fortress town of Terezín
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
. Heydrich's successor, Colonel General Kurt Daluege
, ordered mass arrests and executions and the destruction of the villages of Lidice
. 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 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
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 CzechoslovakiaAfter 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 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.
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 was characterised by the absence of liberal democracy
. While its economy remained more advanced than those of its neighbours in Eastern Europe
, Czechoslovakia grew increasingly economically weak relative to Western Europe
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 to the preservation of the Soviet, socialist system and vowed to intervene in any state that sought to replace Marxism
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 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
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 federalisation.
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.
After 1989In 1989, the Velvet Revolution
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
and the Soviet Union
, 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
by parliament. On 1 January 1993 it formally separated into two completely independent countries: the Czech Republic
and the Slovak Republic.
Heads of state and government
- List of Presidents of Czechoslovakia
- List of Prime Ministers of Czechoslovakia
- see also leaders of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
International agreements and membershipAfter 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
- 1918 - 1923: Different systems in former Austrian territory (BohemiaBohemiaBohemia 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...
, MoraviaMoraviaMoravia 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 SilesiaSilesiaSilesia 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 (SlovakiaSlovakiaThe 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 RutheniaRutheniaRuthenia 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 (okresOkresOkres refers to administrative entities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia...
- 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, PraguePraguePrague 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) BratislavaBratislavaBratislava 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).
After WWII, a political monopoly was held by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
(KSC). Gustáv Husák
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
. Human rights activists and religious activists were severely repressed.
Constitutional developmentCzechoslovakia had the following constitution
s during its history (1918–1992):
- Temporary constitution of 14 November 1918 (democratic): see History of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
- The 1920 constitutionCzechoslovak Constitution of 1920After 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 ConstitutionNinth-of-May ConstitutionThe 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 Republic1960 Constitution of CzechoslovakiaThe 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 FederationConstitutional Law of FederationThe 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)
EconomyAfter WWII, 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.
- 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 taxTurnover taxA 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 baseAfter 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.
EducationEducation 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.
ReligionIn 1991: Roman Catholics 46.4%, Evangelic Lutheran
5.3%, Atheist 29.5%, n/a 16.7%, but there were huge differences between the two constituent republics – see Czech Republic
Health, social welfare and housingAfter 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
during the 1960s and 1970s.
Mass mediaDuring 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.
SportsThe Czechoslovakia national football team
was a consistent performer on the international scene, with 8 appearances in the FIFA World Cup Finals
, finishing in second place in 1934
. The team also won the European Football Championship
in 1976, came in third in 1980 and won the Olympic gold 1980.
The Czechoslovak national ice hockey team
won many medals from the world championships and Olympic Games. Peter Šťastný
, Jaromír Jágr
, Peter Bondra
, Petr Klíma
, Marián Gáborík
, and Pavol Demitra
all come from Czechoslovakia.
, winner of four Olympic
gold medals in athletics, is considered one of the top athletes in history.
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
players Ivan Lendl
, Miloslav Mečíř
, Daniela Hantuchová
and Martina Navrátilová were born in Czechoslovakia.
- Czech RepublicCzech RepublicThe 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....
, SlovakiaSlovakiaThe 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
- MDŽInternational Women's DayInternational 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 CzechoslovakiaJazz in dissident CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakia’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...
- List of people on stamps of Czechoslovakia
- Czechoslovakia's first issue
- Czechoslovakia stamp reused by Slovak Republic after 18 January 1939 by overprinting country and value
- Warsaw Pact invasion of CzechoslovakiaWarsaw Pact invasion of CzechoslovakiaOn 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...
- Velvet RevolutionVelvet RevolutionThe Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place from November 17 – December 29, 1989...
- Former countries in Europe after 1815Former countries in Europe after 1815This 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 WarEffects 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 demonstration1968 Red Square demonstrationThe 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...
- 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 RobertsAdam 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 AshTimothy Garton AshTimothy 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
- Orders and Medals of Czechoslovakia including Order of the White Lion (in English and Czech)
- Czechoslovakia-The First Czechoslovak Republic
- AndropovYuri AndropovYuri 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 SakharovAndrei SakharovAndrei 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...
KGBKGBThe 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 UniversityYale UniversityYale 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...
- Hungarian Language Map, border changes after the creation of Czechoslovakia