Sunday, September 23, 2018

First Czechoslovak Republic

Following the end of WWI, and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia declared independence in 1918.  The First Czechoslovak Republic, První československá republika, lasted from 1918 to 1938.

Czechoslovakia was made up of Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, Slovakia, and Subcarpathian Ruthenia.  It had a population of more than 13,5 million people and the co-official languages were Czech and Slovak.

The country started off on the right foot as one of the world's 10 most industrialised countries.  It inherited about 80% of all of the former empire's industry, including the porcelain, glass, and sugar refineries.  It also had 40% of all of the distilleries and breweries, the chemical industry in northern Bohemia and the Škoda Works in Plzeň that produced armaments, trains, and automobiles.

Czechoslovakia was a parliamentary republic.  Independence was declared in 1918 and the country's constitution was adopted in 1920.  Tomáš Masaryk was the country's founding father and served as the first president until 1935.  Edvard Beneš then served as president until 1938.

From 1933, Czechoslovakia was Central Europe's only functioning democracy.  The First Republic ended following the 1938 Munich Agreement when Nazi Germany occupied the Sudetenland.
What was left of Czechoslovakia became the Second Czechoslovak Republic.  This lasted from 30 September 1938 to 15 March 1939.  From 1939, Slovakia broke off as a Nazi puppet state and the rest of western part became the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

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