Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993. From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc with a command economy, its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949 and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of Slovakia.
Form of state1918 – 1938: A democratic republic championed by Tomáš Masaryk. 1938 – 1939: After annexation of Sudetenland by Nazi Germany in 1938, the region turned into a state with loosened connections among the Czech and Ruthenian parts. A large strip of southern Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary, the Zaolzie region was annexed by Poland. 1939 – 1945: The region was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic. A government-in-exile continued to exist in London, supported by the United Kingdom, United States and their Allies. Czechoslovakia adhered to the Declaration by United Nations and was a founding member of the United Nations. 1946 – 1948: The country was governed by a coalition government with communist ministers, including the prime minister and the minister of interior. Carpathian Ruthenia was ceded to the Soviet Union. 1948 – 1989: The country became a socialist state under Soviet domination with a centrally planned economy. In 1960, the country became a socialist republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
It was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. 1969 – 1990: The federal republic consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic. 1990 – 1992: Following the Velvet Revolution, the state was renamed the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, consisting of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, reverted to a democratic republic. NeighboursAustria 1918 – 1938, 1945 – 1992 Germany Hungary Poland Romania 1918 – 1938 Soviet Union 1945 – 1991 Ukraine 1991 – 1992 TopographyThe country was of irregular terrain; the western area was part of the north-central European uplands. The eastern region was composed of the northern reaches of the Carpathian Mountains and lands of the Danube River basin. ClimateThe weather is mild summers. Influenced by the Atlantic Ocean from the west, Baltic Sea from the north, Mediterranean Sea from the south. There is no continental weather. 1918–1920: Republic of Czechoslovakia /Czecho-Slovak State, or Czecho-Slovakia/Czechoslovakia 1920–1938: Czechoslovak Republic, or Czechoslovakia 1938–1939: Czecho-Slovak Republic, or Czecho-Slovakia 1945–1960: Czechoslovak Republic, or Czechoslovakia 1960–1990: Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, or Czechoslovakia April 1990: Czechoslovak Federative Republic and Czecho-Slovak Federative Republic The country subsequently became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, or Československo and Česko-Slovensko.
The area was long a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire collapsed at the end of World War I. The new state was founded by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935, he was succeeded by his close ally, Edvard Beneš. The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, when philologists and educators, influenced by Romanticism, promoted the Czech language and pride in the Czech people. Nationalism became a mass movement in the second half of the 19th century. Taking advantage of the limited opportunities for participation in political life under Austrian rule, Czech leaders such as historian František Palacký founded many patriotic, self-help organizations which provided a chance for many of their compatriots to participate in communal life prior to independence. Palacký supported Austro-Slavism and worked for a reorganized and federal Austrian Empire, which would protect the Slavic speaking peoples of Central Europe against Russian and German threats.
An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to the Reichsrat, first from 1891 to 1893 for the Young Czech Party, again from 1907 to 1914 for the Czech Realist Party, which he had founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář and Josef Kaizl. During World War I small numbers of Czechs, the Czechoslovak Legions, fought with the Allies in France and Italy, while large numbers deserted to Russia in exchange for its support for the independence of Czechoslovakia from the Austrian Empire. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in a union with Slovakia. With Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, Masaryk visited several Western countries and won support from influential publicists. Bohemia and Moravi