Monday, September 5, 2022

First Slovak Republic

The First Slovak Republic existed from 14 March 1939 until 4 April 1945.  As a result of the 1938 Munich Conference which resulted in Germany annexing the Sudetenland, other parts of Czechoslovakia were taken over by Poland and Hungary.

Jozef Tiso

On 13 March 1939, Monsignor Jozef Tiso was invited to Berlin by Adolf Hitler.  Tiso was told by Hitler that Nazi Germany would support an independent Slovakia.  If Slovakia didn't declare independence from the Second Czechoslovak Republic then Slovak land would be divided up between Hungary, Poland and the rest of Czechoslovakia.

On 14 March 1939, Slovakia declared independence.  The next day, Czechoslovakia was wiped off the map as Germany established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.  This was the first time in history that there was an independent Slovakia.

Fight for the nation and the state!

Under Czechoslovakia, Tito was the Slovak prime minister.  When Slovakia declared independence, he became president.  This independent Slovakia was a one-party state that was a Nazi puppet state.  Slovakia sent troops to participate in Germany's invasions of Poland in September 1939 and the Soviet Union in 1941.

The white, blue, red tricolour flag was the official flag of Slovakia during during the Second Czechoslovak Republic.  It became the official flag of the First Slovak Republic.  In 1969, it became the flag of Czechoslovakia's Slovak Socialist Republic and in 1990 it was the flag of the Slovak Republic during the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic.  What's interesting is that this is the flag of the Russian Federation.

The were 2,6 million people in Slovakia and 85% were Slovaks.  It was home to about 5% Germans, almost 3% Czechs, 2% Hungarians and just over 1% Jews.  Roughly 77% of the pre-war Jewish population was either killed directly or deported to Auschwitz.

Following an increase in anti-Nazi activity by Slovak partisans, German invaded Slovakia which triggered the Slovak National Uprising.  

In 1945, Slovak independence ended and it again became part of Czechoslovakia.  Tiso was arrested by the Americans in June 1945, who found him hiding out at a monastery in Bavaria.  He was extradited to Czechoslovakia in October 1945.  In 1947 he was found guilty by the National Court for "state treason, betrayal of the antifascist partisan insurrection and collaboration with Nazism."  On 18 April 1947, he was hanged in Bratislava.    

Slovakia became independent on 1 January 1993 following the Velvet Divorce.  Most Slovaks don't consider today's Slovakia to be a successor of the WW2-era state, but trace its lineage via the Czechoslovak government-in-exile.  Although there are some ultra-right wing nationalists that celebrate 14 March as Independence Day to commemorate the First Slovak Republic.

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