Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Czech and Slovak Federative Republic

Today is 17 November and it is a public holiday here, the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, to commemorate the start of the Velvet Revolution that eventually brought down the communist government.

After the Velvet Revolution, Czechoslovakia actually became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic but this didn't last long and then the Velvet Divorce resulted in independent Czech and Slovak Republics.  Here's a bit of a history recap...

Following the end of WWI, and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia declared independence in 1918.  The First Republic lasted from 1918 to 1938.  In 1920, the country's official name was changed to the Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR).

The First Republic ended when Nazi Germany occupied the Sudetenland.  What was left of Czechoslovakia became the Second Republic but that only lasted from 30 September 1938 to 15 March 1939 when Hitler invaded what was left of the country.  The western part became the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia while Slovakia broke off as an "independent" Nazi puppet state.

At the end of the war, Czechoslovakia was again an independent country.  The Third Czechoslovak Republic lasted from 1945 until the 1948 communist coup.

In 1960, the communists changed the name of the country to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (ČSSR).  After the Velvet Revolution, President Havel said that "socialist" would be dropped from the country's name.  So the country should have again been called the Czechoslovak Republic again, right?  Well some Slovak politicians argued that the name did not reflect Slovakia's equal status in the federal state.   

In April 1990, the country officially became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (ČSFR).  The ČSFR existed from 23 April 1990 until 31 December 1992.  This is when the Velvet Divorce took effect and on 1 January 1993, and we had the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

Here's a short animated video I found out on YouTube that gives some good insight in to the breakup of Czechoslovakia.

©History Matters

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