NARRATIVE . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources |
906-1241 . 1241-1526 . 1526-1683 . 1683-1790 . 1790-1849 . 1849-1867 . 1867-1918 . 1918-1929 . 1929-1939 . 1939-1945 . 1945-1948 . 1948-1968 . 1968-1989 . 1989-1992 . Since 1992
see also History of the Kingdom of Hungary, 1000-1919, History of Czechoslovakia 1918-1992
The Greater Moravian Empire was crushed by Magyar raids, with her eastern regions - western Slovakia - included in the Magyar Khanate (906). In 1001, Duke Geza of Hungary had himself baptized and crowned King Stephen I.; with him the entire Kingdom, including modern Slovakia, had to accept christianity. Politically, Hungary was divided in counties (comitati), western and central Slovakia belonging to the Comitatus of Nitra. Ecclesiastically, Slovakia came under the Archdiocesis of Esztergom (Gran) in Hungary, the diocesis of Nitra suffragan to Esztergom.
With christianity, Hungary opened up to western and central European influence. The concept of feudalism was introduced, and the peasantry reduced to the status of serfdom, a process which was concluded around 1200. Royal castles were constructed, such as the one at Bratislava; here, during the early 11th century, coins with the inscription Breslava Civitas (city of Bratislava) were minted. The first city in Hungary to receive a royal privilege was Trnava in Slovakia, in 1238.
During the Tatar invasion of 1241-1242, the lowland regions of southwestern Slovakia suffered severe damage. In the course of the 13th and 14th century, German miners were called into the country and settled at newly founded mining cities. The immigrant communities - for instance in the Zips (Spis) area - formed enclaves of German culture and identity within a Slovakian environment. The status of cities in Slovakia, such as Bratislava and Kosice, was elevated by the King granting them city privileges according to south German model (Bratislava 1291); these privileges provided for a higher degree of autonomy. Upper Hungary, as Slovakia was referred to, in the late 13th century, consisted of 12 comitates (counties) : Bratislava, Gemer, Hont, Liptov, Nitra, Orava, Spis, Saris, Tekov, Trencin, Turcin and Zvolen.
The conflict over the Hungarian crown between Charles of Anjou and Vladislav of Bohemia in the early years of the 14th century had an impact on Slovakia, as local Magnate Matus Cak (in Hungarian Matyas Csak) established his control over the major part of modern Slovakia; the political center of this state within a state was Trencin. Matus Cak was a supporter of King Charles of Anjou. His territory is featured on a map posted by Euratlas.
The German residents of the cities of Slovakia attempted to monopolize political power; complaints by Slovakian citizens resulted in the Privilegium pro Slavis granted to the Slav residents of Bratislava by King Louis of Hungary in 1384.
After the death of King Louis, Hungary again experienced a struggle over succession. Sigismund of Luxemburg, in a struggle lasting two decades, achieved recognition as King, but to cover the costs for the campaign, he had to pawn cities and castles. That way, the Spis (Zips) mining region was pawned to the King of Poland, never to be regained. Sigismund also acquired the titles King of Bohemia, Margrave of Moravia and Holy Roman Emperor. During his rule, the Bohemian Hussites were declared heretics by the Council of Constance, and a series of crisades was launched into Bohemia; the Hussites not only repelled every single crusade, but launched invasions of neighbouring terrirories; Slovakia suffered such raids in 1428-1432.
Between 1471 and 1490, Matyas Corvinus was both King of Hungary and Margrave of Moravia. Repeated Personal Union of both territories had strenthened ties between (Hungarian) Slovakia and Moravia, temporarily also with Bohemia. Moravian nobles had acquired fiefs in Slovakia; Czech language literature spread in Slovakia; the University of Prague attracted Slovak students.
In 1526 the Hungarian army suffered a disastrous defeat at the hand of the Ottomans in the Battle of Mohacs. King Louis of Hungary fell in battle, and years of struggle over succession were ended in the peace of 1541 which foresaw the partition of Hungary in the larger Ottoman core, Royal Hungary under the Habsburgs, in the west and north, and the Principality of Transylvania in the east. Most of Slovakia lay within Royal Hungary.
Internal war and the partition of Hungary not only had caused damage, but triggered internal migration (i.e. within the Kingdom of Hungary); the territory of Slovakia experienced an influx of Hungarian and Croat refugees. The Hungarian diet moved to Bratislava (Pozsony, Pressburg). As many Hungarian nobles had fled their estates, they required new bases of revenue - which were acquired by increasing the economic burden of the (mainly Slovak) peasantry. Among novel privileges of the nobility was the monopoly on the sales of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine) which came with a required level of consumption on the side of the peasants (Kovac p.13). Slovakian cities such as Bratislava and Kosice became trilingual, Hungarian being added to the traditional languages of German and Slovakian. The Archbishop from Esztergom and his cathedral chapter moved to Trnava in Slovakia in 1543.
In this tumultuous period, the Lutheran Reformation reached Slovakia, first establishing a foothold among the German communities in the mining cities. Many nobles (mostly ethnic Hungarians) also favoured the Lutheran Reformation, because it provided them with the opportunity to appropriate church land and thus provide them with desparately needed revenue.
In the years immediately following the German Peasants War, Moravia was a haven for refugee Anabaptist communities. In 1535, persecution of Anabaptists began there, and some groups of Anabaptists moved across the border into Slovakia, where they established isolated communities. Later, a number of communities converted to Calvinism.
Following the Council of Trent, the Jesuits came into the country and established themselves at Trnava (1561), where they ran a school and, in 1577, opened a printing shop. The Jesuits pressurized the protestant communities to such an extent that some protestants fled into Transylvania or Ottoman Hungary. From 1592 to 1606, Habsburg Austria and the Ottoman Empire were at war; in 1604 the nobility in Royal Hungary, lead by Transylvanian Prince Stephen Bocskay, rebelled against a combination of Habsburg and Jesuit repression. The peace treaty of 1606 included guarantees for religious toleration in Royal Hungary and the (Hungarian) indigenate. Calvinist synods were held for western Slovakia in 1610, for eastern Slovakia in 1614.
In 1618 Bethlen Gabor, Prince of Transylvania, headed a revolt of Hungarian nobles against Habsburg rule and took temporary control of Royal Hungary, which included modern Slovakia. After the Bohemian Nobles' Republic was defeated, the conspirators against the house of Habsburg were sentenced and executed, and the Counterreformation introduced in Bohemia and Moravia. Numerous political and refugees fled the country, many of them taking up residence in Slovakia.
The 30 Years War affected Slovakia, as in 1626, Wallenstein and his Imperial army defeated Mansfeld and pursued him through Silesia and Slovakia to the fortress of Neuhäusel (Nove Zamky), where he was to link up with Bethlen Gabor. Slovakia also suffered from Turkish and Swedish incursions. In 1643, Prince George Rakoczi of Transylvania, as Swedish ally, lead his army through Transylvania to Austria proper. In 1647, the Habsburgs ceded lands in eastern Slovakia to Transylvania.
During the 30 Years' War, in 1635, the Jesuit college at Trnava was elevated to the rank of university, the only one in Hungary at that time.
A brief Habsburg-Ottoman War 1663-1664 brought few border changes, among them the Ottoman conquest of the border fortress of Nove Zamky (Neuhäusel). The Hungarian nobility sensed lack of determination on the Habsburg side to pursue territorial gain or military victory; an anti-Habsburg plot was uncovered and the conspirators executed (1671). The nobles were supported by anti-Habsburg sentiment among the Slovak peasantry, which had suffered much from Turkish raids. In 1671 Habsburg forces prevailed, and another effort was made to implement the Counterreformation. Political-religious repression caused the emergance of the Kuruc (crusader) resistance movement (1672). In 1678/1679, lead by Imre Thököly, the Kuruc Rebellion broke out full scale; he quickly established control over eastern and central Upper Hungary (Slovakia). He achieved a number of concessions from Vienna, among them religious toleration. Yet the relation between the rebellious Hungarian nobles and the Habsburg Dynasty lacked mutual trust; Thököly called on the Ottoman Empire for protection, and thus an Ottoman army laid siege to Vienna (1683).
Imperial and allied forces defeated the Ottoman army in the Battle of Kahlenberg (1683), broje the second siege of Vienna, and in the subsequent war (1683-1699), drove the Ottoman Turks out of Hungary. The Kuruc rebels under Imre Thököly were defeated; Upper Hungary came under military rule and protestants faced another period of repression.
In 1703 another Kuruc Rebellion erupted; in 1708 the Kuruc suffered military defeat at Trencin. The Treaty of Szatmar 1711; the Hungarian nobility promised to support the Habsburg Dynasty. In return, the Emperor promised to respect the constitution of Hungary. However, religious toleration was not mentioned; Transylvania was the only part of the Habsburg monarchy which provided such toleration.
What used to be Ottoman Hungary was largely depopulated; with Habsburg rule a policy actively promoting settlement set in. Among others, groups of Slovaks settled in isolated cultural enclaves. On the other hand, over the following century, Slovakia experienced the immigration of Gypsies and Jews.
Emperors Charles VI., Maria Theresia (Empress in all but name) and Joseph II. aimed at implementing a policy of increasing the state revenue and of centralization. Under Charles VI., the Mining Academy in Banska Stiavnica was established. Under Maria Theresia reforms sat in which, by fixing the relations between landowners and serfs, protected the latter from excessive abuse. During her rule, the refdorm of university education affected the University at Trnava (which, in 1777, was relocated to Buda). The Archbishop of Esztergom also left his provisorical residence at Trnava and returned to the nominal see. In 1783, Pozsony - Bratislava seized to be the capital of Hungary.
Under Joseph II., a series of reforms was implemented, beginning with religious toleration, an admninistrative reform that divided Hungary into 10 districts (Slovakia in 3 - Kosice, Banska Bystrica, Nitra), in the replacement of Latin as language of administration, education and jurisdiction by German etc. He also attempted to free the peasants. The Hungarian nobility protested against the latter reforms, as they interfered with their inherited rights, and opposed the introduction of German as the official language; they regarded Hungarian far more suitable. At this time, Slovakia formed 3 out of 10 Hungarian districts; in the Hungarian diet, the magnates (estate holders) were represented, almost exclusively Hungarians. Joseph's reforms caused resentment and even armed rebellion (Austrian Netherlands), and, with his death approaching, cancelled most of the reforms; only religious toleration and the conversion of church revenues into a school fund lasted.
While the enlightenment philosophers wrote about the need of social, political and economic reform on a theoretical level and thus reached an intellectual public, the numerous reforms implemented by Joseph II., notwithstanding the problems they created, the resistance many of them met and the short duration of them being in force, affected practically everyone in the Habsburg monarchy and generally raised expectations in such reforms, only the matter being discussed, how they were to be implemented. Also they provided a greater degree of individual freedom, as the state institutions were insufficiently prepared to take over the social control the Catholic church had exercised. The Josephinian reforms had provided organizations which could function as fora for emerging cultural-national sentiment, such as the priests' seminary in Bratislava (although that had not been the intention when the seminary was founded in 1784) and had touched the language issue, which had to provoke a cultural awakening movement among all the ruled minorities of the Austrian Empire. For Slovakia, the most important of the temporary, failed Josephinian reforms was the liberation of the serfs.
In Upper Hungary (Slovakia), the official language, used in administration, education and jurisdiction had been Latin, which, of course, was mastered only by an educated elite. The Slovak language was used by the mass of the population, mainly as an oral language, although a Slovak literature existed, based on the written Czech language.
For the improvement of the education of the Slovaks, a standardized written Slovak language was required. Two competing schools emerged, one at the Catholic priests' seminary in Bratislava, which developed an orthography based on the dialect of central Slovakia. Anton Bernolak (1762-1813) was the leading figure; he published a Slovak-Czech-Latin-German-Hungarian dictionary. Protestant intellectuals promoted a written Slovak which would lean stronger on the written Czech.
In 1805 and again in 1809, Napoleon's armies invaded western Slovakia; in 1805 the war was concluded with the Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava); in 1809 the city of Bratislava was besieged, her ancient castle destroyed.
In the 1830es, within the Hungarian Diet, political nationalism became the dominant stream. Moderate Hungarian nationalists (Count Szechenyi) foresaw a multilingual Kingdom of Hungary, while radical Hungarian nationalists like Lajos Kossuth emphasised linguistic unity. Slovakia thus faced the threat of Magyarization.
The industrialization began to have an impact on Slovakia, although railroad construction was limited (due to the mountainous nature of the country) and factories were few in the early decades of the 19th century. Slovakia's economy depended heavily on agriculture, mining and forestry. Following the Austrian state bankrupcy of 1811 and the end of the Napoleonic wars 1815, the state as the main customer for weapons and ammunition drastically reduced her purchases, which had an adverse affect on the Slovakian mines and ironworks. A series of poor harvests did not help alleviate the situation; in a number of incidences there was unrest, triggered by famine. An 1831 peasant rebellion targetted noble landlords; although quickly suppressed, it indicated the necessity of the abolition of feudal dues.
A new generation of Slovak patriotic scholars (Hodza, Hurban, Kollar, Stur) emphasized the similarity of Czech and Slovak languages and promoted the concept that the Czecho-Slovaks formed one people. In response to the increasing threat of Magyarization, in 1842 Slovak scholars petitioned Austria's government to take measures to protect the Slovak language, explicitly to appoint a censor for Slovak books and to establish a professorship for the Slovak language at the University of Pest. These demands were ignored.
The works of Ludovit Stur (1815-1856) resulted in the establishment of one standardized Slovakian grammar and orthography, which was oriented on spoken Slovakian rather than a written Slovakian heavily leaning on Czech; his Slovak Grammar was published in 1847. Janko Matuska wrote the lyrics to "Thunder over the Tatra Mountains", modern Slovakia's national anthem (1848).
On May 11th 1848, Demands of the Slovak Nation were presented at a public meeting in the small town of Litovsky Sv. Mikulas, the intended addressee of course being the Hungarian Diet. The demands included equal representation of the nationalities and Slovak to become the official language in Slovakia. Further demands included the abolition of serfdom and feudal dues and a widely extended suffrage. The Hungarian diet not only rejected these demands, but regarded the action of the Slovak patriots as subversive; martial law was proclaimed; warrants for the arrest of Stur, Hurban and Hodza were issued. They managed to escape to Prague, where the first Pan-Slavic Congress convened. They later moved to Vienna, where they were instrumental in the establishment of the Slovak National Council (Sept. 16th 1848). On September 19th the SNC - on Slovakian territory - formally declared the separation of Slovakia from Hungary, and a militia, the Slovak volunteers was formed. Within two weeks, Hungarian forces had pushed them across the border into Moravia; Slovakia was exposed to Hungarian military administration.
The Slovak National Council was in a conflict with the Hungarian Diet and thus had common interests with Vienna. In March 1849 the SNC petitioned the Emperor for separating Slovakia administratively from Hungary - another petition ignored by the Viennese administration. The year 1848 brought, however, the long-demanded abolition of serfdom. In that year, Bratislava also was connected by (steam) railroad with Vienna.
Following the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1849, the Kingdom of Hungary was administrated with the objective to prevent further political unrest.
Slovakia after the Compromise . What was to become Slovakia in 1918, called Oberungarn (Upper Hungary) in some older maps, had politically been a part of the Hungarian Kingdom for centuries, ever since the Moravian Kingdom had been destroyed in 902. The Slovaks were among the many national minorities living within the Hungarian Kingdom. The territory that was to become Slovakia in 1918 was not clearly separated from the remainder of the Kingdom of Hungary by administrative borders; Upper Hungary was divided in counties (Comitats), some of which included territory of both modern Hungary and modern Slovakia. The territory that was to become Slovakia in 1918 contained a population majority of ethnic Slovaks, as well as ethnic minorities of Hungarians and Germans. The Hungarians did not regard themselves as an ethnic minority, as they identified with the Kingdom of Hungary, and as they, due to the electoral literacy and property qualifications, were overrepresented in the Hungarian diet.
In the days when large parts of Hungary were an Ottoman province, the administrative capital of Hungary had been moved to Bratislava (in German : Pressburg, in Hungarian : Pozsony), just across Vienna. Yet Slovaks were ill-represented on the Hungarian diet meeting in Pozsony.
In 1825-1848 and from 1867, Hungary's parliament gained political a large degree of political autonomy from the Austrian administration in Vienna.
The Emergence of Political Life in Slovakia . The Austro-Hungarian Compromise (1867) sparked the emergence of a number of Slovak publications, such as the Slovak News (1868). A number of communities petitioned the Hungarian diet to permit Slovak language being used in their local administration and in secondary schools. A protestant secondary school, teaching in Slovak, was opened in 1867 in Martin, a Catholic one in Klastor pod Znievom in 1869. The Slovak National Party was established in 1871. In 1868 a General Workers' Socialist Association, the nucleus of a workers' party, had been founded in Pest, as an organization representing the workers of the Kingdom of Hungary irrespective of their nationality; in 1880 the General Workers' Party of Hungary was founded. She was to be a party largely operating outside of the Hungarian diet, as literacy and property qualifications discriminated against her. In 1890 the Social Democratic Party was founded, in 1895 the Catholic Popular Party, in 1903 the Independent Socialist Farmers' Party of Hungary, both open to Hungarians, Slovaks and other nationals.
Slovakia and Magyarization . In 1874 the Hungarian administration came to regard national Slovak organizations as subversive, as Pan-Slavist, and imposed a policy of Magyarization. The secondary schools teaching in Slovak were closed down. Hungarian was to be the exclusive language of administration, jurisdiction and education. Hungary's constitution in the years preceding World War I granted only about 5 % of the adults the right to vote; large groups of the population were excluded from the political process. In 1878 the Slovak National Party, exposed to persecution and expecting election engineering, decided to boycott elections to the Hungarian diet held in August; an action again taken in 1884. In 1879, elementary education in Hungarian language was made compulsory. In 1892, for the first time, workers demonstrated for universal adult manhood suffrage.
In 1894 a law made civil marriage compulsory and contained stipulations regarding mixed-confessional marriages. Freedom of religion was proclaimed. State church policy was used by the Hungarian administration to promote Magyarization.
Slovaks attended the Congress of Non-Magyar Peoples held in Budapest 1895. Representatives suffered persecution by the Hungarian state the following year. In 1898 a law required villages to use only one name (in effect the Hungarian name). Slovak patriots and Social Democrats suffered persecution by state authorities 1898-1909; many of their leaders were sentenced in politically motivated trials. In 1901 the Hungarian authorities relaxed in the persecution of this policy, and the Slovak National Party participated in elections ton the Hungarian diet. In 1905 the Slovak Social Democratic Party broke away from the (Kingdom of Hungary-wide) Social Democratic Party (est. 1890); the Slovak People's Party broke away from the (Kingdom of Hungary-wide) Catholic Popular Party. In 1911 a delegation of the Slovak National Party, in a memorandum, demanded the elementary education in Slovak, the restoration of Matica Slovenska, the transformation of the Kingdom of Hungary into a federation based on ethnicities; the move went unanswered.
The Economy . In 1871 the first match factory in Slovakia was established. In 1872 the guilds were dissolved and the first railway lines in Slovakia taken in operation. In 1873 the Vienna Stock Exchange collapsed; the Double Monarchy experienced an economic crisis 1873-1880. In 1881 the Hungarian diet passed a law promoting industrialization. In 1884 Bratislava was the first city in the kingdom to have a telephone network. May 1st 1890 saw mass demonstrations of workers in cities all over the kingdom; the first labour union in Slovakia was founded in the same year. In 1891, sundays were declared public holidays for workers, mandatory health insurance was introduced. A poor harvest in 1892 resulted in famine in Slovakia and resulted in an increase in emigration figures. In 1892 the Crown began to replace the Florin as currency.
During the 19th century, with the process of industrialization and urbanization going on, many Slovaks transmigrated into the urban industrial centers of Budapest, Vienna or Cracow or emigrated into the United States. In relation to the country's population, in Europe the proportion of Slovakia's emigration can only be compared to that of Ireland.
Slovak Culture . In 1875, at the order of Hungary's minister of the interior, Matica Slovenska was dissolved. In 1883 FEMKE was established, with the object to promote Hungarian culture in Upper Hungary (= Slovakia). In 1890 the National Slovak Society, with seat in Pittsburgh, was founded. The Czechoslovak Union, est. 1896 in Prague, from 1908 on held annual meetings of Czechs and Slovaks.
Slovaks and World War I . In World War I, most Slovaks were indifferent to the Austro-Hungarian war effort; many sympathized with the Russians who in fall 1914 occupied much of Slovakia, but were driven out again in the winter of 1914/1915. In Russia and the USA, representatives of Czech and Slovak organizations promoted the concept of a Czecho-Slovak Federation (Cleveland Agreement, Oct. 22nd 1915). In 1918, Slovakia proclaimed it's independence from Hungary and its incorporation into the new state of Czechoslovakia.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
Slovakia and the Establishment of the Czechoslovak State . On October 31st 1918 the Executive Committee of the Slovak National Council (the status of Slovakia yet undetermined, Hungary regarding it part of her country) approved a suggestion by Mr. Pantucek describing the position of Slovakia within a future Czechoslovakia, to be negotiated by representatives of Czechia and Slovakia. On November 4th 1918, the National Czecho-Slovak Committee in Prague appointed a Provisional Government of Slovakia. The armistice concluded between the Allies and Hungary on November 13th 1918 left Slovakia within the territory of Hungary. The National Czecho-Slovak Committee, also on November 13th 1918, imposed a provisional constitution, which resulted in Slovakia being underrepresented in the Czechoslovak parliament. On November 14th, the Provisional National Assembly met in the capital of Prague and proclaimed herself an independent republic, consisting of Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Slovakia and Carpatho-Ruthenia. In the new cabinet, Slovakia was represented by the ministers Stefanik and Srobar. King Charles, as King of Hungary, had abdicated November 13th 1918; the Republic of Hungary was proclaimed on November 16th. Meanwhile, large parts of Slovakia was held by Czech forces, which on December 5th 1918 were placed under the command of the Guard of Slovak Liberty. On December 6th 1918 a demarcation line separating Slovakia from Hungary was determined. On December 11th 1918 a (pro-Hungarian) Slovak People's Republic was proclaimed in Kosice; it became defunct with all of Slovakia coming under the control of Czecho-Slovak forces (Jan. 29th 1919; Bratislava had been occupied Jan. 1st).
Meanwhile, in Hungary the Communists took control, causing the Czecho-Slovak authorities to declare martial law in Slovakia (with her large Hungarian minority), on March 25th. On April 27th, Czecho-Slovak forces, in coordination with the Romanian army, entered into Hungarian territory (Carpatho-Ruthenia was still held by the Hungarians). The Hungarians initially defeated the Czecho-Slovak forces and on May 20th entered Slovak territory. In the territory held by the Hungarian forces, a Slovak Soviet Republic (Republic of Councils) was established. On June 13th Georges Clemenceau, President of France, demanded Hungary withdraw her troops; Hungary complied (July 5th 1919), and the Slovak Soviet Republic was terminated; the demarcation line became a permanent border; Carpatho-Ruthenia had become part of Czechoslovakia. The area of Tesin (Teschen), contested by Poland and Czechoslovakia, was, by decision of the Entente, partitioned on July 28th 1920, thus determining the border between the two countries.
The Effect of Czechoslovak Policies on Slovakia
Ethnicity . Czechoslovakia having been established as a state of the Slavic Czechs, Slovaks and Ruthenians placed the countries ethnic minorities, the Germans, Hungarians and Gypsies into an uncomfortable position. While Slovakia's Germans and Gypsies were accustomed to being a minority, the Hungarians felt uncomfortable with the situation and rather favored the restoration of Hungarian rule. Relations between Czechoslovakia and Hungary remained tense throughout the 1920es and 1930es; the Czechoslovak state regarded the political parties representing the Hungarian minority with suspicion; in 1929 Hungarian-Slovak politician Vojtech Tuka was tried for treason.
The German minority in Slovakia politically was represented by the a number of small political parties which closely cooperated with the Hungarian parties.
Religion . The end of Habsburg rule in Prague came with a certain degree of anticlerical sentiment, as the Catholic Church had been regarded as a pillar of Habsburg rule. On January 8th 1920 the Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia was reorganized as the Czechoslovak Church. It gained limited support in Czechia and was resented in Slovakia. Slovaks had had a very different historical experience, and a considerable segment of the Slovak population was appalled by the treatment the Catholic Church had been given by the new Czechoslovak administration. Catholic priest Andrej Hlinka, on December 19th 1918, restored the Slovak People's Party (HSLS), which would later become the strongest political party in Slovakia. It was sceptical of democracy, supportive of the Catholic Church and insisting on Slovak political autonomy within Czechoslovakia.
Nobility and Land Reform . Legislation passed December 10th 1918 banned nobles from continuing to use their noble titles; on April 16th 1919 large land holdings were confiscated by the state, to be distributed as farm-size plots (land reform). As the noble landholders in Slovakia mostly had been Hungarians, the policy directed against their interests only alienated parts of the minority of ethnic Hungarians already in opposition to the state. However, the Catholic Church also was deprived of considerable land holdings, and this was resented by the considerable number of Slovakia's practising Catholics (the HSLS).
Administration . As Czechoslovakia's constitution leaned on France's political experience, the state, despite its genesis, was centralist. The central government attempted to introduce administrative units, the zupa system, in Slovakia based on the structure of Czechia's administration (1923). This proved dificult, resulted in a disproportionate number of Czech administrative officials appointed in Slovakia. In 1927 an administrative reform established Czechoslovakia being reorganized in 4 lands - Czechia, Moravia-Silesia, Slovakia and Carpatho-Ruthenia, without establishing autonomous governments for these lands.
Slovak Participation in Czecho-Slovak Democracy . Czechoslovak cabinets, formed on Nov. 14th 1918, May 25th 1920, Dec. 9th 1925, Jan. 15th 1927, Feb. 1st 1929 included Slovak ministers, who (except the latter two) were exclusively chosen from Czechoslovakists.
Andrej Hlinka's HSLS, which in the elections of 1920 had emerged as the third strongest party in Czechoslovakia with 18.1 %, and improved her share of the Slovak votes to 34.3 % in 1925; in the 1929 elections she gained 28.3 %. The HSLS, on August 3rd 1922, proposed autonomous status for Slovakia as suggested during the negotiations leading to the establishment of Czechoslovakia. The proposal remained unanswered.
There was a number of further political parties representing Slovak interests only, most notably the Slovak National Party. On the other hand, parties representing all of Czechoslovakia had considerable appeal on Slovak voters - the Social Democrats, the Agrarians, the Communists etc.
The Slovak Economy . The introduction of a Czechoslovak currency on February 25th 1919 resulted in the containment of rampant inflation; the Czechoslovak economy thus avoided the hyperinflation which continued until 1923 / 1924 in Germany and Austria. The law of April 16th 1919 regarding land reform, due to the political instability of the situation in Slovakia, could not be implemented immediately. While the large land holdings were confiscated, the distribution of the land proceeded slowly and with problems.
In the brief war with Hungary over the Czechoslovak-Hungarian border, Slovakia's infrastructure had suffered considerable damage, and the departing Hungarians had taken with them items they deemed Hungarian property.
The central administration in Prague regarded Slovakia as agrarian territory and failed to develop a Slovak industry. Slovakia, in consequence, experienced high emigration figures.
Slovak Culture . On November 11th 1919 the Jan Amos Comenius University in Bratislava was established, using the facilities of the Hungarian Elizabeth University which had been dissolved. On March 1st 1920 the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava opened.
The constitution of Czechoslovakia adopted on February 29th 1920 stated a (conceived) Czechoslovak Language to be the official language of the state.
Among the achievements of the Czechoslovak state in Slovakia is elementary education; the illiteracy rate was significantly reduced over the years.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
Slovak Participation in Czecho-Slovak Democracy . Governments frequently changed; the cabinets appointed in February 1929, December 1929, October 1931, June 1935 and September 1938 included Slovak ministers. When a court, without sufficient evidence, convicted Professor Vojtech Tuka, member of parliament for the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party (HSLS) of high treason (he was, justifiedly, suspected of having spied for Hungary), Slovak ministers Jozef Tiso and Ludovit Laba, also of the HSLS, resigned from office. In the elections held in October 1929, the HSLS emerged as the strongest party in Slovakia with 28 %, followed by the Agrarians with 19.5 % and the Communists with 10.7 %. In elections held in May 1935, the HSLS gained 30.12 % of the votes in Slovakia, followed by the Agrarians (17.6 %) and the bloc formed by the Hungarian National Party and the Hungarian Christian Socialist Party.
Politically, the Slovaks were split in two camps; those who unconditionally approved of Czechoslovakia, and those who wanted to see an autonomous Slovakia within a federal Czechoslovak state. Many political parties, among them the Agrarians, Communists, Social Democrats, had branches and competed for election in all of Czechoslovakia. The HSLS, the smaller Slovak National Party, the Karpatendeutsche Partei (Carpathian German Party, representing the German minority in Slovakia) and the Hungarian National Party represented Slovakian interests, the latter two the interests of ethnic minorities residing within Slovakia. The political parties demanding political autonomy for Slovakia, with the temporary exception of the HSLS, formed part of the opposition; many of these pro-autonomy parties, including a wing within the HSLS, rejected parliamentary democracy.
The HSLS strove to achieve a higher degree of political autonomy; the first such proposal of August 1922 having not been implemented, the HSLS made a second such proposal in May 1930. Again it failed to gain a parliamentary majority. Despite the fact that the HSLS participated occasionally in the formation of coalition governments, as in 1929, the party was suspected of being separatist, and in August 1933 Andrej Hlinka, the founder of the HSLS, was barred from publishing books. With the Great Depression hitting Slovakia much worse than the Czech lands, dissatisfaction in Slovakia grew. In 1936 the Hungarial National Party and the Hungarian Christian Social Party merged. In June 1938 demonstrations demanded the autonomy of Slovakia; in August the Hlinka Guard was established as a militia loyal to the HSLS. In October 1938 the HSLS adopted the Zilina Manifesto, in which she formulated her reiterated demand for the autonomy of Slovakia. In November 1938, the Slovak branches of six Czechoslovak political parties, most notably the Agrarians, declared that the HSLS would be the only representative of the will of the Slovak nation; in December 1938 the Slovak National Party merged with the HSLS.
The Slovak Economy . In November 1929 Czechoslovakia introduced the gold standard. This move signaling the strwength of her economy coincided with the Wall Street Crash; unemployment rose. On May 25th 1931, the police fired at participants in a demonstration in Kosice, organized by the Communist Party. In 1931, unemployment rose sharply, industrial production declined; Slovakia was hit harder by the Great Depression than the Czech lands, an aspect exacerbated by the fact that the Prague administration focussed on alleviating the situation in the Czech lands. While unemployment decreased in all of Czechoslovakia in 1931-1936, it increased in Slovakia. Slovakia registered high emigration figures (202,000 for the years 1919-1936). The closure of factories in 1932 and in 1933 occasionally caused public protest, on two occasions of which persons were shot.
In 1931, a National Economics Institute for Slovakia and Sub-Carparthian Ruthenia was established, which produced proposals for a policy leading to the industrialization of Slovakia. In 1937 the Slovak Technical University in Kosice was founded.
Slovak Culture . Matica Slovenska assembled in May 1932; this society of Slovak linguists elected a new committee without the participation of Czechs and of pro-Czechoslovak Slovaks. The Slovak intellectual community at a congress in June 1932 declared her support for political autonomy. In August 1933 the Slovak church celebrated her millenium. In June 1934 Czechs as well as Slovaks celebrated the success of the Czechoslovak football team, which lost in the world cup final in Rome to host Italy.
Establishment of the First Independent Slovakia : Slovakia had declared political autonomy within Czechoslovakia on Nov. 22nd 1938. Hlinka's Slovak People's Party, headed by Jozef Tiso, emerged as the sole political party representing the Slovaks (Nov. 1938) and the Czechoslovak parliament was compelled to accept Slovak autonomy and to concede to the right of the (future) Slovak administration to alter the Czechoslovak constitution, as far as Slovakia was concerned.
Prague suspected the emerging Slovak administration as secessionist, and decided on military action to prevent the latter (March 9-10; a number of Slovak political leaders was arrested). Germany supported the Slovak autonomous administration; the Slovak assembly declared independence on March 14th. On March 16th 1939, German troops occupied what was left of Czechia, renaming it the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
Slovakia was an independent republic, under the government of Slovak leader and Catholic priest Jozef Tiso (president of the Slovak People's Party) - a reduced Slovakia (autonomous since the Munich Pact), that is, after the cessions of territory to Poland and Hungary according to the Munich Pact of 1938.
The Establishment of a Fascist State : On November 8th 1938, all party organizations in Slovakia except for those representing the German and Hungarian national minorities declared that the Slovak People's Party (renamed Hlinka's Slovak People's Party) was the sole representative of Slovak national interests, turning the emerging nation in effect into a one-party-state. The parties representing the German respectively Hungarian ethnic minorities were granted autonomy for their respective ethnic groups and did not challenge the position of Hlinka's Slovak People's Party. Slovakia passed a law declaring autonomy on Nov. 22nd 1938; on Dec. 17th the Czechoslovak parliament in Prague approved an Empowerment Act for Slovakia, granting the Slovak government the right to alter the constitution. Elections for a new autonomous Slovak Assembly were held on December 18th 1938, with Hlinka's Slovak People's Party unsurprisingly winning 97.5 % of the votes. A constitution, modelled after those of Austria and Portugal, was adoptred on July 21st 1939; Jozef Tiso was elected president, Vojtech Tuka prime minister on Oct. 26th.
The Slovak or Hlinka Guard, headed by Vojtech Tuka, was Slovakia's pendant to the SA; it was established in August 1938. Internment camps to lodge political prisoners were established by a decree of March 24th, the most important one at Ilava.
Foreign Policy : On March 23rd 1939 Hungarian forces invaded; on March 25th Slovakia 386 square km of territory to Hungary. The newly independent state received international recognition from Germany, Italy, Japan and their respective allies, and from the Vatican.
Units of both the Slovak army and the Hlinka Guard participated in German operations against Poland in September 1939; Slovakia reannexed territory Poland had annexed from Czechoslovakia in 1938. On June 24th Slovakia entered the war againt the Soviet Union (which Germany had invaded on June 22nd). In November 1941 Slovakia joined the Anti-Comintern Pact.
Domestic Policy : (1) Policy concerning ethnic minorities. The Slovak Republic and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia implemented a policy of exchanging their nationals; in 1939-1940 most of the Czechs which had moved into Slovakia in the previous two decades left Slovakia. In reaction to German insistance, Slovakia implemented legislation (Feb. 1940, Sept. 1940, Jewish Code Sept. 1941) which resulted in the gradual exclusion of her Jewish population from political, economic and social life., Slovakia deportated her Jewish population to the annihilation camps in Auschwitz etc. (58,000 out of Slovakia's c.90,000 Jews were deported March to October 1942), but stopped the deportations when it became apparent that the deportees were not merely forced to work, but systematically killed). The deportations would be resumed during the period of German occupation in 1944-1945, with the exception of Schindler's Jews; Slovakia provided the stage for the last part of Oskar Schindler's project to save about 1100 Jews from the gas chambers in Auschwitz, as his 'ammunitions factory' was located in his hometown in Slovakia.
Slovakia's ethnic German and Hungarian minorities were represented by political parties which ran their respective communities autonomously.
(2) Power Struggle within the ruling Hlinka's Slovak People's Party (HSLS). The party had two wings. The more moderate wing was lead by Catholic priest Jozef Tiso, president since October 1939; the main representative of the radical national socialists was Vojtech Tuka, head of the Hlinka Guard and, since October 1939, prime minister. While Tiso promoted a Clerical Fascism, Tuka attempted to use German influence to gain power at the expense of Tiso; In July 1940 the Slovak leadership (Tiso) had to agree to German interference in Slovak internal affairs. In January 1941, the HSLS, on Tuka's initiative, published the 14 Points of Slovak National Socialism. On October 22nd 1942 the Slovak assembly attributed the title of "leader" to Jozef Tiso, confirming his position vis-a-vis his challenger.
In 1943 Slovakia's assembly extended her mandate for 4 more years, thus avoiding elections scheduled for 1943. Membership in the HSLS was important for a career in state administration; it rose from 50,000 in 1938 to 300,000 in 1943.
(3) Religious Policy
Slovakia declared Catholicism the official confession, and by doing so alienated the protestant minority. On July 14th 1939 Slovakia's Lutheran Church split into a German and a Slovak Lutheran Church of Slovakia.
(4) The Development of Slovakia
The Slovak National Bank was established on April 4th 1939, an administrative reform implemented July 25th 1939, dividing the country into 6 counties; a Slovak National Museum founded Jan. 26th 1940, a Slovak University established on July 3rd 1940, a College of Commerce in Bratislava Oct. 4th 1940, the Slovak National Library on May 1st 1941. The Slovak government pursued a policy of industrialization (see under economy).
The Economy : The dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1938-1939 had taken place largely without armed resistance; in consequence, there damage to her factories, housing etc. had been, by comparison, negligible. As Slovakia was a country of small towns and villages, the country did not experience a threatening food shortage; food rationing was not implemented. In 1943, problems in supplying the Slovaks with basic goods occurred; Corruption and the black market became significant factors.
A Slovak National Bank was established in April 1939, with seat in Bratislava, among others responsible for the new Slovak currency. In 1939, state officials of Czech nationality employed in Slovakia and those of Slovak nationality employed in Czechia were to return to their country of origin; the majority of the Czechs who had moved into Slovakia in the previous two decades returned to Czechia (90,000 out of 120,000).
Land owned by Jews was bought / confiscated by the state, and a part of it redistributed in a land reform (Feb. 1940). In May 1940 the Slovak state issued a regulation which provided incentives for the construction of factories and company housing, followed up by a law in November 1940 promoting the industrialization of Slovakia. Laws passed in September aimed at the limitation of the role Jews could play in the national economy. The extradition of 2/3 of Slovakia's Jewish population (March to October 1942, when the proces was discontinued), the emergence of an armed resistance (1943) had some impact on the Slovak economy.
About 40,000 Slovaks per year left Slovakia in order to find employment in Germany.
The Slovak National Uprising (August-October 1944), pogroms against Slovakia's German minority and the evacuation of the bulk of the latter (winter 1944-1945), the resumption of the deportation of Jews from Slovakia (1944-1945) and the gradual advance of the Soviet and Allied forces in 1944-1945 did cause havoc with the Slovak economy.
The Exile, Resistance, Slovak National Uprising 1944 : (1) The Exile. In 1939, both a Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile (London) and a Slovak National Council (Milan Hozda, Paris) were founded. While the Czech exile government could provide pilots which served in the Battle of Britain (many Czech pilots had left Czechoslovakia in March 1939), the Paris Slovak National Council was severely restricted in her actions by the lack of funds as well as of recognition, and ceased to function in May 1940 (German occupation of Paris). Following the German (and Slovak) invasion of the USSR on June 22nd 1941, on July 18th 1941 both the UK and the USSR recognized the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile seated in London; a regiment of Czechoslovaks was established, which, from 1944, alongside the Red Army, would participate in the liberation of Slovakia. In December 1943 the Czechoslovak govt.-in-exile (Benes) signed a treaty of friendship with the USSR in Dec. 1943.
(2) Resistance. Political opponents from a wide range within Slovak society organized themselves, with the Protestants and Communists (the Communist Party had been banned in fall 1938) playing a prominent role. At Christmas 1943 the various resistance groups in Slovakia established of a new Slovak National Council, which was to function in Slovakia and cooperate with the govt.-in-exile. In 1944, the Red Army together with Slovak partisans and regular Czechoslovak troops loyal to the Czechoslovak govt.-in-exile began the liberation of Slovakia.
(3) Slovak National Uprising (August-October 1944). Martial law was declared on August 11th. Partisan activity spread quickly, the Slovak authorities feeling it beyond their ability to deal effectively with the situation, they requested German assistance; the first German troops arrived August 28th. A full-scale uprising began August 29th; a Free Slovak Radio began broadcasting on August 30th. In September the Slovak insurgents and units of the Red Army undertook a concerted campaign against the Germans. The drastic measures taken by the SS against the rebels resulted in revenge action by the Slovak insurgents against the country's ethnic German minority. The vast majority of Slovakia's German population was evacuated (winter 1944-1945, beginning September 19th 1944). German forces took Banska Bystrica, the center of the insurrection, on October 27th; 4,000 insurgents had fallen, 15,000 prisoners were deported to concentration camps.
The insurgent Slovak National Council, on September 1st 1944, declared itself to be the sole representative of the Slovak nation and opted for the reestablishment of Czechoslovakia. On September 19th 1944 the newly established Social Democrat and Communist Party of Slovakia merged, under the label Communist Party of Slovakia, an event which pleased Soviet dictator Stalin.
The End of the First Independent Slovakia Soviet and Czechoslovak troops entered Slovak territory on October 6th. At Yalta (Feb. 1945), Churchill conceded that Slovakia was to fall in the Soviet sphere of interest; the reestablishment of Czechoslovakia had been agreed upon. With the fall of Bratislava on April 4th 1945 the liberation of Slovakia was completed. Vojtech Tuka and Jozef Tiso were arrested, sentenced to death; Tuka was executed August 20th 1946, Tiso April 18th 1947.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
Slovak Participation in Czecho-Slovak Democracy . In April 1945, a National Front Czechoslovak coalition government was established at Kosice, consisting of the Communist (split in a Czechoslovak and a Slovak party), the Social Democrat, the National Socialist parties, and, among others the Slovak Democratic Party. The HSLS, regarded an organization of collaborators, was banned, a reorganization of the Agrarian Party prevented. The government would move to Prague after the German unconditional surrender on May 8th/9th 1945.
In the 1946 elections, the Slovak Democratic Party gained 62 % of the votes in Slovakia, while the Communists emerged as the strongest party nationwide. The Communists held the ministry of the interior and abused this office in order to prepare the takeover of the state; the non-Communist cabinet members, including those belonging to the Slovak Democratic Party, resigned in February 1948 in protest. With the resignation of president Edvard Benes on February 20th 1948, the Czechoslovak Third Republic ended.
The Slovak Economy . By comparison with Czechia, Slovakia had experienced more significant wartime damage, as the iberation of Slovakia had been a slow and painful process (Oct. 1944 - April 1945). In addition, Slovakia (as well as Czechia) over the last six years had undergone a complex (and by May 1945 not yet completed) process altering her demographic structure, the complete or partial expulsion of her ethnic German, ethnic Hungarian, ethnic Czech, and her Jewish population (of which c. 70,000 had been deported to Auschwitz, where they had been subjected to genocide).
On February 27th the (insurgent) Slovak National Council decreed the confiscation of the land of the Slovak Germans and Hungarians, collectively regarded traitors to the Slovak state, and of collaborators (the HSLS); this was confirmed by a decree by President Benes of June 21st. The majority of Slovakia's ethnic German minority had been evacuated by German authorities in Sept. 1944 - March 1945; the remainder was expelled, a process completed by August 1945. On October 19th the new Czechoslovak currency was introduced; banks, mining and smelting companies, insurances and fod processing businesses were nationalized on October 24th. Hungary and Slovakia agreed on exchanging their mutual ethnic minorities, an exchange which was only partially implemented as over 360,000 Slovak Hungarians accepted Slovak nationality. In 1947 a two-year plan aiming at the reconstruction of Czechoslovakia's economy was introduced.
In Slovakia, the land reform implemented in 1945-1948 by the Communist administration was more effective than the land reform of 1920; this may have contributed to the comparatively strong showing of the Communists at the poll in 1946. The two-year-plan of 1947 also foresaw the reconstruction/establishment of industries in Bratislava and Kosice.
Slovak Culture . On February 22nd, the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Arts was reconstituted.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
The Integration of Slovakia in the Czechoslovak People's Republic . The resignation of non-communist ministers in February 1948 left a Communist rump cabinet, which was filled up with new Communist members by prime minister Klement Gottwald. The resignation of President Edvard Benes on June 2nd marks the beginning of absolute Communist control; the Czechoslovak National Assembly on May 9th had approved a Communist constitution. According to it, Slovakia enjoyed limited political autonomy.
Slovakia Within the Czechoslovak People's Democracy . The Communist parties of Czechoslovakia and of Slovakia were merged on September 29th 1948. Show trials dealt with non-Communist politicians deemed enemies of the state, from May 15th 1948 on with leaders of the Slovak Democratic Party (the winners of the 1946 elections), from March 21st 1950 on with representatives of religious orders, from July 16th 1950 on with members of the anti-Communist White Legion, from January 1951 on with Catholic as well as Orthodox bishops, from November 1952 on with Communist leaders accused of an anti-state conspiracy.
The Slovak National Council continued to exist, with limited authorities.
Despite the official party line of Communism treating the Czech and Slovak nations as equals, measures were taken establishing central control; in April 1948 the Czech and Slovak Radio Broadcasting Services were merged.
The Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, from 1948 onward, found the new Communist administration showing a hostile attitude toward them. This may explain a slightly higher percentage of blank ballots handed in in Slovakia, compared to Czechia, in the elections of May 30th 1948 (where the voters only could approve, or fail to approve, the list established by the Communist Party).
In February 1951 the Central Committee criticized a number of Communist Party members of "Slovak bourgeois nationalism"; Gustav Husak and others were expelled from the party. Former members of the HSLS were transferred from desk jobs into factory halls; this measure affected several thousand persons. In some cases, families labelled as bourgeois were forced to move from urban centres to the countryside.
Labour camps were dissolved in 1954; Destalinization affected Czechoslovakia from 1956 onward; the show trials ended, the intensitivity of state suppression of the churches declined.
In 1960 the name of the state as changed from Czechoslovak Republic (CSR) to Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR); a new constitution was adopted, further reducing Slovak autonomy.
By the 1960es the Czechoslovak Communist leadership found herself less under pressure than when Stalin was still alive. By comparison with other countries in the socialist camp, Czechoslovakia did comparatively well, but it could not mtch the standard of living of her capitalist neighbors, the FRG and Austria. Until late into the 1960es, the guideline of the Central Committee seemed to be - no experiments. It was challenged by Czechoslovak economists, writers and students.
The Slovak Economy . In October 1948, the First Five Year Plan (for 1949-1953) was adopted; it emphasized the development of the country's metal and machinery industry and the industrialization of Slovakia, as well as the gradual collectivization of the farmland. In 1949, Czechoslovakia joined COMECON. On May 30th 1953 a currency reform was implemented. Further Five Year Plans (1956-1960, 1961-1965) followed, continuing the emphasis on heavy industries. Czechoslovakia became one of the more advanced industrial nations within COMECON. In 1958 COMECON decided to construct the Druzhba network of pipelines which would supply Soviet oil and gas to her satellites in Eastern Central Europe.
In the 1960es, the emphasis shifted from political matters taken precedence over economic matters to economic matters taking precedence over political matters, as long as the constitution and the supremacy of the Communist Party was not challenged. In 1966 the New Economic Model was launched, which limited state planning, permitted enterprises to take their own economic decisions, aimed at enterprises becoming independent of state subsidies. In 1967, Slovak reform Communist Alexander Dubcek rose to prominence, demanding a democratization of society; appointed Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in January 1968, his program of 'Socialism with a Human Face' was to bring about the (brief) Spring of Prague. Czechoslovak economists propagated a socialist market economy; travel restrictions were lifted. The country briefly experienced a euphoria.
Slovak Culture . In 1948 the Slovak Radio was merged with its Czech pendant to form the Czechoslovak Radio; in 1949 the federations of Czech and of Slovak writers were merged. Later in 1949 the Slovak Philharmonic was established. In 1954 the Matica Slovenska was dissolved. In 1953/1956 television transmissions began, from transmitters in Bratislava/Kosice.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
Slovakia Within the Czechoslovak People's Democracy . Alexander Dubcek, the politician associated with the policy of Socialism with a Human Face better known as the Spring of Prague, was a Slovak. When Warsaw Pact troops invaded, he was arrested (August 21st 1968); the Czechoslovak population, including the Czechoslovak Communist Party continued to put up non-violent resistance. On August 26th to 28th 1968 the Communist Party of Slovakia condemned the invasion and confirmed her support for Dubcek.
The resistance had been futile, and a new administration headed by concrete heads, at the helm Slovak Gustav Husak, imposed constitutional changes; the CSSR was transformed into the CSFR (Czecho-Slovak Federative Republic, Oct./Dec. 1968). Now, within the Czechoslovak Federation, a Slovak Socialist Republic was created (Jan. 1st 1969). The policy of undoing the reforms was referred to as 'Normalization'. State administration, institutions and the Communist Party were cleansed of reformers; in Slovakia over 50,000 were expelled from the Communist Party (1970). In January 1970 the SSR imposed legislation limiting the activities of the churches; many Slovak Catholic dioceses were vacant. A schism in the Slovak Catholic Church occurred; an official pro-regime Catholic Church in 1973 three new bishops were consecrated. Parallel to it functioned an underground Catholic church supported by the Vatican.
The years between 1968 and 1989 were, overall, a period of stagnation. The leading politicians were dubbed concrete heads because of their docility toward Moscow, their lack of willingness to reform. The vast majority of Czechs and Slovaks refrained from engaging in political activity.
The Slovak Economy . The Oil Crisis of 1973 did affect Czechoslovakia, as the country was among the more industrialized member countries of COMECON. In 1978 Czechoslovakia's first nuclear power plant was taken in operation, at Bohunice near Trnava (Slovakia). In 1980 the highway connecting Bratislava with Brno and Prague was opened. The Communist Party Congresses of 1976 and 1981 could look back on significant quantitative increases in the agricultural and industrial production of Slovakia.
Slovakia's industries were heavly focussed on arms production, serving the armies of the Warsaw Pact, as well as export, mainly into the Third World. Socialist economic policy, exposed to a capitalist world economy and restricted by the shortage of hard (foreign) currency, emphasized exports and tried to avoid domestic spending, such as investment in the modernization of industrial facilities or in filters etc. in order to protect the environment. As a consequence, pollution was a significant problem.
Slovak Culture . Slovak soccer team Slovan Bratislava won the UEFA Cup in the season 1968-1969, the only Czechoslovak team to ever lift the trophy.
This chapter will only deal with events, developments affecting Slovakia; for a description of the history of Czechoslovakia click here.
Slovakia WithinCzechoslovakia . The Concrete Head administration under Husak / Jacek enjoyed minimal popularity within both the Czech and the Slovak population. When Mikhail Gorbachev, in the USSR, pursued his policy of Glasnost and Perestroyka (Transparency and Restructuring), hopes for an improvement of the political situation in the Czecho-Slovak Federation flared up, and the opposition in the underground became active. As in the GDR and in Czechia, the (Catholic) Church and novelists were at the forefront of the opposition.
Following the opening of the Berlin Wall (November 9th 1989), demonstrations in Prague, and, less in the focus of international media, in Bratislava put pressure on the Concrete Head administration; PM Ladislav Adamec resigned on Dec. 7th. President Gustav Husak resigned Dec. 12th 1989. He was succeeded by writer and political activist Vaclav Havel; Slovak Alexander Dubcek was elected chairman of the federal assembly in Prague.
The Slovak Socialist Republic was renamed Slovak Republic (March 1st 1990), the name of the federation altered to Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (April 20th 1990). Pope John Paul II. visited Slovakia on April 22nd. Free and democratic elections, held in June, were contested by a range of political parties; Public against Violence (VPN, for the continuation of the federation) gained the largest number of votes (29 %); the Communists came in 4th with 13 %. Vladimir Meciar (VPN) formed a coalition government; in April 1991, in a cabinet reshuffle he was replaced by Jan Carnugursky. On May 1st, Meciar and his upporters broke with VPN and formed the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which won the elections of June 1992 (37 %); Meciar again was appointed PM. Negotiations with the Czech Republic over the constityution of the federation failed, and on January 1st 1993 the Republic of Slovakia declared independence.
The Slovak Economy . Slovakia's economy, to a larger extent than that of Czechia, depended on COMECON, as it produced for an Eastern European market, a market guaranteed by planned economies; a good number of Slovak industries produced arms and ammunition. With the collapse of Communism, this market vanished, and the Slovak industries had both to adapt to free market conditions, had to switch her production to marketable consumer goods and to conquer new markets.
The process of privatization of Slovakia's state-owned industries was begun in May 1991. On January 1st that year, price controls had been removed. By the end of 1991, Slovakia's economy was in a severe crisis; industrial production, construction had declined sharply, unemployment risen. The prices for many consumer goods had doubled or tripled, while wages had not kept up with the changes; the Slovaks were poorer than before.
Slovak Culture . With Slovakia in political transition, a conflict arose between nationalists who wanted to see Slovak declared the exclusive official language, and those who wanted to maintain an exception for the Hungarian minority in regions where the latter formed over 20 % of the population.
Slovakia joined EU and NATO in 2004. In 1995 Slovakia signed a treaty with Hungary, concerning the status of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia.
In the eary years after independence, populist Vladimir Meciar, despite occasional setbacks, was the most influential politician, with his decisions irritating reform-minded Slovaks and foreign politicians alike. Only with his ousture in the elections of 1998 began Slovakia's modernization, the establishment of a stable democracy. Minority rights (violated by a 1995 law, despite the treaty signed with Hungary earlier that year) were guaranteed in 1999.
Historical Atlas, Slovakia Page
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NISYS, History of Nitra
Online-Lexikon zur Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa : Neutra/Nitra
Article Matica Slovenska, from Wikipedia |
Slovakia, from Airline History
Structurae : Slovakia
Article History of Slovak, from Wikipedia |
Czech and Slovak Literature in English, from James Naughton's Home Page
Alcohol and Drugs History Society : Slovakia
Category : Sport in Slovakia, from Wikipedia; Article Slovakia at the Olympics, Ski and Winter Sports in Slovakia, from Wikipedia
List of Slovaks, from Wikipedia;
Famous Slovaks, from Slovakia - Heart of Europe,
from Nations Encyclopedia |
Profiles of the main leaders of the Clerofascist Regime, posted by Prometheus Society
Category : Disasters in Slovakia, from Wikipedia |
Palearctic Ecoregion, from WWF
A. Kiss, Daily weather observations at Kosice, Slovakia, in the period 1677-1681. Meteorologický Casopis/Meteorological Journal 4 (2001): pp.3-14
Masonic Lodges by Country : Slovakia, from freemasonry.fm |
Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . ONLINE PRIMARY SOURCES .
Bibliographic and Print 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 (B. Cahoon);
from Rulers (B. Schemmel);
from Regnal Chronologies;
from World Rulers (E. Schulz, illustrated) |
|Lists of Ambassadors||
List of Ambassadors from the
United Kingdom to Slovakia, from Wikipedia |
Liste der deutschen Botschafter : Bratislava, from Wikipedia German edition
Article : United States Ambassadors to Slovakia (1922-), from Wikipedia
Chinese Ambassadors to Slovak, from PRC MOFA
|Statistical Data||Responsible Institution||
Statistics Slovakia |
Historical Population Statistics : Slovakia, from Population Statistics by Jan Lahmeyer |
Historical Abortion Statistics - Slovakia, from Johnston's Archive
Census Data (1913) by Language, Religion : Abauj-Torna County, Arva County, Bars County, Esztergom County, Gömör and Kishont County, Györ County, Komarom County, Hont County, Lipto County, Nograd County, Nyitra County, Pozsony County, Saros County, Szepes County, Trencsen County, Turocz County, Ung County, Zemplen County, from Talma Media
from Psephos (since 1998);
from IFES Election Guide (since 1998);
from Electoral Geography 2.0 |
|Documents||Historical Newspapers||Official Gazette||
Flare, Union List of Official Gazettes : Slovakia |
Elektronicka Zbierka Zakonov
Periodika, from Digitales Forum Mittel- und Osteuropa,
German language historical periodicals from Central and Eastern Europe |
Life Magazine, 1936-1972,
Search for "Slovakia", search all issues; 115 Slovakia articles, GB |
|Modern Newspapers||links from Online Newspapers, from World Newspapers|
|Online Yearbooks - Slovakia Entries|
|Films on History/Society||
Slovakia Film Archives linked by National Film Preservation Board (U.S.) |
Filmarchives Online (Europe-wide); Slovak Film Archive, Slovak Film Institute
Article : Cinema of Slovakia, from Wikipedia
Slovakia, from Cinema of the World
List of Slovak Films, from Wikipedia; Slovakia Film, from IMDb
Czech News Agency (CTK), Photobank |
Wikimedia Commons : Slovakia |
Items on Slovakia
License Plates, from Francoplaque, from
License Plates of the World |
Airline Timetable Images : Slovakia
Slovensko (Slovakia), from
Monasterium, digitized monastery archives |
Fabian-Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland, Österreich und Europa : Slowakische Republik, Diözesanbibliothek Neutra
Verfassungen der Slowakei (Constitutions of Slovakia), from verfassungen.eu,
in German |
Constitution of Czechoslovakia 1920, from Virtual Archive of East EuropeanHistory, in English
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, 1939, posted by Verfassungen.de, in German
List of Ratifications of International Labour Conventions by Slovenia, from
67 docs. since 1993 |
Internet Law Library : Slovakia
|Treaties||General Treaty Collections|
|Bilateral Treaty Collections|
European History Primary Sources : Slovakia |
Making the History of 1989 : Slovakia
Virtual Archive of East European History, click State Collections : Czechoslovakia. Documents in English
Ethnic Cleansing in Post-World War II Czechoslovakia : The Presidential Decrees of Edward Benes, 1945-1948 (n.d.), posted by Hungarian History (contains documents translated into English)
Family Search : Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books
|Historical Maps||responsible institutions||
UNESCO, National Mapping Agencies : Slovakia :
rad Geodzie, Kartografie a Katastra Slovenskej Republiky (GKKSR), Bratislava |
click here |
South East Europe History Map Index, from Eliznik
Slovakia City Maps, Area Maps, from Discus Media
Slovakia : Hungarian Counties, from IABSL
Category : Old Maps of Slovakia, Maps of the History of Slovakia, Wikimedia Commons
David Rumsey Map Collection : Slovakia
Slovakia Maps, PCL, UTexas
Europe in the Year
2000, euratlas |
Ethnographic Map of Hungary, based on Census of 1910, from Hunmagyar
Map : Hungarians in Slovakia (Census of 2010), posted by Hungarian Spectrum
Map : Principality of Nitra, Wikimedia Commons
Map : Slovakia, Military Districts 1850, Wikimedia Commons
Map : Austria-Hungary (borders of
Catholic Dioceses; from Streit, Atlas Hierarchicus 1913), posted by M. Witkam |
Ethnographic Map of Hungary, based on Census of 1880, Perthes 1885, posted by Hunsor
County Maps : Abauj-Torna and Gömör & Kishont,
Bars, Esztergom and Hont,
Ung, Berecs and Ugocsza,
Györ and Komarom,
Saros and Szepes,
Arva, Lipto and Zolyom,
Trencsen and Turoc, from Talma Media |
Kassa, from EB 1911 |
Articles Slowaken, Kaschau, Neuhäusel, Tirnau, Komitate : Komorn, Abauj-Torna, Arva, Gömör und Kis-Hont, Gran, Hont, Liptau, Neograd, Neutra, Pressburg, Saros, Sohl, Trentschin, Turocz, Ung, Zemplin, Zips, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Articles Cassovia, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1907-1914 |
Articles Presburg, from Jewish Encyclopedia 1901-1906
J. Chr. Nelkenbrecher, Allgemeines Taschenbuch
der Münz-, Maass- und Gewichtskunde für Banquiers und Kaufleute (General Manual
on Coinage, Measurement and Weights, for Bankers and Merchants) Berlin 1832, in German, entries Pressburg, posted by DTBSWS |
Joint Czech and Slovak Digital Parliamentary Library |
Repositories of Primary Sources : Europe : Slovakia, from
Univ. of Idaho. Mostly Archive Webpages, 2 entries |
Historical Research in Europe, listing of archives; click Atlas Search, Slovakia, 5 entries
Foreign Ministry Archives Services of the European Union Member States : Slovakia, from Consilium Europa
Brief History of the Slovak National Archives and its Predecessors
Category : Museums in Slovakia, from Wikipedia |
ICOM : Museums in Slovakia
Mining Museum Roznava |
Slovak National Museum
Category : Monuments and memorials in Slovakia,
from Wikipedia |
UNESCO World Heritage Site, List (search for Slovakia), Tentative Lists : Slovakia
Slovakia Index, from Showcaves, has historical mines
Libraries in Slovakia, from LibDex, 13 entries |
History of the Slovak National Library, from The European Library
|National Symbols||Flags, Coats of Arms||
Flag, from FOTW; Coat of Arms, from
International Civic Heraldry; National Anthem,
from National Anthems Net |
Banknotes of Slovakia, from World Currency Museum, from
Ron Wise's World Paper Money |
Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources .
BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND PRINT SOURCES |
Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Search ISBN Database |
|on Slovakia||survey of bibliographies||
Czech and Slovak : Bibliographie of Bibliographies, from
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library |
EBSEES (European Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies) |
Bibliographieportal zur Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas - LitDok Ostmitteleuropa
pp.195-213 in S.J. Kirschbaum, Historical Dictionary of Slovakia, Lanham Md : Scarecrow 1999 [G] |
Library of Congress, European Reading Room, Czech and Slovak History: An American Bibliography
Jews in Slovakia: a select bibliography of works in the British Library |
Hungary Bibliography, from European Centre for Minority Issues
Bibliography of the Publications of the Institute of History, Slovak Academy
of Sciences |
Studia Hungarica, from Ungarisches Institut, mostly in German
The Bohemians and the Slovaks, no.2725-3514 in R.J. Kerner, Slavic Europe; a selected bibliography in the Western European languages, comprising history, languages and literatures, 1918, IA |
Slovak Bookstore |
Internet Archives |
Gutenberg Library Online
Common Digital Library of Czech and Slovak Parliaments |
Central and Eastern European Online Library
Hungarian Electronic Library
Institute of Czech Literature : Czech Electronic Library
Academia : Documents in Slovak History
Open Access Theses and Dissertations |
|Online Journals||full text online||
Directory of Open Access Journals |
Jahrbücher für die Geschichte Osteuropas 1936-2006, BSB
Revue des Etudes Slaves 1921-2005, Persee
Forum Historiae 2007-
Table of Contents
Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung
1952-, in German |
Adrian Webb, The Longman Companion to Central and Eastern Europe since 1919, London etc.: Longman 2002 [G] |
Raymond Pearson, The Longman Companion to European Nationalism 1789-1920, London etc.: Longman 1994 [G]
Peter A. Toma, Dusan Kovac, Slovakia - from Samo to Dzurinda, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press 2001 [G]
Ehemaliges Bundesministerium für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kriegsgeschädigte (ed.),
Die Vertreibung der Deutschen Bevölkerung aus der Tschechoslowakei (The Expulsion of the German population
from Czechoslovakia), München : Weltbild 1994 [G] |
Julius Bartl et al., Slovak History : Chronology and Lexicon, Bolchazy Carducci, 2000, 380 pp. [G] |
Stanislav J. Kirschbaum, Historical Dictionary of Slovakia, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 1999 [G]
IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750-1988, London : Palgrave 2000 [G] |
|Yearbook Entries||Britannica Book of the Year||
Slovakia, 1944 p.640, 1945 p.640, 1994, pp.453, 712, 1995, pp.469-470, 712, 1996 pp.467, 712, 1997 pp.471-472, 710, 2002 pp.490, 724 [G] |
Slovakia, 1993-1994 pp.1169-1175, 1994-1995 pp.1172-1177, 1995-1996 pp.1163-1167,
1996-1997 pp.1139-1143, 1997-1998 pp.1141-1145, 1998-1999 pp.1245-1250, 2000 pp.1395-1401, 2001 pp.1359-1366,
2002 pp.1414-1420, 2003 pp.1413-1419, 2004 pp.1434-1440, 2005 pp.1444-1450, 2006 pp.1451-1457 [G] |
Slovakia, 1994 p.472 [G] |
Article : Slovakia, in : New International Year Book Events of 1940 pp.679-680, 1941 pp.593-594, 1942 pp.623-624, 1943 pp.571-572 [G] |