|History of Czechoslovakia : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources|
For the history prior to 1918, see see Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Slovakia
1918-1929 . 1929-1938 . 1938-1939 . 1939-1945 . 1945-1948 . 1948-1960 . 1960-1968 . 1968-1989 . 1989-1992
For the history since 1992, see Czech Republic, Slovakia
Establishment . The foundation of the Czechoslovak state had been decided upon by representatives of the country's Czech, Slovak and Ruthenian population groups (Pittsburgh Agreement, May 31st 1918). Independence was declared on October 28th 1918.
Yet the country was home to significant other ethnic groups, foremost the Sudeten Germans, themselves forming the clear majority in the mountain fringe surrounding the Czech lands, and also forming significant minorities in the country's cities, a Hungarian minority along the Hungarian border, a strong Jewish community with center in Prague, and a small Polish minority in certain border areas. Of these, the Sudeten Germans in 1918 sought their area attached to German Austria - they sent delegates to German-Austria's first parliament. The Hungarians sought annexion of their areas (where they formed the majority) into what was left of Hungary.
The federalist constitution of 1920 provided a (future) degree of autonomy for the Czech-majority regions of Bohemiaand of Moravia-Silesia, for Slovakia and for Carpatho-Ruthenia, but left the Sudeten Germans, the Hungarians, the Jews and Poles within Czechoslovakia without regional autonomy.
Administration . Tomas Garrigue Masaryk held the presidency from 1918 to 1935. The office of PM was held by Karel Kramar 1918-1919, Vlastimil Tusar 1919-1920, Jan Cerny 1920-1921, Edvard Benes 1921-1922, Antonin Svehla 1922-1926, Jan Cerny 1926, Antonin Svehla 1926-1929. A provisional constitution was adopted in 1918, a permanent constitution in 1920.
Foreign Policy . Nascent Czechoslovakia had come into existence with the support of France, Imperial Russia (where the Czecho-Slovak Legion had been formed during World War I), the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Czechoslovakia would cultivate strong political ties with France until 1939.
Czechoslovakia found itself a neighbour of hostile states. In Hungary the cession of territory forced upon Hungary by the Treaty of Trianon was widely resented, and the Hungarian government strove for a revision; Czechoslovakia and Hungary were in a state of war 1918-1919, Hungarian troops in May 1919 proceeding to occupy much of Slovakia. The Romanian defeat of Hungary in August 1918 resulted in a regime change in Hungary and the evacuation of Slovakia by Hungarian troops. Hungary, throughout the Interbellum, maintained her claim on Slovakia.
Representatives of the majority German-speaking districts of Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia in 1918 had opted for German-Austria.
In Germany the conditions of the dictated Treaty of Versailles were as unpopular as the Treaty of Trianon was in Hungary. The German government pursued the policy of accepting the territorial changes in the west (Alsace-Lorraine etc.) as permanent, but seeking border revisions in the east.
As the political situation was in a flux, Czechoslovakia in 1920-1921 joined the Little Entente, a defensive alliance, with the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and with Romania.
Poland and Czechoslovakia disputed the possession of Teschen (Cieszyn) in what used to be Austrian Silesia. In 1919 Czechoslovak troops occupied the city and surroundng area, and it was annexed into Czechoslovakia. Poland in 1934 would reiterate her claim on the area.
Czechoslovakia did not establish diplomatic relations with the USSR until 1934.
Czechoslovakia was a founder-member of the League of Nations.
Political History . Political-strategic interests prevailed; the German and Hungarian minorities now regarded themselves under foreign rule, similar as the Czechs have felt under Austrian and the Slovaks under Hungarian rule in previous decades. The (mostly German speaking) Jewish community had felt more alien in the Czechoslovak state, which regarded itself a Slavic state; this feeling of lack of political orientation is expressed in the writings of Franz Kafka, a Prague Jew.
Czechoslovakia emerged as a role-model democracy. In 1919 Czechoslovakia pledged herself to respect the rights of ethnic minorities, such as having their children educated in their native language. A constitution was passed in 1920, which was federalist, in 1928 establishing regional assemblies for Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia, Slovakia and Carpatho-Ruthenia. In 1921, universal womanhood suffrage was introduced.
The Czechoslovak political leadership, while having made concessions to federalism, essentially viewed Czechs and Slovaks as being one nationality. Politicians demanding a higher degree of autonomy for Slovakia, autonomy for the areas with a German or Hungarian majority were regarded, and in part treated, as subversives. A law was passed which declared political parties not supporting the Czechoslovak state illegal.
The Economy . Inflation was a problem in 1918-1919; in 1919 a currency reform was implemented, the Koruna currency introduced. State revenue increased from 1.95 billion Koruna in 1919 to 11.31 billion Koruna in 1929 (IHS p.817). Unemployment figures were at 72,000 in 1921, 207,000 in 1923, 49,000 in 1925, 42,000 in 1929 (IHS p.159).
Most of the industrial enterprises of Austria-Hungary were located in the Czech lands, and inherited by Czechoslovakia. Slovakia was home to a number of industries, but much less industrialized than the Czech lands; Carpatho-Ruthenia's economy, in 1918, was entirely agricultural. Of these industrial enterprises, only a fraction were owned by Czechs or Slovaks. The most famous enterprise were the Skoda factories in Plzen.
A land reform was implemented (1919-1935), in which landed estates held by nobles, the church etc. was taken over by the Czechoslovak state, parcelled and handed out to peasants.
Social History . The census of 1921 counted 13.612 million inhabitants of Czechoslovakia, the census of 1930 14.73 million (IHS p.3).
Cultural History . Regular radio broadcasting began in 1923.
Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics held at Brussels 1920, Paris 1924 and Amsterdam 1928.
Administration . Tomas Garrigue Masaryk held the presidency from 1918 to 1935, succeeded by Edvard Benes (1935-1938), Jan Syrovy (Oct. to Nov. 1938) and Emil Hacha (1938-1939/1945). The office of PM was held by Frantisek Udrzal (1929-1932), Jan Malypetr (1932-1935), Milan Hodza (1935-1938), Jan Syrovy (Sept.-Dec. 1938), Rudolf Beran (1938-1939). General elections were held in 1929 and 1935.
Foreign Policy . In 1929 the Little Entente, an alliance with Yugoslavia and Romania, was renewed. In 1930 the Reparations Conference at Den Haag required Czechoslovakia to pay reparations, a decision which caused an outrage in Czechoslovakia (NIYB 1930 p.211).
In 1934 Czechoslovakia and the USSR established diplomatic relations. In 1934, Poland claimed territory in Czech Silesia (Teschen) and Slovakia (Zips). In 1936 Germany demanded that the Czech districts with a majority German-speaking population be formed into autonomous regions (AAnn 1937 p.188).
Political History . When Czechoslovakia was established in 1918, vague assurances of a federal constitution were made; the country consisted of 4 parts - Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia, Slovakia and Carpatho-Ruthenia. The Czechoslovak leadership (Masaryk, Benes etc.) instead promoted the vision of Czechoslovakia as a unitary state, and regarded Czechs and Slovaks as essentially being one nation. This unitary Czechoslovakia was widely supported among the Czechs in the Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia) and found some support among the Slovaks. The representatives of Czechoslovakia's ethnic German and Hungarian minorities, from early on, for the most part were in opposition.
The Czechoslovak state treated Dr. Tuka, an outspoken advocate of Slovak autonomy as a fifth column serving Hungary's claims on Slovakia or parts of it. In 1930 nationalist Czech (Czechoslovak) demonstrations turned xenophobic (NIYB 1930 p.214).
The Slovak politicians who were critical of unitary Czechoslovakia, and who demanded political autonomy, claimed that the Prague administration had not done enough to develop industries in Slovakia, a backward region if compared to the Czech lands. The Slovak political parties demanding autonomy for Slovakia, during the 1930es, grew in strength; in Nov.-Dec. 1938 the Slovak political parties, en bloc, demanded autonomy.
By 1929 the political landscape of Czechoslovakia and her ethnicities was fragmented; by the end of the 1930es a process of concentration had taken place. While the Great Depression had affected all Czechoslovaks, by 1938 the political organizations representing the ethnic German and Hungarian minorities were against the Czechoslovak state, the Slovaks against a centralist Czechoslovak state.
In 1933 the state of emergency was declared.
The Economy . During the first years of the world economic crisis (1929-1931) Czechoslovakia withstood the 'economic blizzard' with better than average success. But in 1932 and 1933 there was a marked slump in industrial production and the condition of agriculture became desperate, Foreign trade was lower than at any time in the republic's short history (NIYB 1933 p.205).
Czechoslovak state revenue was 11.3 million Korunas in 1929, 9.81 million in 1935, 10.0 million in 1937 (IHS p.817).
In 1929, Czechoslovakia had 42,000 unemployed, in 1933 738,000, in 1937 409,000 (IHS pp.159, 162)
In 1929, Czechoslovakia produced 1.44 million metric tons of wheat, in 1937 1.37 million (IHS p.262).
In 1930 foreign noble estate owners, under the threat of nationalization, gave up their property rights and the land in question was parcelled and redistributed (NIYB 1930 p.214). The land board, which had implemented the land reform since 1919, was dissolved in 1935 (NIYB 1935 p.182). In 1932 Carpatho-Ruthenia suffered famine (NIYB 1932 p.228).
Social History . In 1930, Czechoslovakia had 14.72 million inhabitants, Bohemia 7.1 million, Moravia 2.8 million, Silesia 0.73 million, Slovakia 3.33 million, Ruthenia 0.72 million (NIYB 1931 p.250). On Jan. 1st 1938 the population was estimated as 15.2 million (FWNSEYB 1938 p.147). The ascendance of the NSDAP to power in Germany in 1933 caused an influx of German refugees into Czechoslovakia; the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938 caused a further influx of refugees.
Cultural History . Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Los Angeles 1932 and Berlin 1936, taking one respectively 3 gold medals. At the FIFA World Cup in Italy 1934 the Czechoslovak football team took second place, defeated by Italy 1-2 in the final game.
Radio Prague, addressing an international audience, began broadcasting in 1936.
Czechoslovakia attracted refugees such as German novelist Heinrich Mann.
August 1938 - March 1939
By 1938, the NSDAP was the strongest party in the Sudeten German areas of Czechoslovakia, a tool of Hitler's policy. The Sudeten Nazis under H. Henlein demanded the Sudetenland to be annexed to Germany; Hitler threatened to invade.
The Munich Conference was held in September 1938; Daladier (France) and Chamberlain (United Kingdom), as Czechoslovakia's protectors, agreed to Czechoslovakia ceding area with Sudeten German, Hungarian respectively Polish majority to the respective neighbouring countries. A war had, for the moment, been avoided. The Czechoslovak government, itself not represented in Munich, had no choice but to give in, feeling betrayed by its western allies who had failed to stand to their obligations.
Not only had the country ceded outlying minority areas; it had also lost its chain of defense fortifications. The Sudetenland would also soon gain importance as the German's main supply of uranium, the material for Germany's nuclear bomb project.
Hitler was not satisfied with just gaining the Sudetenland. In March 1939 he had the remainder of Bohemia (Czechia) and Moravia occupied. A pro-German Slovakian administration declared independence; the occupied Czech lands were called "Reich protectorate Bohemia and Moravia". Czechoslovakia had seized to exist, and again the western allies had not reacted.
The Land, 1939-1945 . By March 1939, what had formed Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1939 had been carved up to into nominally independent Slovakia, a German satellite state, core Bohemia & Moravia, a German "protectorate", and into southern Slovakia & Carpatho-Ruthenia, annexed into Hungary, the Olsa territory, annexed into Poland, and the Sudetenland, annexed into Germany.
For the measures implemented by the respective administration, the economic, social and cultural history of these regions, see under the respective regions.
Establishment of the Czechoslovak Exile Government . When Czechoslovakia was dismembered, core Czechia occupied by German troops in March 1939, Czechoslovakia's allies Britain and France did not respond. A number of Czechoslovaks had managed to escape occupation, but for the time being could not form organizations in exile claiming to represent Czechoslovakia.
This situation changed, when German forces invaded Poland on September 1st 1939; on this occasion, France and Britain declared war. Now Edvard Benes, who had served as President of Czechoslovakia from 1935 to 1938, established a Czechoslovak National Committee in Paris; on Oct. 2nd 1939 a treaty with France was signed, which permitted the establishment of Czechoslovak forces in France.
In May-June 1940, German forces invaded France and forced the latter to surrender; many Czechoslovak exiles moved on to Britain. In June 1940, Edvard Benes established a Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile with seat in London. Czechoslovak pilots would particpate in the Battle of Britain.
Foreign Policy . In October 1940 the Czechoslovak and Polish Governments-in-Exile pledged friendship and cooperation during and after the war (NIYB 1940 p.176) and planned a post-war confederation of the two countries (NIYB 1942 p.188). Benes terminated discussions of the confederation, when relations between the Polish Govt.-in-Exile and the USSR deteriorated in 1943 (NIYB 1943 p.158). In 1941 the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile received recognition by Britain, the U.S. and the USSR (NIYB 1941 p.160). On Dec. 16th 1941, the Czechoslovak Govt.-in-Exile declared war on all nations presently at war with Britain, the U.S.A. and USSR (NIYB 1941 p.161). In 1942 the Czechoslovak Govt.-in-Exile achieved the repudiation of the Munich Pact by Britain and France. In 1942 Czechoslovak resistance fighters, with British guidance and support, assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, German governor of Bohemia and Moravia (Operation Anthropoid).
The German invasion of the USSR on June 22nd 1941 created the Natural Alliance of Britain and the U.S. on one, the USSR on the other side. During the Interbellum, the political leadership of Czechoslovakia had been distrustful of the USSR; diplomatic relations only had been established in 1934. The signing of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in August 1939 had only resulted in increasing Benes' skepticism. The situation created by the German invasion of the USSR required the natural allies, which did include minor players such as the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile, to pull together. After the Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad (Feb. 1942), Benes travelled to Moscow and signed a treaty (Dec. 1943) according to which Benes recognized the role of the Communist Party in the future administration of a liberated Czechoslovakia, and agreed to an agenda of socio-economic reforms.
Czechoslovak Communists . The USSR was host to exile Czechoslovak Communists, who prepared for playing an active role in post-liberation Czechoslovakia, most notably Klement Gottwald. They were partners in the negotiations Benes held in Moscow in Dec. 1943.
The Treatment of Czechoslovakia on Allied Conferences . The Atlantic Charter of August 14th 1941, agreed upon by Churchill and Roosevelt, stipulated amongst others the restoration of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. At the Conferences of Cairo (1943), Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), Czechoslovakia's Government-in-Exile was (indirectly) represented by Churchill, the Czechoslovak Communist Party (indirectly) by Stalin. At the conferences, the restoration of Czechoslovak independence, the restoration of her territory in the borders of 1937, and the supervision of the post-war administration by an Allied Control Commission were agreed upon. The prominent role the USSR played in the liberation of Czechoslovakia determned the weight the USSR representatives would have in the Allied Control Commission.
Domestic Policies of the Exile Government . In 1943 President Benes announced that the secession of Slovakia of 1939 would not be recognized, that in post-war Slovakia political parties "likely to undermine the liberty of the nation" would not be tolerated, and proposed the expulsion of Czechoslovakia's ethnic German and ethnic Hungarian minorities to the countries of their choice (NIYB 1943 p,159).
Liberation : At the time of German surrender, much of the Czech lands was still occupied by German forces. Pilsen in the west was even liberated by US forces. At Yalta it had been agreed that in Czechoslovakia the Red Army would be in charge to establish the ACC (Allied Control Commission).
Foreign Policy : The USSR annexed Rutheno-Carpathia (ceded by Czechoslovakia in a June 1945 treaty), which was integrated into the Ukrainian SSR in 1946. In 1946 Czechoslovakia and Hungary negotiated about the exchange of Slovakia's Hungarian minority and Hungary's Slovak minority, where no agreement was achieved. US financial aid to Czechoslovakia was temporarily suspended late in 1946 because of the anti-American tone of a number of (Communist) Czechoslovak newspapers.
Domestic Policy : Czechoslovakia was reestablished as the Third Republic. A National Front coalition government was formed on April 4th 1945 in the Slovakian town of Kosice, consisting of both parties represented in the London-based exile government, and the Communists, whose leadership had sat out the war in Moscow. The communists held the ministries of the interior and of justice (with control over the police). It was headed by Edvard Benes. The government moved back to Prague in May. Leading collaborators such as Slovak wartime President Joseph Tiso, were tried, sentenced and executed (1946-1947).
The country's German Sudeten minority was forcefully expelled. German-owned land was distributed among the peasants, German-owned industries nationalised. Communist party membership grew quickly, as public sentiment was disappointed in the western powers, blamed for betraying the country at Munich in 1938, while the Soviet Red Army had liberated most of the country in a war which had cost uncountable sacrifices.
Elections in 1946 returned the Communists as the strongest party, with 114 out of 300 seats. In 1947 the KSC (Socialist Party, controlled by the communists), began to plot against its coalition partners, with the aim of taking sole control of the government, a move in which they were tacitly supported by the Soviet authorities. The democratic parties resisted, until the non-communist parties left government in February 1948; President Edvard Benes had to accept a communist cabinet lead by Prime Minister Gottwald.
The Economy : Czechoslovakia was an interesting trade partner for many European countries, as her many of her factories had survived the war with limited damage and as the country had a pool of skilled labour; Czechoslovak machinery was in high demand. In 1947 Czechoslovakia signed trade agreements with Poland and the USSR.
Care distributed food parcels in 1947-1948; the operation was scaled down when the Czechoslovak government interfered, and terminated in July 1950.
Administration . The People's Republic was proclaimed in February 1948. Klement Gottwald served as First Secretary of the Communist Party (KPC) from 1929 to 1953, and was succeeded by Antonin Novotny (1953-1968). Gottwald also served as President from 1948 to 1953; he was succeeded in this office by Antonin Zapotocky (1953-1957) and Antonin Novotny (1957-1968). Czechoslovak Party Congresses were held in 1949, 1954, 1960; a special Communist Party Conference in 1956, Slovak Party Congresses in 1950, 1958. General Elections to the National Assembly were held in 1954 and 1960.
Foreign Policy . Czechoslovakia joined COMECON in 1949 and the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Following the armistice terminating the Korean War in 1953, Czechoslovak officers joined the NNSC (Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission). Pressure on the Czechoslovak Catholic Church in 1948-1953 resulted in por relations with the Vatican State. In 1949 Czechoslovakia, in a treaty with Hungary, made assurances regarding the treatment of Slovakia's Hungarian minority. The CSR, in 1949, gave up a stance hostile to Germany and established relations with the newly founded GDR (BBoY 1950 p.214).
Czechoslovakia and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1948.
Czechoslovakia and the PR China established diplomatic relations in 1949.
Political History . In the Gottwald Era (-1953), the Catholic church suffered repression; political dissent similarly was suppressed, party purges implemented. The collectivization of privately owned land was promoted. In 1953 both Stalin and Gottwald died.
The 1953 currency reform negatively affected the savings of Czechoslovaks, because they were forced to exchange them into new Koruna accorduing to an exchange rate of 1:5; the measure provoked spontaneous demonstrations (BBoY 1954 p.210).
The events in the GDR in 1953, in Hungary and Poland in 1956 caused the political leadership in Czechoslovakia to pursue a policy of relaxing excessive suppressive policies while increasing political control over the state. Novotny, First Secretary, assumed the presidency in 1957; in 1960 Czechoslovakia adopted a new centralist constitution.
The Economy . Czechoslovakia had joined COMECON in 1949. A planned economy was introduced, industries nationalized, the collectivization of privately owned land promoted, the exchange rate of the Koruna fixed, prices were also fixed. First Five Year Plan 1951-1955, Second Five Year Plan 1956-1960.
In a 1953 currency reform, the Koruna was tied to the Soviet Rouble; prices were reduced (BBoY 1954 p.210); prices of consumer goods were again reduced in 1959 (BBoY 1960 p.194).
Social History . The population estimate for 1950 was 12.59 million; the estimate for 1960 13.69 million.
In 1951, Czechoslovakia experienced a shortage of industrial workers and addressed the problem by increasing the number of female factory workers, and by transferring holders of clerical positions to factory jobs (in 1951 72,000, BBoY 1952 p.210).
Cultural History . The Catholic church found itself not only reduced to a private organization, but under political observation and pressure; the government promoted atheism. Archbishop Beran of Prague, from 1949 to 1963, was imprisoned.
Television broadcasting began in 1953.
Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of London 1948, Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960. "Locomotive" Emil Zatopek won gold in the 5000 m, 10,000 m and marathon runs in Helsinki 1952.
The 1959 Ice Hockey World Championship was hosted by Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia won the Ice Hockey World Championship in 1949 and took second place in 1948.
The Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was established in 1953.
Administration . In 1960 Czechoslovakia adopted a new constitution, proclaiming the Czecho-Slovak Socialist Republic (CSSR). The constitution emphasized the role of central authorities; the Communist Party was defined as the true representative of the political will of the people. An administrative reform reduced the number of regions from 19 to 10.
Antonin Novotny served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1953 to 1968; he was succeeded by Alexander Dubcek (1968-1969).
Novotny also served as president from 1957 to 1968, succeeded by Ludvik Svoboda (1968-1975). The office of PM was held by Viliam Siroky until 1963, by Jozef Lenart 1963-1968, by Oldrich Cernik from 1968-1970.
Foreign Policy . Czechoslovakia was a member of COMECON since 1949 and of the Warsaw Pact since 1955.
Following the Six Days War in 1967, Czechoslovakia severed diplomatic relations with Israel; they were to be reestablished in 1990.
Leonid Brezhnev, early in 1968, failed to respond to Antonin Novotny's request to back him against party critics led by Alexander Dubcek. When the new Czechoslovak administration went on a fast pace of political reform, he viewed this as a threat to the Soviet Bloc. Hardline Czechoslovak communists 'invited' Warsaw Pact forces under Soviet leadership to enter Czechoslovakia and to 'rid it of counterrevolutionaries'. Warsaw Pact forces (except those from Romania) did invade, ending the Spring of Prague, thus implementing the Brezhnev Doctrine.
Political History . The Czechoslovak leadership had reacted to the events of 1956 - Destalinization in the USSR, rebellion in Hungary and political unrest in Poland, with a policy of relaxing excessive state control and pressure, while, by the means of adopting the centralist constitution of 1960, strengthening control over the state.
In the early 1960es the Czechoslovak economy performed poorly, and economists demanded change, criticized the control by political bodies over economic entities. The year 1963 saw proponents of liberalization come into positions of power, such as PM Josef Lenart. In 1968 Alexander Dubcek criticized First Secretary and President Antonin Novotny, who when not backed by the USSR, resigned and was succeeded as First Secretary by his critic, as Presdent by Ludvik Svoboda.
Dubcek advocated the policy of Socialism with a Human Face, abolished press censorship; Czechs and Slovaks were allowed to travel freely (and most of those who did, chose to return to their country). The new administration enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the large majority of its population.
Soviet party chief Leonid Brezhnev regarded the Czechoslovak experiment potentially infectious and therefore dangerous; the Warsaw Pact forces (except Romania) invaded, ending the Prague Spring by force.
The Czechoslovaks put up a campaign of non-violent resistance, extensively covered by sympathetic western media. Roadsigns had been turned around to confuse invading forces. Czechoslovak citizens asked occupying soldiers (in Russian) why they had come. When these responded, to stop the counterrebolution, they were told 'Here is no counterrevolution. Go home !' Student Jan Palach poured gasoline over his body and burnt himself on St. Wenceslas square. Early in 1969, the ice hockey world cup was held in Sweden; the CSSR and USSR squadrons met twice in highly emotional games, the Czechoslovaks among the spectators singing the national anthem. That year all Warsaw Pact teams except the Czechoslovak and Romanian teams withdrew from European competitions, to avoid the repetition of such a situation.
Dubcek (until 1969) and Svoboda (until 1975) were allowed to remain in office, but lost their political powers.
The Economy . Second Five Year Plan 1956-1960. Third Five Year Plan 1961-1965. Fourth Five Year Plan 1966-1970.
During the early 1960es the Czechoslovak economy performed poorly. The Czechoslovak leadership was even pressed by the Soviet leadershp to improve her production. Soon critics pointed at the control exercised by political bodies over economic enterprises. In 1965 the KPC adopted the New Economic Model (author Ota Sik) which limited party influence to general guidelines and stressed the autonomy of managers in decisionmaking, the role of demand and supply and the principle of profitability.
Social History . Population estimate 1960 13,692,692 (BBoY 1962 p.192), 1969 estimate 14,418,000 BBoY 1970 p.248).
The Warsaw Pact forces invasion of 1968 caused an exodus of refugees.
Cultural History . In 1961 the Communist Party celebrated its 40th anniversary. In 1963, Archbishop Beran of Prague was released after 14 years of imprisonment (BBoY 1964 p.298).
Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics at Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968.
In World Championships, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team took second place in 1961, 1965, 1966 and 1968.
Administration . A new constitution was passed (1968) which introduced federalism. The party was purged of reformers, a number of institutions (which had contributed to the Prague Spring) replaced by new ones. Alexander Dubcek, the driving force of the Spring of Prague 1968, in 1970 was expelled from the party; as a forester, he lived quietly under the scrutiny of the secret service until 1989.
Concrete head Gustav Husak held the position of Secretary General of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1969 to 1987, the presidency of Czechoslovakia from 1975 to 1989.
Foreign Policy . From the trauma of 1968 to the fall of communism in 1989, Czechoslovakia was a loyal satellite, without any political profile of its own (Concrete Head administration; the Concrete heads were docile politicians who had "invited" the Warsaw Pact forces in 1968 in order to "suppress the counterrevolution").
A treaty with the FRG was signed in 1973, normalizing the relations with the country's western neighbour (although the Sudeten German question remained unresolved). Czechoslovakia participated in the CSCE Conference in Helsinki 1973-1975 and in follow-up conferences.
Political History . A new constitution was passed (1968) which introduced federalism, a structure rather nominal, as president Husak remained in control. The party was purged of reformers, a number of institutions (which had contributed to the Prague Spring) replaced by new ones.
In 1977 a number of Czechoslovak intellectuals signed the Charter 77 a document demanding a number of reforms. The signatories were arrested or deprived of their citizenship, among the imprisoned was novelist Vaclav Havel who would continue to work toward a liberalization of the political climate.
As in East Germany, the Czechoslovak party leadership lost contact to the people. It failed to rejuvenate itself; the clique of concrete heads aged jointly. When Husak, as Secretary General, in 1987 was replaced by another concrete head, Jakisch, Czechs joked "Jakisch wie Husak" (= Jacke wie Hose, a German lnguage idiom expressing 'all the same').
In Czechoslovakia itself, most people had resigned, accepted Soviet-style communist rule, Vaclav Havel being the most visible exception. But there was a strong Czechoslovak exile, many of them refugees from 1968 or expatriated later (1977), who kept on focussing world attention on the situation in Prague, among them novelist Pavel Kohout.
The Economy . The Oil Crisis of 1973 affected Czechoslovakia, as the country was among the more industrialized COMECON nations. Cheap oil supplied by the USSR through the Druzhba pipeline covered only a fraction of the country's demand. In order to reduce oil imports to a minimum, Czechoslovakia utilized her lignite resources to a maximum, a policy which had negative consequences for the country's environment, as the lignite deposits contained sulphur. In 1968, Czechoslovakia produced 74.9 million metric tons of lignite (brown coal), production peaked in 1984 with 105 million and was at 99.9 million in 1988 (IHS p.422).
The arms industries in Slovakia supplied the Warsaw Pact nations with weaponry and thus was dependent on this market. Czech Skoda car factory mainly supplied customers in the COMECON region, but a few Skodas were seen on the streets of Western Europe.
The exchange rate of the Czechoslovak Koruna was fixed; yet foreign visitors were offered a considerably more favourable exchange rate (black market rate) on the streets of Prague (Praha).
Since 1973 Czechoslovakia attempted to raise her exports to western countries, in order to gain hard currency valuta. Prague became a major market for antiquarian books, supplying the FRG, Austria, Switzerland, fed by the libraries of Czechoslovakia.
Cultural History . Czechoslovakia's novelists Vaclav Havel and Pavel Kohout, founded Charter 77 in order to begin a discussion about the necessity of political reform in a country where political opinions were suppressed and where political leaders operated following the philosophy "what does Moscow think/want ?". The system answered with suppression; artists such as Kohout, Havel and actor-screenwriter-movie director Milos Forman ("Amadeus", 1984), since 1968 in exile, gained recognition far beyond the borders of Czechoslovakia.
In 1969 football club Slovan Bratislava won the UEFA Cup. In 1976 the Czechoslovak national football team won the UEFA European Championship held in Yugoslavia by defeating the FRG in a penalty shoothout.
Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Munich 1972, Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988. Czechoslovakia boycotted the Summer Olympics of Los Angeles 1984.
Czechoslovakia staged the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1972, 1978 and 1985; the Czechoslovak team won the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1972, 1976, 1977 and 1985 and took second place in 1971, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983. The Ice Hockey World Championships of 1969 held in Stockholm saw the Czechoslovak team meet, and defeat, the Soviet team twice, games which raised emotions in (Soviet-occupied) Czechoslovakia (Hockey Riots of 1969, the significance lies not in the (somewhat exaggerated) riots themselves, but in the fact that they openly displayed where the sympathies of the Czechs and Slovaks lay).
Administration . Following the Velvet Revolution, Vaclav Havel was acclaimed president of Czechoslovakia.
Foreign Policy . The collapse of communism in 1989-1991 had made COMECON and Warsaw Pact obsolete. Czechoslovakia pursued a policy of reorienting her foreign policy. In 1990, Czechoslovakia and Israel restored diplomatic relations, severed in 1967. In 1991 Czechoslovakia joined the coalition formed to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation (Operation Desert Storm).
Political History . Communist rule from 1969 to 1989 had been unpopular, and reforms turning the country into a pluralist open democracy were widely supported. However, drastic economic reforms produced hardship (inflation, unemployment), which caused many to suffer.
Many Slovaks perceived the reform policy as focussing too much on Czechia and neglecting Slovakia, a sentiment maverick politician Miroslav Meciar exploited. On January 1st 1993, the Czechoslovak Federation was declared dissolved (Velvet Divorce).
The Economy . In 1989 to 1992 Czechoslovakia adopted drastic economic reforms. The exchange rate of the Koruna, hitherto fixed, was allowed to float; most state subsidies were cut, economic businesses allowed to declare bankrupcy, or sold off. In 1991 Volkswagen bought Skoda.
Social History . The population in 1990 was 15.69 million (StYB 1992-1993 p.475).
Cultural History . Czechoslovak athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Barcelona 1992.
The Ice Hockey World Championship of 1992 was hosted in Czechoslovakia.
Historical Atlas, Czechoslovakia; see also Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lands of the Bohemian Crown Pages
Students' Paper : Comparison between Economic Changes in Czechoslovakia and in Bulgaria Coming with the Collapse of Communism, by Choi, Hena
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Articles History of Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia |
Radio Prague's History Online
Politics of Communist Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia |
Category Politics of Communist Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
The Political Economy of Privatization in Czechoslovakia, by L. Venys
CASCON Case CZE : Czechoslovak Revolution 1989-1990, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
Bilateral Relations, from Embassy of the Czech Republic in Israel
WHKMLA List of Wars, Czechoslovakia |
|Economy & Finances||
A Global History of Currencies :
The Political Economy of Privatization in Czechoslovakia, by L. Venys
Article Czechoslovak Koruna, from Wikipedia
Article Economy of Communist Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
Essays on Chapters of Czechoslovak Economic History, from OK Economics
Abstracts of 2 essays on Czechoslovak Economic History, by Tomas Cvrcek
International Textile History 1650-2000 : The Habsburg Monarchy and its Successor States Austria and Czechoslovakia, by Andrea Komlosy
Andreas Reich, Economic Interests and National Conflict. The Relationship between Czech and German Consumer Cooperatives in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1938, IEHC 2006
see under Czech Republic, Slovakia |
see under Czech Republic, Slovakia |
Czechoslovakia, from Roman Catholic Hierarchy
Patron Saint Index : Czechoslovakia
|History of Regions||
see WHKMLA, History of Bohemia, Moravia,
Austrian Silesia, Sudetenland,
Slovakia, Carpatho-Ruthenia |
History of Prague (Praha), from Wikipedia,
History of Bratislava (Pressburg, Pozsony), from Wikipedia,
History of Brno (Brünn), from Wikipedia,
History of Plzen (Pilsen), from Wikipedia,
History of Ceske Budejovice (Budweis), from Wikipedia,
History of Kosice (Kaschau, Kassa) from Wikipedia,
History of Olomouc (Olmütz) from Wikipedia |
History of Czech Radio, from RSS,
from Radio Praha (incl. television history) |
Article Czechoslovak State Railways, from Wikipedia
Article Transport in Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
History of Czech Airlines
Article Education in Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
History of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Czechoslovakia, from Airline History
WEB-BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . EXTERNALLY POSTED PRIMARY SOURCES |
Historical Data . Statistical Data . Documents Newspapers . Yearbooks . Image Databanks . Archival Deposits . Laws . Historiography
Document Collections . Historical Maps . Historical Encyclopedia Articles . Travelogues . Institutions . National Symbols
|Historical Data||Lists of Statesmen||
from World Statesmen (file named Czech Republic) (B. Cahoon);
from Rulers (B. Schemmel; on Czech Republic);
from World Rulers (E. Schulz, illustrated; Czech Republic) |
|Lists of Bishops|
|Lists of Ambassadors||
List of Ambassadors from the
United Kingdom to the Czech Republic, from Wikipedia; has British ambassadors to Czechoslovakia |
Article : United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia; Heads of Canadian Legation / Embassy in Prague (since 1942), from MOFA Canada
Chinese Ambassadors to Czech, from PRC MOFA
|Statistical Data||Population Figures||
from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer) |
Historical Abortion Statistics - Czechoslovakia, from Johnston's Archive
Article : Czechoslovak Koruna from Wikipedia;
has consumer price index 1980-1992 |
Inflation in Czechoslovakia 1985-1993, from World Bank
from Electoral Geography 2.0 (1920-1935) |
Category : Elections in Czechoslovakia, from Wikipedia
|Documents||Historical Newspapers||Official Gazettes||
Flare, Union List of Official Gazettes, Czech Republic |
Sbirka Zakonu, Arhiv 1945-2008
Kranten Historisch [historical newspapers] |
|Entire Newspapers, Magazines||
Periodika, from Digitales Forum Mittel- und Osteuropa,
German language historical periodicals from Central and Eastern Europe |
Life Magazine, 1936-1972, Search for "Czechoslovakia", search all issues; 1270 Czechoslovakia articles, GB
|Historical Newspaper Articless|
|Online Yearbooks - Czechoslovakia Entries|
|Films on History/Society||
Czech Film Center;
The National Film Archive in Prague |
Cinema of the World : Czechoslovakia, Oratorio for Prague 1968
Articles : Czech Films of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, from Wikipedia
Czech News Agency (CTK), Photobank |
Illustrated History : Relive the Times :
Russian Imperialism : Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia : 1968 |
Illustrated History : Relive the Times : German Troops Move Into Prague : Annexation Of Czechoslovakia : 1939
Kansas City with the Russian Accent, Old Photos : Czechoslovakian Crisis 1968
Items on Czechoslovakia
License Plates, from License Plates of the World;
from Francoplaque |
Passport, from World Passports, scroll down
Propaganda Postcard : Hultschin Territory, from Propaganda Postcards of the Great War by Paul Hageman and Jerry Kosanovich
Czechoslovakia Documents, at Central Archive for the History
of the Jewish People, Jerusalem |
Guide to the Hoover Institution Archives 1980, GB ; search for Czechoslovakia
Search CIA Released Documents for Czechoslovakia
Strategic Warning and the Role of Intelligence: Lessons Learned From The 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, from CIA
Nationaalarchief (NL) : Inventaris van het archief van het Consulaat (-generaal) te Praag (Tjechoslowakije), 1922-1940; Inventaris van het archief van het gezantschap te Tsjecho-Slowakije (Praag),1919- 1939 en (1945) 1951-1954.
Verfassungen der Tschechoslowakei (Constitutions of Czechoslovakia), from
verfassungen.de, in German |
Law on Preliminary Czechoslovak Constititution, 1918, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
Czechoslovak Constitution of 1948, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
Czechoslovak Constitution of 1960, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
Czechoslovak Constitution of Oct. 1968, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
List of Ratifications of International Labour Conventions by the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia), from
67 docs. since 1919 |
Internet Law Library : Czechoslovakia
|Treaties||General Treaty Collections||
The Munich Pact (1938) and associated documents, from
Avalon Project at Yale Law School; the Munich Pact 1938 from
Britannia Historical Documents |
Warsaw Pact (1955), from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
|Bilateral Treaty Collections||
Czechoslovakia, pp.1244- in vol.6 of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949, 1971, GB |
Foreign Relations of the United States
Making the History of 1989 : Czechoslovakia |
November 24, 1989, Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at an extraordinary session of the CPCz CC, stating his preference for a political solution to the crisis (excerpts), from The Revolutions of 1989 new documents from Soviet/East Europe archives reveal why there was no crackdown, at GWU
The Benes Decree (Expulsion of the Sudeten Germans) 1946, from
Speech by Leonid Brezhnev, justifying the Ag. 20th invasion of Czechoslovakia, Nov. 13th 1968, from
CNN Cold War Site |
The Warsaw Treaty and Czechoslovakia, Publ. July 1968, from Did NATO Win the Cold War? at GWU, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 14
Manifesto of Charter 77, from CNN Cold War Site
November 24, 1989, Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at an extraordinary session of the CPCz CC, stating his preference for a political solution to the crisis (excerpts), from
Category : Maps of Czechoslovakia, from Wikimedia Commons |
Atlas of Czechoslovakia, Wikimedia Commons
Herder-Institut, Die Erste Tschechoslowakische Republik - Materialien : Karten (First Czechoslovak Republic : Materials : Maps); site in German, clickable
Herder-Institut, Topographische Kartenwerke, click T for Tschechoslowakei
political divisions 1932, 1932,
1938, Probert Encyclopedia |
Strange Maps : "Czechoslovakia threatens Germany", 1934, posted by F. Jacobs 2006
Crisis over Czechoslovakia : March-September 1938 Map of Czechoslovakia showing density of German minority, Map of Hitler's demands at Munich
Joint Czech and Slovak Digital Parliamentary Library |
Narodni shromazdeni ceskoslovenske (1918-, Protocolls of the Czech Parliament), from Czech Parliament, in Czech
|Historic Tour Guides|
Stephen Graham, Europe - Whither Bound ? Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 (Toronto 1922),
chapter IX : Prague, posted online by Gutenberg Library Online |
|National Symbols||Flags, Coats of Arms||
Flag of Czechoslovakia, from FOTW |
Banknotes of Czechoslovakia, from World Currency Museum; from
Ron Wise's World Paper Money |
Czechoslovakia Coins, from Don's World Coin Gallery
Rare Czechoslovakia Stamps, from Sandafayre Stamp Gallery;
Czechoslovakia Stamps 1918-1919, from Stamps Catalogue 1840-1920
by Evert Klaseboer |
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PRINT SOURCES |
Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Search ISBN Database |
Czech and Slovak Literature in English, from James Naughton's Home Page |
Bibliography Crisis over Czechoslovakia 1938, maintained at St. Andrews Univ.
Bibliography Jews of Czechoslovakia, from Simon Wiesenthal Center
Internet Archives; Gutenberg Library Online;
Central and Eastern European Online Library |
Institute of Czech Literature : Czech Electronic Library
Open Access Theses and Dissertations |
Registry of Open Access Repositories : Czech Republic
|Online Journals||full text online||
Directory of Open Access Journals |
Article : Czech Historiography, by A. Shelton, pp.217-219, in vol.1 of A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, NY 1998 [G] |
Adrian Webb, The Longman Companion to Central and Eastern Europe since 1919, London etc.: Longman 2002 [G] |
Maria Dowling, Brief Histories : Czechoslovakia, London : Hodder 2002 [G]
Ivan Svitak, The Unbearable Burden of History, The Sovietization of Czechoslovakia, 3 vols., Praha : Academia 1990 [G]
Peter A. Toma, Dusan Kovac, Slovakia - from Samo to Dzurinda, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press 2001 [G] |
Jeremy King, Budweisers into Czechs and Germans, Princeton UP 2002 [G]
Fritz Peter Habel, Die Sudetendeutschen (The Sudeten Germans), München : Langen Müller (1992) 3rd, enlarged edition 2002 , in German [G]
Friedrich Prinz, Deutsche Geschichte im Osten Europas : Böhmen und Mähren, Berlin : Siedler 1993, in German (Germans in Europe's East : Bohemia and Moravia) [G]
Bundesministerium für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kriegsgeschädigte : Die Vertreibung der deutschen Bevölkerung aus der Tschechoslovakei, Augsburg : Weltbild 1994, in German (The Expulsion of the German Population from Czechoslovakia) [G]
Benjamin Frommer, National Cleansing. Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia, Cambridge : UP 2005 [G]
Chapter XXIX : Masaryk and Benes, pp.428-437 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe, 1940 war edition, NY : Harper & Bros. 1940 [G]
The Czechoslovak Tragedy, pp.213-244, in : John Gunther, Behind the Curtain, NY : Harper & Bros. (1948) 1949 [G]
Wallace J. Campbell, The History of CARE, NY : Praeger 1990 [G]
Vladimir V. Kusin, Czechoslovakia, pp.73-95 in : Martin McCauley (ed.), Communist Power in Europe 1944-1949, London : MacMillan 1977 [G]
Chapter 23 : Satellites and Soviet Policy, pp.327-352, in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, London : Palgrave 2000 [G] |
|Yearbook Entries||Britannica Book of the Year||
Czechoslovakia, 1944 pp.219-220, 1945 p.220, 1946 pp.244-245, 1947 pp.249-250, 1948 pp.233-235, 1949 pp.196-199, 1950 pp.213-215, 1951 pp.213-215, 1952 pp.210-211, 1953 pp.207-208, 1954 pp.209-210, 1955 p.260, 1956 pp.195-196, 1957 pp.254-256, 1958 pp.195-196, 1959 pp.192-193, 1960 pp.192-193, 1961 pp.202-203, 1962 pp.192-193, 1963 pp.306-307, 1964 pp.298-299, 1965 pp.281-282, 1966 p.232, 1967 pp.252-253, 1968 pp.258-260, 1969 pp.244-245, 1970 pp.248-249, 1971 pp.238-239, 1972 pp.216-217, 1973 pp.208-209,
1974 pp.223-224, 1975 pp.206-208, 1976 pp.225-226, 1977 pp.225-226, 1978 pp.276-277, 1979 pp.276-278, 1980 pp.273-275,
1981 pp.273-275, 1982 pp.269-270, 1983 pp.268-270, 1984 pp.264-266, 1985 pp.548-549, 665, 1986 pp.542-544, 661, 1987 pp.513-514, 631,
1988 pp.469-470, 583, 1989 pp.469-470, 583, 1990 pp.486-487, 598, 1991 pp.469-470, 583, 1992 pp.421-422, 583, 1993, pp. 430-431, 594 [G] |
Czechoslovakia, 1919 pp.672-677, 1924 pp.779-788, 1925 pp.790-799, 1926 pp.766-775, 1928 pp.777-786, 1929 pp.770-778, 1932 pp.776-786, 1937 pp.815-825, 1943 pp.814-821, 1970-1971 pp.845-851, 1975-1976 pp.851-858, 1976-1977 pp.863-870, 1978-1979 pp.382-389, 1979-1980 pp.382-389, 1980-1981 pp.383-390, 1981-1982 pp.388-395, 1983-1984 pp.393-400, 1984-1985 pp.391-398, 1985-1986 pp.393-400, 1986-1987 pp.397-404, 1987-1988 pp.403-410, 1988-1989 pp.405-412, 1989-1990 pp.408-415, 1990-1991 pp.407-414, 1991-1992 pp.407-414, 1992-1993 pp.474-481 [G] |
Former Czechoslovakia, 1993-1994 pp.485-488 [G]
Czechoslovakia, 1927 pp.238-241, 1928 pp.213-216, 1930 pp.232-234, 1931 pp.242-244, 1932 pp.203-206, 1933 pp.215-217, 1934 pp.184-186,
1935 pp.197-199, 1936 pp.198-200, 1937 pp.186-188, 1938 pp.196-198, 1939 pp.221-225, 1940 p.222, 1943 pp.220-221, 1944 pp.211-212,
1947 pp.198-199, 1957 pp.212-214, 1961 pp.200-202, 1962 pp.203-205, 1963 pp.192-194, 1964 pp.190-192, 1965 p.211, 1967 pp.228-229, 1968 p.216, 1969 pp.224-227, 1970 pp.227-229, 1971 pp.231-232, 1972 pp.222-223, 1973 pp.215-216, 1974 pp.194-195, 1976 p.205, 1988 p.203, 1989 pp.201-202, 1990 pp.199-201 [G] |
Article : Czecho-Slovakia, in : New International Year Book 1918 p.164, 1919 pp.184-188, 1920 pp.175-177, 1921 pp.181-183,
1923 pp.188-190, 1925 pp.190-192, 1928 pp.203-204, 1930 pp.212-214, 1931 pp.250-253, 1932 pp.227-229, 1933 pp.204-206, 1934 pp.179-182,
1935 pp.180-182, 1938 pp.192-202, 1939 pp.181-186, Events of 1940 pp.175-176, 1941 pp.160-161, 1942 pp.187-189,
1943 pp.157-159, 1944 pp.163-165, 1945 pp.153-155 [G] |
Article : Czechoslovakia, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1980 pp.19-29 (Zdenek Suda) [G]