First Czechoslovak Republic

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Czechoslovakia in the interwar period

The First Czechoslovak Republic (Czech první Československá republika , Slovak prvá Československá republika ) is a subsequently formed unofficial name for the first time of the Czechoslovak state from independence in 1918 until the integration of the Sudetenland in 1938 in the German Reich during the Nazi era .


Founding of the state

Declaration of the independence of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918

Emperor Karl's attempt with his Imperial Manifesto of October 16, 1918 to save at least the Austrian half of the empire and convert it into a federal state with extensive autonomy for the individual nations came too late. His invitation to the nationalities of Cisleithania to form national councils was accepted, unless this had already been done without an invitation, as was the case with the Czechs. The nationalities of the monarchy no longer wanted to hear about a federal system under the leadership of the emperor.

The Czechs were not deterred from founding their own, independent and democratically oriented state. Three days after the imperial manifesto, Wilson supported this by demanding that Austria-Hungary recognize the autonomy of the nationalities of the dual monarchy. On October 28, 1918, the Czechoslovak state was proclaimed by representatives of four Czech parties in the Prague parish hall . The Imperial and Royal Governor and the Imperial and Royal Garrison took note of this without contradiction; the governor left the official business to his Czech deputy. Two days later, the new neighboring state of German Austria was constituted . Masaryk, who did not return to Prague from exile until December 21, was elected President of the Republic by the parliamentarians on November 14, and Beneš was elected Foreign Minister of the provisional Czechoslovak government under Masaryk's chairmanship. On the same day, the Karel Kramář government was formed as the country's first regular government.

A group of Slovak politicians proclaimed on October 30, 1918 in Turčiansky Svätý Martin (today Martin ) in the so-called Martin Declaration the annexation of Slovakia to the new state. The Slovak population was largely waiting towards the newly established state.

Political reorganization and a new constitution

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk , President from 1918 to 1935, founder and symbolic figure of the First Republic

The philosopher and sociologist Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected as the first president . The first Prime Minister was Karel Kramář in his Kramář government from 1918-1919. The provisional constitution of November 1918 was passed by the Czechoslovak National Committee, which in June 1918 was composed of representatives of Czech parties according to the election results of 1911.

The constitutional charter of the Czechoslovak Republic was adopted on February 29, 1920 - not by an elected parliament , but by the Provisional National Assembly, which was formed by expanding the aforementioned National Committee. Of the 270 members of the National Assembly, 54 seats were allocated to the Slovaks. The Germans in Bohemia and Moravia, who predominantly rejected the establishment of the new state , boycotted the National Assembly and thus missed the opportunity to influence the creation of a new state. The first parliamentary elections for the House of Representatives and Senate took place on April 18, 1920. Apart from Switzerland and Czechoslovakia, no other country in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe established democracy as a form of government between the First and Second World Wars . The ČSR remained a parliamentary democracy even after 1938.

Years of Crisis and Statehood (1920–1935)

The ČSR from 1928 to 1938

The enactment of the constitution of 1920 installed a parliamentary system and a democracy with relatively few components for the individual representatives of the country's national minorities . However, this allowed the emergence of a large number of political parties without a clear leader in the leading political unit.

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected the country's first president in the 1920 elections, and his subsequent leadership helped ensure that the multi-ethnic state survived its toughest years. A coalition of five Czechoslovak parties, which became known as Pětka ("The Five"), formed the backbone of the government and thus gave the state political stability. Prime Minister Antonín Švehla led the Pětka in the 1920s and created a model of coalition policy that lasted until 1938. Masaryk was re-elected in 1925 and 1929 and served as President until December 14, 1935. When he resigned because of his poor health, Edvard Beneš succeeded him as president with over 60% of the vote in the elections. Beneš himself was previously foreign minister and created the system of alliances that determined the international position of the republic until 1938. The restoration attempts by the Habsburgs in Hungary, which lasted until 1921, were dispersed by the ČSR.

It was necessary for the political leaders of the First Republic to find an acceptable solution for the diversity of cultures represented within the country. The national minorities therefore enjoyed special protection from the authorities until 1937; in addition, the language of a minority was allowed to be used as an auxiliary language in parts of the country with over 20% of this population, although some German and Hungarian parties were also dissatisfied with this. As a compromise, from 1926 onwards one member of a minority party was allowed to enter parliament and represent the party there. While most German parties were content with this, the Hungarian parties were openly hostile to the Czechoslovak government .

Ethnic tensions (1935-1937)

Language distribution in Czechoslovakia around 1930

The Czech-dominated political structure of the First Republic created a strong nationalism among the country's minorities with the desire to obtain broader political autonomy. The Slovak People's Party , headed by Andrej Hlinka , was a popular example in Slovakia. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the political elite of the ČSR in particular feared possible German aggression. Beneš nevertheless ignored the possibility of building a stronger Central European alliance system. However, an alliance with the Soviet Union came about .

The German minority, who lived in the Sudetenland and wanted greater autonomy from the Czechoslovak government, felt oppressed by the authorities. In the parliamentary elections in 1935 , the newly founded Sudeten German Party , financed by National Socialist Germany , under the leadership of Konrad Henlein received a huge majority of more than two thirds of the Sudeten German votes. This electoral success, unexpected by the Czechoslovak population, disturbed the nationalist-minded Czechs and worsened relations between parts of the Czechs and parts of the Sudeten Germans. Henlein met Hitler on March 28, 1938 in Berlin , where he was instructed to increase the party's demands on the Czechoslovak government. On April 24th, the SdP announced the “ Karlovy Vary Program ”, which triggered the Sudeten crisis .

Sudeten crisis and disintegration

Czechoslovak soldiers in Schönlinde (Krásná Lípa) in 1938

When the political situation deteriorated, the situation in the Sudetenland was very critical. The region was constantly the scene of small clashes between SdP supporters and Czechoslovak border troops. In some places the Czechoslovak army was used against the Sudeten Germans. The German side blamed the Czechoslovak government for atrocities committed against innocent Germans. The Czechoslovak public was prepared for war by the government. On May 20, 1938, the Czechoslovak partial mobilization (literally "special military precaution") was carried out. Great Britain tried to calm the situation and forced the Czechoslovak government to comply with part of the Karlovy Vary demands . The SdP do not accept the proposed compromises. The newly founded Sudeten German Freikorps committed some crimes in the border areas, 110 Czechoslovaks were killed and Czechoslovak citizens kidnapped in 2020. In August the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sent the former Minister Lord Runciman to the territory of the Czechoslovak Republic to see if an agreement had been reached between the Czechoslovak government and the Sudeten German minority. This diplomatic attempt failed. As a result of the Sudeten crisis, the Munich Agreement was reached only a short time later .

Munich Agreement

Neville Chamberlain in his speech "Europe is saved"

The Munich Agreement ended the era of the First Czechoslovak Republic. With the signing of the document by Adolf Hitler , Neville Chamberlain , Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier , the Prague government officially ceded the Sudetenland to the German Reich . Before that, the Czechoslovakia had been given an ultimatum by Great Britain and France, which offered Czechoslovakia an independent solution to the problem or the peaceful cession of the Sudetenland under the eyes of the Western powers. The Czechoslovak government accepted the ultimatum and sparked protests across the country.

After the ratification of the agreement, around 40% of Czechoslovak industry remained in Czechoslovakia, as well as an almost unfit for military service and only economically independent with difficulty. In addition to this economic loss, the First Republic lost over 38% of the country's area and over three million inhabitants on the last day of its existence. In the occupied territories, expulsions and murders of Czechs as well as deportations of Czech Jews and Sinti and Roma took place. After the assassination attempt by Czech resistance fighters on SS leader Reinhard Heydrich in 1942, the Nazi regime carried out the destruction of Lidice and Ležáky as an act of revenge .


Sudeten Germans remove a Czechoslovak border post

On the morning of September 30, 1938, the result was announced in the First Republic. High-ranking officers then met with Beneš in Prague Castle and negotiated with him about an act of military resistance by the Czechoslovak army against the Wehrmacht , the Czechoslovak Wall should offer the Home Army a decisive advantage. Beneš refused, and the Czechoslovakian constitution of 1920 was thereby de facto suspended, which, after a historical period of nearly 20 years, meant the expected end of the First Czechoslovak Republic.


Ethnic groups

Nationalities of Czechoslovakia 1921
nationality Residents relative number
Czechoslovaks 8.761 million 64.35%
German 3.123 million 22.94%
Hungary 0.745 million 5.47%
Russians (Great Russians), Ukrainians , Carpathian Russians 0.461 million 3.38%
Jews 0.180 million 1.32%
Foreigners 0.238 million 1.74%
Poland and others 0.102 million 0.75%
Total population 13.613 million 100%

In the First Czechoslovak Republic, the two titular nations Czechs and Slovaks did not make up the entire population - around a third belonged to other nationalities . In a census of 1921, the multi-ethnic state comprised 8.761 million Czechs and Slovaks as well as 3.1 million Germans (23%), who thus exceeded the number of Slovaks, as well as large minorities of Magyars , Roma , Russians , Ukrainians , Jews and Poles .

National disputes arose due to the fact that the Czech majority occupied more and more positions in the central government and other national institutions, all of which were based in the Bohemian capital, Prague . The Slovak middle class, because Hungarians, Germans and Jews previously held most of the administrative, professional and commercial positions, was the result of the domination of the Czechs towards deportation to simple jobs in the lower class. The position of the Jewish community, especially in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, became increasingly powerful, so that the Jewish parties as a whole had 11 seats in parliament and often looked up to Zionism . In addition, most of Czechoslovakia's industry was in Bohemia and Moravia , so other ethnic groups had almost no opportunity to help the state economically in any way. Due to the central political structure of Czechoslovakia, strong nationalism emerged in the non-Czech population and was expressed through several parties and movements with the aim of obtaining autonomy, such as the Sudeten German Party led by Konrad Henlein and the Slovak People's Party under Hlinkas directed by Andrej Hlinka .

The German minority in the Sudetenland demanded autonomy from the Czech government because they claimed to be oppressed. In the parliamentary elections in 1935, the newly founded Sudeten German Party , led by Konrad Henlein , received more than two thirds of the Sudeten German votes. As a result, diplomatic relations between Germany and Czechoslovakia continued to deteriorate.

Ethnic groups in each country

Nationalities of Czechoslovakia in the individual historical countries 1921:

Ethnic group Bohemia Moravia Silesia Slovakia Carpathian Ukraine total
( Czechs and Slovaks )
4,382,788 (66%) 2,048,426 (77%) 296 194 (49%) 2,013,792 (67%) 19,737 (3.3%) 8 760 937
German 2,173,239 (33%) 547 604 (21%) 252 365 (42%) 139 900 (4.7%) 10,460 (1.8%) 3 123 568
Magyars 5,476 (0.1%) 534 (0.02%) 94 (0.02%) 637 183 (21%) 102 144 (17%) 745 431
Ukrainians 2 007 (0.03%) 976 (0.04%) 338 (0.06%) 85 644 (2.9%) 372 884 (63%) 461 849
Jews 11 251 (0.2%) 15,335 (0.6%) 3,681 (0.6%) 70 529 (2.4%) 80 059 (14%) 180 855
other 93 757 (1.4%) 46 448 (1.8%) 49 530 (8.2%) 42 313 (1.4%) 6,760 (1.1%) 238 080
Total population 6 668 518 2,649,323 602 202 2,989,361 592 044 13 410 750


According to the census of 1920, 82 percent in Bohemia and Moravia professed their support for the Roman Catholic Church , 7.2 percent were " without religious belief ", 5.5 percent Hussites , 2.3 percent Evangelical Czech Brothers, 1.5 percent Silesian Lutherans , 1.2 percent Jews , 0.2 percent Old Catholics , 0.09 percent Orthodox .

In the period 1920–1935 the number of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia sank from 125,000 at the beginning (1920) to 117,000 (1930). 70,000 Jews lived in Slovakia. After 1933, the proportion of Jews through emigrants and refugees rose sharply to up to 450,000. At the time of the National Socialist occupation in March 1939, 55,000 Jews were in Prague, including the refugees.

The establishment of a Czechoslovak church independent of Rome in 1920 and the elevation of Hus Day to a national holiday in 1925 caused the conflict with the Vatican that had arisen in the 15th century to flare up again; this conflict was resolved in February 1928. Relations with the Vatican, however, remained difficult.

One of the largest Jewish population groups at the time lived in Prague with 7,100 members (1800), 29,000 (1910) and 35,000 (around 1925). After the anti-German riots in Prague in 1920, the Jewish Town Hall was stormed and the inventory was badly damaged. The first newspaper for Jews appeared in 1919. In 1920 Prague received the first Jewish school, in which Franz Kafka's sister Valli Pollak was one of the first teachers to teach. In 1922 the historian Samuel Steinherz (1857–1942) was elected rector of the German Karl Ferdinand University in Prague and held this office until 1928.

Around 700 people converted to Islam in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1938.

Nationalist tensions

From the beginning, the political situation of the new state was shaped by the worsening conflict between the centralistically minded Czech and the federalistically minded Slovak parties. While Slovak parties strived for a trialist state consisting of the Czech Republic , Slovakia and Carpathian Ukraine , Czech parties defended the unified state with Czechoslovakism as their state doctrine. It was finally agreed on a structure of the state, which consisted of the historical countries.

While some Slovak parties were content with this, the Ukrainians found themselves between the fronts, as on the one hand they themselves were striving for a federal balance, on the other hand they could not find a balance with the Slovak parties. The German national consciousness that arose in 1937/8 was directed in the form of the Sudeten German Party against the supremacy that the Czechs claimed for themselves.

Territory gains

In the peace treaties

Polish-Czechoslovak border war

Czech map of the voting area
Czechoslovak soldiers in the area

On January 23, 1919, at 11:00 a.m., the Polish commander Franciszek Latinik and the Czechoslovak officer Josef Šnejdárek met with a group of foreign officers in Cieszyn . This group consisted of Germans, British, French, Italians and US representatives (at the request of the Czechoslovak party). The Polish side was given an ultimatum to evacuate the area near the Biała River in less than two hours. After this time, the Czechoslovak army began at 13:00 with the occupation of the territories Bohumín and Karviná . At the same time an attack by Italian units began from the east and the area was occupied on January 27, 1919 without fighting. The Polish troops withdrew to the Vistula .

On January 30, 1919, General Josef Šnejdárek received the order to cross the Vistula with his troops and to secure the railway line between Bohumín and Jablunkov . The Czechoslovaks crossed the river and the Polish troops withdrew again, this time as far as Skoczów , where the front line had stalled. Further Czechoslovak reinforcements arrived, which gave Šnejdárek an advantage over the Polish units. The Czechoslovak army was now ready to attack Skoczów and the Polish defense was expected to collapse.

On January 31, 1919, due to pressure from foreign representatives, the attack on Skoczów was abandoned and the Czechoslovak army withdrew. A new border between the First Republic and the Second Polish Republic was established in the Czechoslovak-Polish Treaty on February 3, 1919 in Paris. In 1938 the region fell back to Poland.


To a large extent, the Czechoslovak democracy was shaped by President Masaryk , who enjoyed great respect as one of the founding fathers of the republic. It seemed like Masaryk would seemingly overcome all unsolvable political problems. Masaryk is still the symbol of Czechoslovak democracy to this day. With the constitution of February 29, 1920 the provisional constitution of 1918 was replaced in its main features. The Czechoslovak state was conceived as a parliamentary democracy , in the first place the National Assembly , consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The National Assembly was responsible for the legislative initiative and oversaw the executive and judicial branches . Every seven years a new president was elected and confirmed with the cabinet appointed by him.

From 1928 to 1939, Czechoslovakia was divided into five countries (Czech země ): Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine. The constitution identified “Czechoslovakism” as the main component of the Czechoslovak state and established the Czech and Slovak languages ​​as official languages . The concept of the Czechoslovak nation was necessary to justify the establishment of Czechoslovakia to the world, as otherwise the statistical majority of Czechs would appear rather small compared to the Germans and other minorities. The national minorities were given special protection by the authorities. In districts where they made up more than 20% of the population, members of minority groups were given the freedom to use their language in everyday life and at school.

The well-organized parties, which acted as the actual centers of power, were largely responsible for political stability. Without considering the period from March 1926 to November 1929, coalitions of five Czechoslovak parties were formed. These later formed the backbone of the government:

Domestic politics

Czechoslovakia was a heterogeneous entity both politically and denominationally. According to the results of the only two Czechoslovak censuses of the interwar period, the population in 1921 (1930) consisted of Czechs 51.5% (51.2%) and Slovaks 14% (15%) and a large number of Germans 23.4% (22nd , 5%) in the Bohemian countries ( Sudetenland ) and Slovakia ( Carpathian Germans ), as well as from Magyars 5.6% (4.9%) and Russians (Ruthenians) or Ukrainians 3.5% (3.9%) in the Slovakia. It should be noted, however, that the Czechs and Slovaks were given as "Czechoslovaks" in the censuses, so that in some sources differing proportions of Czechs and Slovaks can be found (for example 43% Czechs and 22.5% Slovaks), their total but does not differ from the above. The Ruthenians and Ukrainians were given as Rus (ové) .

The relationship of the ethnic groups to one another was fraught with conflict. There were several minor arguments.

Czechoslovak Chamber of Deputies 1920–1935 - German and Hungarian parties
Political party Mandates 1920 Mandates in 1925 Mandates in 1929 Mandates in 1935 Voices 1935
Sudeten German Party - - - 44 1.256.010
German National Party - 10 7th - -
German National Socialist Workers' Party 15th 17th 8th - -
German Social Democratic Workers' Party 31 17th 21st 11 300,406
German Christian Social People's Party 7th 13 14th 6th 163,666
Association of farmers 11 24 - 5 142,775
Hungarian parties

and Sudeten German electoral block

9 4th 9 9 292,847
United German parties 6th - 16 - -
Total (from 300 mandates) 79 85 75 75
  • Hungarian parties and Sudeten German electoral bloc (1935): German Democratic Freedom Party , German Trade Party, German National Party, Sudeten German Land Association, German Workers' Party, Spis German Party, Hungarian Christian Social Party, Hungarian National Party

The Sudeten German ethnic group lived mainly in the industrial conurbations and represented a larger ethnic group in percentage terms than the Slovaks. They were dissatisfied with their position in the state, because the invasion of Czech troops in 1918 had prevented German referendums and the annexation to Austria planned by the Sudeten Germans had been forbidden by the victorious powers. Former Austrian civil servants who did not speak Czech were dismissed, as were many heads of state-owned companies. The state language Czech was introduced as a compulsory subject in German schools (the rest of the lessons remained German). Many Sudeten Germans rejected the obligation to learn the state language. After the German National Party , headed by Rudolf Lodgman von Auen, had achieved some success in the 1920 elections, its importance declined noticeably in the course of the late 1920s. The German Social Democrats were the strongest German parliamentary group in the Prague House of Representatives from 1920 to 1935, and from 1929 onwards, with their chairman Ludwig Czech , who held various ministerial posts, also became a ruling party. From 1933 onwards, large parts of the Sudeten German population were fascinated by the initial successes of German National Socialism . The first for autonomy aspiring Sudeten German Party of Konrad Henlein , emerged from the German National Socialist Workers' Party , turned from 1937 Adolf Hitler to.

The Slovaks, who had not been granted autonomy within the state, were also dissatisfied, although it had been guaranteed to them by the Pittsburgh Treaty between the American Czechs and American Slovaks in May 1918. They also felt offended by the concept of the Czechoslovak nation. In 1929, one of the leading Slovak personalities, the Slovak professor Vojtech Tuka (* 1880, † 1946) was sentenced to 15 years in prison, of which he actually had to serve eight years in prison. Tuka became Prime Minister of Slovakia during World War II . At the beginning of the 20th century, Slovak and German were only allowed as foreign languages ​​in primary schools in Hungary. Therefore there was a lack of Slovak-speaking intelligence . She was replaced by Czech teachers and civil servants whose behavior was perceived by the Slovaks as arrogant. The Czech teachers and officials contributed significantly to the Czechization of the Slovak language.

Foreign policy

Edvard Beneš (1884–1948) (then Foreign Minister)

Edvard Beneš , the first Czechoslovak Foreign Minister (1918-1935) and later Czechoslovak President, was a great promoter of the system of democratic western states that supported Czechoslovakia on international soil until 1938. Beneš believed that the League of Nations would promote the peaceful development of Europe and ensure the security of the newly formed countries. He also threaded an alliance with Romania and Yugoslavia , which later became known as the Little Entente . This should stop the Hungarian revanchism and offer all three states a secure future. Because of the separation of Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine , Hungary had economic problems, since the entire Hungarian industry and the wood supply came from these areas, and the kingdom was economically dependent without these areas previously known as Upper Hungary . As a result of this problem, relations between the two countries remained tense.

Beneš turned, firmly convinced, in the foreign policy of the country to Great Britain and above all to France , since these two countries were also a model for the First Republic in many other areas. While the UK pursued a policy of isolation, as Czechoslovakia would not be an achievable ally in the war, relations with France developed excellently.

In 1925, several treaties were signed that accepted Germany into the League of Nations, thereby improving relations between the Weimar Republic and the First Republic. The reason for the improvement in relations was the German state guarantee to accept the borders with Czechoslovakia and Poland , but for the future it was agreed that any dispute between countries would be resolved in international arbitration. Thereupon France concluded an additional alliance treaty with Czechoslovakia and Poland, followed by military supplies, with the promise to defend the countries in the event of an attack by Germany.

After the National Socialists came to power in Germany and their sympathy began to grow and also sprouted in the border areas of the western half of Czechoslovakia, in order to bring about the possible change of state borders and an annexation of the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany , Czechoslovak diplomacy began again To seek allies. Beneš turned strongly to the USSR and in 1935 concluded the so-called Czechoslovak-Soviet Alliance , which would guarantee an intervention by the Red Army in the event of war and would provide Czechoslovakia with military supplies from the air.

Through the treaty, the Czechoslovak representation turned away from the western alliance. Due to the Munich Agreement , the country's longstanding foreign policy had failed.


Map of the alliance of the Little Entente between the First Czechoslovak Republic, the Kingdom of Romania and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

The traditional main allies of Czechoslovakia were France and Great Britain. Czechoslovakia was an important link in the alliance system between the three states in the interwar period. From 1920 to 1939 the country was linked to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Romania in the Little Entente . This alliance was primarily directed against revisionism in Hungary . When Germany expanded its influence to Central and Southeastern Europe , this union became obsolete. The first Viennese arbitration award deprived the Little Entente of its livelihood. In addition to these two alliances, the First Republic formed an alliance with the Soviet Union . This was resolved in 1938.

Relations with neighboring countries


Relations with neighboring Poland were critical throughout the interwar period because of the Olsa area issue . Poland did not recognize the sovereignty of the ČSR over the area, while the ČSR regarded the area as Silesian and by 1926 had expelled several thousand Poles from the area. The ČSR built extensive border protection systems on the Czechoslovak-Polish border, which belonged to the Czechoslovak Wall . After the Munich Agreement, Poland annexed the Olsa area.


Czechoslovakia was also unable to achieve good neighborly relations with Germany . Although the Weimar Republic guaranteed the recognition of the new borders with Czechoslovakia in the border treaties concluded in 1925, this was later repealed. The Hultschiner Ländchen , annexed by the ČSR against the votes of the residents under the Versailles Treaty , remained a point of contention. The further relationship between the two states was marked by confrontation. From 1937 to 1938 Hitler supported the German nationally oriented Sudeten German Party . The conflict over the Sudetenland ended with the assignment under the Munich Agreement.


Because of the uncertain situation in southern Slovakia - there the Hungarian-Romanian War took place after the First World War , in which Czechoslovakia also took part - there were only poor relations with neighboring Hungary . After the Treaty of Trianon , all of southern Slovakia was assigned to Czechoslovakia. The Hungarian minority repeatedly fought against the supremacy of the Czechoslovaks and was strongly supported by the Hungarian homeland. Since Hungary also leaned on Germany, it annexed part of southern Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine under the protection of the Reich in the First Vienna Arbitration .


There has been good foreign policy relations between the First Republic and the Kingdom of Romania since the Hungarian-Romanian War. With Romania, the Treaty of Sèvres also resulted in a smaller exchange of territory in Carpathian Ukraine, and relations improved even more. The population of 14,000 Romanians in the country was doing well and numerous cultural exchanges took place. When Czechoslovakia lent two large amounts of money to Romania and the kingdom failed to repay it, the Czechoslovakia imposed a trade restriction on Romania, greatly reducing trade. Incidentally, contrary to the alliance, Romania did not intervene in 1938 and thus withdrew its livelihood as the only ally within reach of the First Republic.

Minority policy

The minorities were theoretically protected by the minority treaty of Versailles, the constitution and the Geneva Convention. The German minority in particular was grateful to be able to appeal to international arbitration bodies in cases of conflict. Between 1920 and 1930 there were over 1,200 petitions to the League of Nations , 175 of them came from Czechoslovakia and almost half of them came from 1938, when Czechoslovakia and Nazi Germany had the climax of their conflict in the Sudeten crisis.

Thus the First Republic was de facto a multinational state. However, the minorities were not mentioned in official language, but the Czechoslovakian character of the republic was always emphasized. This led to considerable conflicts with the national minorities. The Ukrainians, Poles, and in some cases also the German minorities were forbidden to operate their own higher educational institutions.

The First Czechoslovak Republic was the state with one of the largest Jewish population groups in Central Europe.

The German parties built up their share of the vote of over 20.18% (1935) in elections. The share of the votes of German parties in the Sudetes was significantly higher than the percentage of German speakers shown in the official statistics, which according to the 1938 census was 23.0% (in 1921 it was 25.2%). This only led to the conclusion that many Czech-speaking Sudetes had also voted for German parties, about which Czechoslovak nationalists were particularly angry. The Ukrainians successfully supported the expansion of Ukrainian-speaking primary schools, which rose from 200 to 1570 in 1925. In addition, the number of bilingual schools rose from 5,426 to 12,710.

The approx. 100,000 Jews who emigrated or returned from neighboring countries in 1917/1919 received Czechoslovak citizenship between 1920 and 1935.

For the Poles in the Olsa area, their situation improved, at least in the short term. During the Sudeten crisis in 1938, the Sudeten German party built up the support of the German population and demanded autonomy: however, when the martial law over 13 Sudeten German districts followed, Konrad Henlein demanded affiliation with the German Reich, which was implemented in the Munich Agreement. The Hungarian minority in Slovakia was financially supported by the Kingdom of Hungary and repeatedly caused uprisings.

Spectrum of parties

The spectrum of parties in the First Republic was largely divided along ethnic and cultural lines. In Bohemia, the conservative and centralist-Czech parties dominated for a long time. In Slovakia, again, federal-republican parties dominated and in Carpathian Ukraine, Jewish parties were often dominant. The Sudeten German minority often only voted for German parties and the Hungarian minority for nationalist parties that called for a rapprochement with Hungary.

Czechoslovak parties

The RSZML was created in 1922 through a combination of some Czech and Slovak agricultural parties . The chairman was Antonín Švehla and the main component was the workers' society. Svehla also combined social and democratic ideas for the party. The party was also part of a coalition government from 1922 to 1938.

The ČSDSD was a social democratic party that was the largest party in the country after the 1920 elections . The orientation of the party was neutral, there was no rapprochement with the left or right parties in the country, so even in the heyday of the party there was a split between right and left. The dispute ultimately led to the party congress being postponed. The new left party under Bohumír Šmeral triumphed in the end. This later founded the independent Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. This severely weakened social democracy and experienced a debacle in the 1925 elections. In 1929 the party's situation improved, as the new leader of the party, Antonín Hampl, renewed the party and earned it a great deal of popular sympathy.

KSČ was created on May 14, 1921 by renaming a left wing that had split off from the Czechoslovak Social Democracy (Československá sociální demokracie - ČSSD). The first chairman was Bohumír Šmeral . In the parliamentary elections in November 1925, the party was the second largest party in the country after the Agrarian Party, with 13% of the vote and 20 seats. In 1925 the process of Bolshevization was decided, combined with a consolidation of the programmatic dependence on the Communist International. In 1929 the so-called "Boys from Karlín" (karlínští kluci), who were responsible for it, led by Klement Gottwald , took over the leadership of the party. Many of the founding members then left the party and the KSČ lost most of its voters.

The ČSNS officially became the Czechoslovak Socialist Party in 1926. The center-left party advocated what is known as “Czechoslovak socialism”. The head of the party was Václav Klofáč . In addition, there were very popular members in the party such as Edvard Beneš and Milada Horáková . The atheist Beneš was elected President in 1935 on Masaryk's recommendation.

The ČSL was a Moravian-Silesian Christian Social Party that was Catholic-Conservative and was founded in 1918. The party was a loyal supporter of the Christian faith and a strong opponent of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church . Since 1922 it has been led by the Catholic priest Jan Šrámek .

The ČSND was founded after the First World War , it sympathized with the Young Czechs and with other right-wing and centrist parties. Ideologically it was as radical as a typical national and economic liberal party. It was headed by Karel Kramář and later Alois Rasin .

Slovak parties

German parties

The DSAP (Social Democratic German Workers), which received almost 590,000 votes in the first parliamentary elections, which received more than 43.5% in Germany and 11.1% of the votes of all Czechoslovak votes and 31 seats. The party became the third largest player in the country. Although this party continued to take a negative stance towards the Czechoslovak state with its minority concept in order to avoid a constitutional crisis, it enabled the formation of the first government. Like the Czech Social Democrats, it suffered from a split in the party and from losing the race for party leadership. In the second parliamentary elections in 1925, she only achieved an election result of 6% or 17 seats.

The BDL was an important activist for German farmers in Czechoslovakia. She was part of the Czechoslovak government in several coalitions. The most important representative was Franz Spina . The party disappeared when it joined the Sudeten German Party in March 1938.

The DCV was another German party in the First Republic. It was a Catholic-dominated party and also part of the Czechoslovak government in several coalitions. The most important representative was Robert Mayr-Harting . It was dissolved in 1938 under pressure from the SdP.

The SdP was a far-right-nationalist party that emerged in October 1933 under Konrad Heinlein. In elections in 1935, it received the largest share of the votes of all party candidates. In the years 1937/38 a strong nationalism developed in the party. On Hitler's instructions, it caused the Sudeten crisis and later the Munich Agreement .

Jewish parties

  • Association of Jewish farmers in Carpathian Ukraine

The Association of Jewish Farmers in Carpathian Ukraine was one of the Jewish-dominated interest groups and political parties in Carpathian Ukraine. It mainly represented Jewish agrarians in the region.

  • Jewish economic party

The Jewish Economic Party was a conservative political party that campaigned for an even distribution of the economy in the First Republic and was mainly active in Slovakia and Carpathian Ukraine. She won a seat in the parliamentary elections of 1925.

  • Jewish civil party of Carpathian Ukraine

The Jewish Civil Party was a party active in Carpathian Ukraine that campaigned for the civilian population of the region and strived for the ideology of Zionism.

  • Jewish Republican Party

The Jewish Republican Party was a right-wing conservative party in Carpathian Ukraine that formed an alliance with the Association of Jewish Peasants in Carpathian Ukraine in the provincial elections in 1928 and 1935.

  • Jewish Conservative Party

The Jewish Conservative Party was a party in Carpathian Ukraine. She ideologically persecuted the ultra-orthodox movement and fought against Zionism and secularism .

  • Jewish People's Party (Carpathian Ukraine)

The Jewish People's Party was a Jewish political party with a Zionist orientation in Carpathian Ukraine. In the provincial elections of 1924 she achieved electoral success with the Ukrainian population.

  • Jewish Party of Czechoslovakia

It was founded in 1919 by the Jewish National Council of Czechoslovakia (Národní rada židovská) in Prague. It was the strongest Jewish political party in the First Republic. Czechoslovak, Ukrainian, German, Hungarian and Polish Jews from the country were represented in the party. The party had a Zionist political program and succeeded in influencing the constitution to such an extent that the Jews were officially regarded as citizens with equal rights and were confirmed as a national minority.

With an electoral alliance with parties from the Polish minority, two candidates (Julius Reisz and Ludvík Singer ) were accepted into parliament. After Singer's death, Angelo Goldstein followed him in the parliamentary elections of 1929. In addition to Goldstein, Chaim Kugel came to parliament as the third representative of the party. In the 1935 elections, the party triumphed and received 370,000 Jewish votes.

Hungarian parties

  • Hungarian SPD

The Hungarian SPD was a social democratic party in Slovakia. It was founded in 1919 by social democrats from ethnic minorities. The party had a German and a Hungarian representation. In the parliamentary elections of 1920, the party won four seats.

The leaders of the party were Sam Mayer , Gyula Nagy (between 1919 and 1922), Géza Borovszky (from 1922) and Jószef Földessy . On January 1, 1927, the party was dissolved.

  • Hungarian National Party

The MNP was founded in Komárno in February 1920 as a party of small farmers. On June 21, 1936, the party merged with the Christian Social Party, another large Hungarian party. The main aim of the party was initially to obtain autonomy for the Hungarian parts of Slovakia. This attitude later changed and the party advocated a revision of the Trianon Treaty . In the economic field, the party advocated the free market and state support for small farmers, and farmers were encouraged by it.

  • Christian Social Party

The OKSZP was the main political party of the Magyar ethnic minority in the First Republic. It was founded in Košice on November 23, 1919 through a merger of the Catholic associations from Bratislava and Košice . The first party conference took place in March 1920 in Bratislava. The two main goals were, on the one hand, the implementation of Slovak autonomy and the defense of Christian ideology against communism . The first party leadership was Lajos Körmendy-Ékes , a large landowner from Košice. In the 1925 parliamentary elections, the party received 17,285 votes, not enough for a parliamentary seat. On June 21, 1936, the party merged with the Hungarian National Party.

Polish parties

Front page of Robotnik Śląski (Silesian Workers) on January 8, 1924

The PSL was founded in autumn 1922 on the basis of the Polish middle class. The chairman of the party was the doctor Jan Buzek . Other prominent party activists were pastor Józef Berger and journalist Jarosław Waleczko . In the parliamentary elections of 1929, Buzek was elected Member of Parliament. He joined the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Group. The party published the weekly Cieszyn Czeski and Prawo ludu .

  • Polish Socialist Workers Party

The PSPR was founded in February 1921 on the basis of Polish workers. The party was actively involved in trade union struggles. The chairman of the party was Emanuel Chobot . Other prominent members of the party were Antoni Steffek and Wiktor Sembol . The party worked closely with and received financial aid from the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party. The party also published the newspaper Robotnik Śląski . In September 1921, the Stalinist half split off and joined the KSČ. In the parliamentary elections of 1929 and 1935, the party triumphed with its electoral bloc and alliance with larger parties among the Polish minority. The party was a member of the Labor Socialist International between 1923 and 1938.

Ruthenian parties

  • Autonomous Agricultural Union

The АЗС was a political party in Czechoslovakia that fought for the autonomy of Carpathian Ukraine. The party was called the Carpathian Peasants Party and published Russkij vestnik . The party was represented in the Czechoslovak parliament by Ivan Kurtyak . The party was one of the prominent Ruthenian parties in Czechoslovakia, wavering between Hungarian and Czechoslovak parties. The party lost its seat in the parliamentary elections of 1935.

  • Carpathian-Russian Party of Workers and Smallholders

The party was founded in 1919 and had a "Greater Russian" orientation. The party was elected to parliament in 1924 under the leadership of Andrey Gagatko. The party had an electoral alliance with the Czechoslovak socialists in the 1924, 1925 and 1935 elections. The party advocates the separation of church and state.

  • Russian National Autonomous Party

The Russian National Autonomous Party was founded by Stepan Fencik . Fencik was elected to parliament in the parliamentary elections of 1935. The party publishes Nash Put ("Our Way"). The party fought for the autonomy of Carpathian Ukraine. Politically, she was anti-Semitic and right-wing. In the programmatic declarations she called for the recognition of the Russian national minority.

  • Ruthenian Peasant Party

Ruthenian Peasant Party was founded in 1920. The most prominent figure in the party was Avgustyn Volozhyn . The party published the weekly Svoboda . In 1923 the party changed its name to Christian People's Party ( Christijansko-narodna partija ). In 1924 the party merged with the Czechoslovak People's Party.

Constitution of the First Czechoslovak Republic from 1920

Title page of the book edition of the Constitution of the First Republic

After the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1918, determined by the treaties, was repealed at the end of 1919, the state established itself as a republic and democracy with the promulgation of the Constitution of 1920. This constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on February 29, 1920, replacing the provisional one Constitution of November 13, 1918.

The constitution was established after the constitutions of the Western models. The most notable influences were those of the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. The government system of the established constitution made the First Republic the most western-oriented democracy of all central and eastern European states in the interwar period. The constitution not only provided for a parliament, but also a free elected president and his cabinet and an independent judiciary .

Form of government

The First Republic was proclaimed in both constitutions of 1918 and 1920 as a republic that was supposed to be a republican democracy. In contrast to Poland, the young state had retained the reputation of a republican democracy and did not fall victim to a dictatorship until 1939.

Official name of the republic

Its official state name was from 1918 to 1938 the Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR, initially RČS); Until 1920 the short form Czecho-Slovakia existed , but the Carpathian Ukraine was dissatisfied with the country name and their representatives campaigned for an appropriate name until 1920, with the official name Czechoslovak Republic, however, the Carpathian Ukraine was ultimately also satisfied.


State symbols


The republic long considered which flag the new state should have. Various forms of the traditional white and red Bohemian flag have been used tentatively since 1918 . In 1918 it was declared the flag of Czechoslovakia. The re-established Poland, however, carried almost the same flag. The only difference between the two flags was the aspect ratio of 5: 8 instead of 2: 3. Two years later, on March 30, 1920, a blue isosceles triangle for Slovakia was added to the left edge of the flag . The blue comes from the Slovak flag. According to other sources, the blue color is taken from the coat of arms of Moravia . The flag was preserved despite the fall of the First Republic.

coat of arms

Official coat of arms of the First Republic

After the dissolution of Austria-Hungary and after provisional arrangements in the first two years of the republic, three coats of arms were constructed in the constitution of February 29, 1920, whereby the great coat of arms was officially the sole coat of arms of the First Czechoslovak Republic and only in 1945 by the coat of arms of the third Republic was replaced. As with the flag, the disputes continued and were the subject of the autonomous provinces in the Second Republic.


Czechoslovak generals with Masaryk 1935
Tanks of the Czechoslovak Army during the 1938 mobilization

The First Republic had an army that consisted of around 200,000 soldiers (in 17 infantry divisions and 4 fast divisions) and an additional 50,000 reservists.

Due to the high budget, the units were well equipped and well trained. The high command was particularly respected in Yugoslavia and thus formed an alliance with Romania and Yugoslavia . The defense plans were initially secured by the Czechoslovak Wall . The defense budget was not limited, was not burdened by the in-house manufacture of weapons and allowed a great deal of leeway in other military aspects. Even before the Munich Agreement, the Czechoslovak Army was mobilized during the Sudeten crisis .

After the Munich Agreement, Hitler got a large part of the wall and was able to take the almost defenseless Czechoslovak state without any problems.


The new nation had a population of over 14.8 million. 70 to 80% of the entire industry of the collapsed Austro-Hungarian Empire remained in the new state, including the porcelain and glass industry and sugar factories, more than 40% of all distilleries and breweries, the armaments industry, locomotives , cars and machines , and the chemical industry in northern Bohemia . 17% of the Hungarian industry that the Kingdom built up in Slovakia during the late 19th century also belonged to the republic. Czechoslovakia was the tenth most industrialized state in the world and from 1920 to 1935 even the ninth richest state in the world.

The Czech countries were industrialized far more than Slovakia. In Bohemia , Moravia and Silesia , 39% of the state's population was employed in industry and 31% in agriculture. Most of the light and heavy industries were in the Sudetenland and were mostly controlled by Germans or their banks. Czechs made up only 20 to 30% of the total industry. In Slovakia only 17.1% of the population were employed in industry, whereas 60.4% were employed in agriculture and forestry. Only 5% of the total industry in Slovakia was in Slovak hands. The entire Carpathian Ukraine was essentially without industry and lived only from tourism and timber transport.

In agriculture, after the founding of the state, a reform program was introduced to remedy the unequal distribution of the economy. The world economic crisis also hit Czechoslovakia from 1929 to 1933. The number of unemployed was around one million, with industry falling by 40.4%.


One thousand Czechoslovak crowns 1932

After the emergence of Czechoslovakia, a new currency system had to be created quickly, which differed from the inflation-prone currencies of the other newly formed countries. For the time being, however, the banknotes and coins of the Austro-Hungarian bank were still valid on the territory of the young state.

Such a currency reform took place with which the Czechoslovak crown was created ( Československá koruna , Kč / later Kčs). The first banknotes came into circulation in the same year, followed by the first own coins in 1922, which replaced the previously valid Austro-Hungarian base denominations. The old gold and silver crowns had practically disappeared from circulation since the war.

The kroon currency was subject to several reforms and changes in the further course. So was z. B. the gold parity by law of November 7, 1929 set at 44.85 mg per 1 Kč in commercial trade (“gold core currency”). In the period from 1923 to around 1929, the value of the krona was relatively stable, fluctuating around an average of 15.36 to 16.37 Swiss francs per 100 kroner. The exchange rate against the Reichsmark was 0.85 in 1932.


In 1929, 35% of the population worked in agriculture . Due to the strong industrialization there was a decline of over 20% in Czechoslovak agriculture. There were also several waves of nationalization of farms and farms. Agriculture was particularly dominant in Slovakia and Carpathian Ukraine .


The Czechoslovak industry quickly began to develop. Modern handwork, mechanical engineering and new technologies replace the old system of Austria-Hungary. One of the most important representatives of the industry of that time was Tomáš Baťa , who was able to create work for thousands of workers. In 1924 industrial production in the state peaked. The textile, glass and shoe industries were each the most modern industries in the world. In addition, the Czechoslovak armaments industry was well developed. With the completion of the electrification of Czechoslovakia, the electrical energy supply boomed. In 1928 there were only 38,000 unemployed in Czechoslovakia, less than 1% of the working population. In terms of industrial production, the First Republic was tenth in the world.


ČSD advertising poster for the Prague – Bratislava route

The First Czechoslovak Republic was a popular travel destination between the 1920s and 1930. Many tourists spent their vacation in Prague. The most visited historical country was Bohemia, thanks to the capital Prague. The many landmarks of Prague, such as Prague Castle or the Old Town Square, were also popular destinations for numerous tourists. With up to eight million tourists annually, the country alone generated sales of around 900 million crowns.


The two main west-east connections by road proposed in 1935

The infrastructure, previously aimed at Austria and Hungary, was poorly connected. At first there was no direct rail connection from Bohemia to the Carpathian Ukraine, as this formerly belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary and was only connected to Slovakia. The new railway lines changed this: u. a. two main railway lines were created in the previously isolated Carpathian Ukraine. These distributed wood and other raw materials from Carpathian Ukraine throughout the country and were over 1,800 km long.

Great Depression

Unemployed people sleep in a brick factory in Prague during the Great Depression, around 1933

The independent Czechoslovak Republic was economically the most powerful successor state to Austria-Hungary. While the Bohemian countries had reached a high level of industrialization before the war, Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine had significantly underdeveloped economies. In 1924 industrial production reached the pre-war level again and exceeded this by 41% in 1929.

When the Great Depression hit Czechoslovakia in 1931, the economy contracted sharply and many companies went bankrupt. Numerous workers and artisans became unemployed, and some people suffered from malnutrition. The crisis began to worsen in 1931 and culminated in Czechoslovakia in 1933 when there were 1.3 million unemployed. But even while the crisis was waning, there was no renewed economic upturn in Czechoslovakia until 1936. The upswing did not come until 1936, which became even stronger in 1937. The main driving force behind the economy was the chemical, metal, textile and paper industries, which had returned to their pre-crisis level. The economy as a whole, which had shrunk by 38%, grew again by 1938. Small businesses that had previously gone bankrupt could be rebuilt and run again.

The main reason for the slow development of the economy during the crisis was the deterioration in external relations as there was no economic support from there.

Decline in industrial production at the height of the crisis
country decline
United States - 46.8%
Poland - 46.6%
Canada - 42.4%
German Empire - 41.8%
Czechoslovakia - 40.4%
Netherlands - 37.4%
Italy - 33.0%
France - 31.3%
Belgium - 30.6%
Argentina - 17.0%
Denmark - 16.5%
Great Britain - 16.2%
Sweden - 10.3%
Japan - 8.5%
Brazil - 7.0%


Like Liechtenstein, Czechoslovakia remained debt-free in the interwar period and instead lent large sums to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Romania . When the Great Depression hit the First Republic hard in 1931, one was dependent on what was lent and began to put pressure first on Yugoslavia and then on Romania. When these could not pay their debts, Czechoslovakia set up a trade barrier and greatly reduced exports. As a result, foreign policy relations deteriorated and the hoped-for intervention by the former allies did not occur in the First Vienna Arbitration .

Aftermath and honors

The large coat of arms of Czechoslovakia in St. Vitus Cathedral is still a source of controversy between the former three parts of the First Republic.

In the first years after the end of Czechoslovakia, the successor states saw their common history in the First Czechoslovak Republic primarily in terms of prosperity and democracy. After four decades of communist dictatorship, these early achievements were rated even more positively. These included the large common economic area, the free movement of persons, civil rights and the strong democracy, in which the right to vote for women was introduced. The railway networks that were built in the 1920s are still in use, and the railway connection between the Czech Republic , Slovakia and the Carpathian Ukraine still exists today .

The First Republic also left a rich cultural and scientific legacy. Observers tend to point to similar mentalities, cuisines, lifestyles, and cultures in the previous five historical lands, but such observations are occasionally mixed with subjective nostalgia. In the meantime, there is again a particularly intensified cooperation between the Czech Republic and Slovakia within the European Union .

After 1948 there were a number of nationalist associations and parties in Carpathian Ukraine calling for the Carpathian Ukraine to be reintegrated into Czechoslovakia.

After 1945

Part of the restoration was the regaining of the Carpathian Ukraine (1945-1948)

After the liberation and the reestablishment of democracy in the form of the Third Czechoslovak Republic , President Edvard Beneš , who had returned from exile, pursued a policy of revision together with then Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk , with the aim of restoring democracy and the economy as in the First Republic. However, these steps were partially hindered by the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) and overshadowed by the popular motto "Bridge between East and West". After the February revolution , this form of politics was no longer sought.


The First Czechoslovak Republic quickly expanded its higher education system. New universities were added to the existing universities in the big cities, and a framework law for universities was passed in 1919. In 1921, a quarter of the population was illiterate , although the distribution differed greatly: in the formerly Hungarian East, i.e. the Carpathian Ukraine, this was around 60–65%, in the Czech part of Bohemia only 0.75%. In Slovakia, compulsory schooling was also introduced in 1919 , which increased the number of teachers and pupils by two thirds within four years.

Primary schools were mainly represented in the form of elementary and middle schools. There were also central schools, then a grammar school in the classic (old-language) form or a real grammar school . Other schools were: business, agricultural and industrial schools.

In addition to middle and higher schools, a wide variety of higher vocational schools and universities were represented. There was a State School of Applied Arts in Prague, State Conservatories and Pedagogical Academies in Prague (in Czech and German), Brno and Bratislava, and a School of Social Sciences in Prague. The State Archives were kept in some Prague schools and in State School Libraries in Prague.

In Carpathian Ukraine

In Carpathian Ukraine, around 60–65% of the population was illiterate and there were only around 250 schools. This changed with the annexation to Czechoslovakia. The school system was expanded there even more than in Slovakia and the level of education improved.

In Slovakia

In Slovakia, the level of education differed extremely according to ethnicity. It was highest among the Magyars, who had access to a school system developed by the Roman Catholic Church during the Austrian period. The Slovaks, on the other hand, were 35% illiterate and brought up the rear.

In Czech Republic

In 1918 the Czech Republic already had a well-developed school system. Over 90% of the children attended a state or primary school. The illiteracy rate was below 0.75%. After the war, middle school education (secondary schools and grammar schools) was improved for the Czechs, on the one hand in which German-speaking schools in some parts of the country switched to the Czech language of instruction, on the other hand there were also numerous start-ups that were often funded by the state.

The Technical University of Příbram


School funding

The Czechoslovak state lacked neither financial resources nor political will; Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk wanted to improve the level of education of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy . There was also interest in promoting the Ukrainians . This, in turn, was based on the new Czechoslovak schools, because the Ukrainians were viewed as equal citizens and did not want to be exposed to the same discrimination as before 1919.

There was progress in the interwar period, especially in Slovakia and the Czech Republic . In Bohemia, on the other hand, the Czechoslovak state founded secular schools in order to ensure the supremacy of Czechoslovak democracy in education. In 1935 the state budget for the education of around 3 million children totaled 1.5 billion Czechoslovak crowns .

Cultural heyday in the First Republic

Since the national birth in 1918, the culture and nationalism of the young republic grew to unimaginable heights and had an impact on world literature as well as art and theater . The so-called Czechoslovakism, which held the system together and created the basis, continued uninterrupted until 1938 and is still perceived positively today.


Ice hockey match between the Czech Republic and Germany during the 1938 Ice Hockey World Championship

The Czechoslovak national soccer team was highly regarded with four appearances at the soccer World Cup in 1934 and took second place for the First Republic.

In the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Czechoslovakia took part with 163 participants. She won three gold and five silver medals.

The 12th Ice Hockey World Championship and the 23rd Ice Hockey European Championship took place in Prague from February 11th to 20th, 1938. The competition mode was changed again compared to the previous year. 14 teams took part in this World Cup. The ČSR ice hockey team took third place and won bronze .


After the establishment of the ČSR, Czechoslovakism became a state doctrine, which was enshrined in the constitution in 1920. Without Czechoslovakism, there would not have been a state nation in the Czech Republic that was so predominant. For the Slovaks , the merger with the Czechs created space for emancipation as an independent people, which was threatened by complete Magyarization before the war . While the recognition of Czechoslovakism was a matter of course among Czechs, the majority of Slovaks, conscious of the Slovakian independence efforts that went back to the first half of the 19th century, retained a view of Slovakia as an independent entity. In addition, the Czech-Slovak treaties that paved the way for the founding of the state were used by Slovak autonomists, especially from the Hlinka party , to undermine Czechoslovakism - according to the Pittsburgh Agreement , Slovakia should be granted autonomy. The Czech-Slovak state, with its officially Czechoslovakian doctrine, caused an aversion to this very doctrine in Slovakia. Although some problems arose with Czechoslovakism, the democratic ideal survived the Sudeten crisis , after the Munich Conference Czechoslovakism was lost to the ailing population.

See also

Portal: Czechoslovakia  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Czechoslovakia


  • Zdeněk Beneš (ed.): Understanding history. The Development of German-Czech Relations in the Bohemian Lands 1848–1948. Gallery ua, Prague 2002, ISBN 80-86010-66-X .
  • Kazimierz Grzybowski: Continuity of Law in Eastern Europe. In: The American Journal of Comparative Law. Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter 1957, ISSN  0002-919X , pp. 47-78, digitized .
  • Mary Heimann: Czechoslovakia. The state that failed. Yale University Press, New Haven et al. 2009, ISBN 978-0-300-14147-4 .
  • Adolf H. Hermann: A History of the Czechs. Allen Lane, London 1975, ISBN 0-7139-0486-0 .
  • Jörg K. Hoensch : History of Czechoslovakia. 3rd, improved and expanded edition, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1992, ISBN 3-17-011725-4 .
  • Josef Kalvoda: The Genesis of Czechoslovakia (=  East European Monographs. Vol. 209). Columbia University Press, New York NY 1986, ISBN 0-88033-106-2 .
  • Zdeněk Kárník : Malé Dejiny Československé (1867–1939). Dokořán, Praha 2008, ISBN 978-80-7363-146-8 .
  • Carol Skalnick Leff: National Conflict in Czechoslovakia. The Making and Remaking of a State, 1918-1987. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 1988, ISBN 0-691-07768-1 .
  • Richard Lein: Duty or High Treason? The Czech soldiers of Austria-Hungary in the First World War Lit, Münster et al. 2011, ISBN 978-3-643-50158-5 (=  Europa Orientalis. Volume 9, also dissertation at the University of Vienna 2009 under the title: The military behavior of the Czechs in the First World War ).
  • František Moravec : Spy Jemuž nevěřili. 3rd edition, Academia, Prague 2002, ISBN 80-200-1006-8 .
  • Věra Olivová : Dějiny první republiky. Karolinum, Prague 2000, ISBN 80-7184-791-7 .
  • Andrea Orzoff: Battle for the Castle. The Myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914–1948. Oxford University Press, New York NY et al. 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-536781-2 .
  • Ferdinand Peroutka : Budování státu. 4 (in 2) volumes. 4th edition, reprint of the 3rd edition. Lidové Noviny, Praha 2003, ISBN 80-200-1121-8 .
  • Bernd Rill: Bohemia and Moravia. History in the heart of Central Europe. 2 volumes, Katz, Gernsbach 2006, ISBN 3-938047-17-8 .
  • Robert W. Seton-Watson: A History of the Czechs and Slovaks. Hutchinson, London et al. 1943.
  • H. Gordon Skilling: The Czechoslovak Constitutional System: The Soviet Impact. In: Political Science Quarterly. Vol. 67, No. 2, June 1952, ISSN  0032-3195 , pp. 198-224, digitized .
  • Norman Stone , Eduard Strouhal (Ed.): Czechoslovakia. Crossroads and crises. 1918-88. Macmillan et al., Basingstoke 1989, ISBN 0-333-48507-6 .
  • Eduard Taborsky: Czechoslovakia's Experience with PR In: Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law. Series 3, Vol. 26, No. 3/4, 1944, ZDB -ID 220671-7 , pp. 49-51, digitized .
  • Spencer C. Tucker , Priscilla Mary Roberts (Eds.): Encyclopedia of World War II. A political, social, and military history. Five volumes. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara CA et al. 2005, ISBN 1-57607-999-6 .
  • Velké dějiny zemí Koruny české. Volume 13: Antonín Klimek : 1918–1929. Paseka, Prague et al. 2000, ISBN 80-7185-328-3 .
  • Velké dějiny zemí Koruny české. Volume 14: Antonín Klimek, Petr Hofman: 1929–1938. Paseka, Prague et al. 2002, ISBN 80-7185-425-5 .
  • Stanisław Zahradnik, Marek Ryczkowski: Korzenie Zaolzia. Polska Agencja Informacyjna et al., Warszawa et al. 1992, OCLC 177389723 ( roots of the Olsa region , Polish ).

Web links

Commons : First Czechoslovak Republic  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Constitutional charter of the Czechoslovak Republic of February 29, 1920 ( Memento of the original of March 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , on: @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Sources of the census results : Československá republika - obyvatelstvo. In: Ottův slovník naučný nové doby (early 1930s) ( Memento of the original from February 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. and @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Slovenský náučný slovník, I. zväzok, Bratislava-Český Těšín, 1932
  4. ^ The religionless Czech Republic. Retrieved November 17, 2019 .
  5. a b From the history of the Jewish communities in the German-speaking area: Prague. Retrieved November 17, 2019 .
  6. .
  7. Milan Majtán: názvy obcí Slovenskej Republiky , Bratislava 1998th
  8. ( Memento of the original from December 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. a b “Prager Tagblatt”, No. 116 on May 18, 1935, Czechoslovak parliamentary election on May 19, 1935
  10. Alena Mípiková and Dieter Segert, Republic under pressure
  13. Christina Romer: Great Depression. (PDF; 164 kB) December 20, 2003.