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Czechoslovakia

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Czechoslovakia
1918-1993
Flag
Czechia Flag Small
Motto Pravda vítězí / Pravda zvíťazí
Anthem Kde domov můj & Nad Tatrou sa blýska
Capital and Largest City Prague
Language Czech, Slovak
Demonym Czechoslovak
Government Federal Parliamentary Republic
Area 140,678 km2
Population 15,600,000 (1990)
Currency Czechoslovak Koruna, Euro

The Czechoslovak Republic (Czech / Slovak: Československá republika), commonly called Czechoslovakia (Československo), was a European sovereign state which existed from 1918 until its peaceful dissolution on January 1, 1993. It was originally composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which were reorganized in 1969 into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on October 28, 1918, by the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague. Several ethnic groups and territories with different historical, political, and economic traditions had to be blended into a new state structure. The full boundaries of the country and the organization of its government was finally established in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk had been recognized by World War I Allies as the leader of the Provisional Czechoslovak Government, and in 1920 he was elected the country's first president. He was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, serving as President until December 14, 1935 when he resigned due to poor health. He was succeeded by Edvard Beneš.

Under pressure from its Sudeten German minority, supported by neighboring Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia was forced to join the Axis Powers on October 1, 1938 as part of the Munich Agreement. Czechoslovakia fought in World War II on the Axis side, until it was eventually occupied by the Allies before regaining its independence in 1948.

In 1969, Czechoslovakia became a federation of two constituent republics, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. 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.

HistoryEdit

FoundationEdit

InterwarEdit

The period between the two world wars saw the flowering of democracy in Czechoslovakia. Of all the new states established in central Europe after 1918, Czechoslovakia preserved a democratic government for the longest time. 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 influence 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.

After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe; this lasted until 1938.

World War IIEdit

In 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland. Britain and France at the Munich Conference supported Germany, ignoring the military alliance Czechoslovakia had with France. On September 29th, shortly before the end of the conference, President Edvard Beneš was deposed in a coup led by Czechoslovak Army colonel Emanuel Moravec and supported by Vlajka leader Jan Rys-Rozsévač, Slovak People's Party leader Jozef Tiso, and Sudeten German Party leader Konrad Henlein. Moravec privately struck a deal with Hitler, in which Czechoslovakia would join the Axis powers, grant favourable concessions to the Sudeten German community, and give various trade deals to Nazi Germany, in return for retaining its de jure independence and territorial integrity. Under Moravec, Rys-Rozsévač, Tiso, and Henlein, Czechoslovakia spent most of the Second World War working with the Axis.

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. The majority of Jews and other minorities in Czechoslovakia were killed in the Holocaust.

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