History of Czechoslovakia
With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of World War I, the independent country of Czechoslovakia was formed as a result of the critical intervention of U. S. President Woodrow Wilson, among others; the Czechs and Slovaks were not at the same level of economic and technological development, but the freedom and opportunity found in an independent Czechoslovakia enabled them to make strides toward overcoming these inequalities. However, the gap between cultures was never bridged, this discrepancy played a disruptive role throughout the seventy-five years of the union; the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 was the culmination of a struggle for ethnic identity and self-determination that had simmered within the multi-national empire ruled by the Austrian Habsburg family in the 19th century. The Czechs had lived in Bohemia since the 6th century, German immigrants had settled the Bohemian periphery since the 13th century. After 1526, Bohemia came under the control of the House of Habsburg as their scions first became the elected rulers of Bohemia the hereditary rulers of the country.
Following the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the Kingdom of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg monarchy as one of its three principal parts, alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. With the rise of nationalist political and cultural movements in the Czech lands and the Slovak lands, mounting ethnic tensions combined with repressive religious and ethnic policies pushed the cohesion of the multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled by the Habsburgs to breaking point. Subject peoples all over the Austro-Hungarian empire wanted to be free from the rule of the old aristocracy and the imperial family; this frustration was eased by the introduction of local ethnic representation and language rights, however the First World War put a stop to these reform efforts and caused the internal collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the liberation of subject peoples such as the Czechs and Slovaks. Although the Czechs and Slovaks speak languages that are similar, the political and social situation of the Czech and Slovak peoples was different at the end of the 19th century.
The reason was the differing attitude and position of their overlords – the Austrians in Bohemia and Moravia, the Hungarians in Slovakia – within Austria-Hungary. Bohemia was the most industrialized part of Austria and Slovakia was the most industrialized part of Hungary – however at different levels of development. Furthermore, the Hungarians were far more determined to assimilate the Slovaks than the Austrians were to assimilate the Czechs. Around the start of the 20th century, the idea of a "Czecho-Slovak" entity began to be advocated by some Czech and Slovak leaders after contacts between Czech and Slovak intellectuals intensified in the 1890s. Despite cultural differences, the Slovaks shared similar aspirations with the Czechs for independence from the Habsburg state. In 1917, during World War I, Tomáš Masaryk created the Czechoslovak National Council together with Edvard Beneš and Milan Štefánik. Masaryk in the United States, Štefánik in France, Beneš in France and Britain worked tirelessly to secure Allied recognition.
About 1.4 million Czech soldiers fought in World War I. More than 90,000 Czech and Slovak volunteers formed the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia and Italy, where they fought against the Central Powers and with White Russian forces against Bolshevik troops. At times they controlled much of the Trans-Siberian railway, they were indirectly involved in the shooting of the Russian tsar and his family in 1918, their goal was to win the support of the Allies for the independence of Czechoslovakia. They succeeded on all counts; when secret talks between the Allies and Austrian emperor Charles I collapsed, the Allies recognized, in the summer of 1918, the Czechoslovak National Council would be the kernel of the future Czechoslovak government. The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed in Prague on 28 October 1918 in Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, a physical setting associated with nationalist feeling; the Slovaks joined the state two days in the town of Martin. A temporary constitution was adopted, Tomáš Masaryk was declared president on 14 November.
The Treaty of St. Germain, signed in September 1919, formally recognized the new republic. Ruthenia was added to the Czech lands and Slovakia by the Treaty of Trianon in June 1920. There were various border conflicts between Poland and Czechoslovakia due to the anexion of Zaolzie region; the new state was characterized by problems with its ethnic diversity, the separate histories of the Czech and Slovak peoples and their differing religious and social traditions. The Germans and Magyars of Czechoslovakia agitated against the territorial settlements; the new republic saw the passage of a number of progressive reforms in areas such as housing, social security, workers’ rights. The new nation had a population of over 13.5 million and found itself in control of 70 to 80% of all the industry of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which gave it the status of one of the world's ten most industrialized countries. Still, the Czech lands were far more industrialized than Slovakia. Most light and heavy industry was located in the German-dominated Sudetenland and most industrial concerns there were controlled by Germans and German-owned banks.
Subcarpathian Ruthenia was without industry. In 1929, the gross dome
History of Czechoslovakia (1948–89)
From the Communist coup d'état in February 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Czechoslovakia was ruled by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The country was a member of the Warsaw Pact and of Comecon. During the era of Communist Party rule, thousands of Czechoslovaks faced political persecution for various offences, such as trying to emigrate across the Iron Curtain; the 1993 Act on Lawlessness of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It determined that the communist government was illegal and that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was a criminal organisation. On February 25, 1948, President Edvard Beneš gave in to the demands of Communist Prime Minister Klement Gottwald and appointed a cabinet dominated by Communists. While it was nominally still a coalition, the "non-Communists" in the cabinet were fellow travelers; this gave legal sanction to the KSČ coup, marked the onset of undisguised Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. On 9 May, the National Assembly, purged of dissidents, passed a new constitution.
It was not a Communist document. It reflected, the reality of Communist power through an addition that declared Czechoslovakia a people's republic — a preliminary step toward socialism and communism — ruled by the dictatorship of the proletariat, gave the Communist Party the leading role in the state. For these reasons, Beneš refused to sign the so-called Ninth-of-May Constitution. Nonetheless, elections were held on 30 May, voters were presented with a single list from the National Front, the former governing coalition, now a broad patriotic organisation under Communist control. Beneš resigned on 2 June, Gottwald became president 12 days later. In the next few years, bureaucratic centralism under the direction of KSČ leadership was introduced. So-called "dissident" elements were purged from all levels of society, including the Catholic Church; the ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism and socialist realism pervaded cultural and intellectual life. The entire education system was submitted to state control.
With the elimination of private ownership of means of production, a planned economy was introduced. Czechoslovakia became a satellite state of the Soviet Union; the attainment of Soviet-style "socialism" became the government's avowed policy. Although in theory Czechoslovakia remained a multiparty state, in actuality the Communists were in complete control. Political participation became subject to KSČ approval; the KSČ prescribed percentage representation for non-Marxist parties. The National Assembly, purged of dissidents, became a mere rubber stamp for KSČ programs. In 1953, an inner cabinet of the National Assembly, the Presidium, was created. Composed of KSČ leaders, the Presidium served to convey party policies through government channels. Regional and local committees were subordinated to the Ministry of Interior. Slovak autonomy was constrained. After consolidating power, Klement Gottwald began a series of mass purges against both political opponents and fellow communists, numbering in the tens of thousands.
Children from blacklisted families were denied access to good jobs and higher education, there was widespread emigration out of the country into West Germany and Austria, the educational system was reoriented to give opportunity to working class students. Although Gottwald sought a more independent line, a quick meeting with Stalin in 1948 convinced him otherwise and so he sought to impose the Soviet model on the country as as possible. Gottwald was if anything a victim of circumstance, constrained by fear of his Soviet masters, obliged to carry out their bidding. By 1951, Gottwald's health deteriorated and he was suffering from heart disease and syphilis in addition to alcoholism, he made few public appearances in his final year of life. Gottwald died on March 14, 1953 of an aortic aneurysm, a week after attending Stalin's funeral in Moscow, he was succeeded by Antonín Zápotocký as president and by Antonín Novotný as head of the KSČ. Novotný became president in 1957. Czechoslovak interests were subordinated to the interests of the Soviet Union.
Joseph Stalin became concerned about controlling and integrating the socialist bloc in the wake of Tito's challenge to his authority. Stalin's paranoia resulted in a campaign against "rootless cosmopolitans" which culminated in the conspiracy theory of the alleged Doctors' plot. In Czechoslovakia, the Stalinists accused their opponents of "conspiracy against the people's democratic order" and "high treason" in order to oust them from positions of power. Many Communists with an "international" background, i.e. those with a wartime connection with the West, veterans of the Spanish Civil War and Slovak "bourgeois nationalists", were arrested and executed in show trials. Most spectacular was the Slánský trial against KSČ first secretary Rudolf Slánský and thirteen other prominent Communist personalities in November and December 1952. Slánský and ten other defendants were executed; the KSČ rank-and-file membership 2.5 million in March 1948, began to be subjected to careful scrutiny. By 1960, KSČ membership had been reduced to 1.4 million.
The Ninth-of-May Constitution provided for the nationalization of all commercial and industrial enterprises having more than fifty e
History of Slovakia
This article discusses the history of the territory of Slovakia. Discovery of ancient tools made by the Clactonian technique near Nové Mesto nad Váhom attests that Slovakia's territory was inhabited in the Palaeolithic. Other prehistoric discoveries include the Middle Palaeolithic stone tools found near Bojnice, a Neanderthal discovery at a site near Gánovce; the Gravettian culture was present principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Ipeľ, Váh and as far as the city of Žilina, near the foot of the Vihorlat and Tribeč mountains, as well as in the Myjava Mountains. The best known artifact is the Venus of Moravany from Moravany nad Váhom. Neolithic habitation was found in Želiezovce and the Bukové hory massif, the Domica cave, at Nitriansky Hrádok. Bronze Age was marked by the Čakany and Velatice cultures, the Lusatian culture, followed by the Calenderberg culture and the Hallstatt culture; the Celts were the first population in the territory of present-day Slovakia who can be identified on the basis of written sources.
The first Celtic groups came from the West around 400 BC. Settlements of the La Tène culture indicate that the Celts colonized the lowlands along the river Danube and its tributaries; the local population was either subjected by the Celts or withdrew to the mountainous northern territory. New Celtic groups arrived from Northern Italy during the 2nd century BC; the Celts lived in tiny huts – 4 by 3 metres in size – which either formed small villages or were scattered across the countryside. Some of the small hill forts which were built in the 1st century BC developed into important local economic and administrative centers. For example, the hill fort at Zemplín was a center of iron-working. Coins from Bratislava bore inscriptions like Nonnos; the fort at Liptovská Mara was an important center of the cult of the bearers of the Púchov culture of the Northern Carpathians. Burebista, King of the Dacians, invaded the Middle Danube region and subjugated the majority of the local Celtic tribes around 60 BC.
Burebista's empire collapsed. Archaeological sites yielding painted ceramics and other artefacts of Dacian provenance suggest that Dacian groups settled among the local Celts in the region of the rivers Bodrog and Nitra; the spread of the "Púchov culture", associated with the Celtic Cotini, shows that the bearers of that culture started a northward expansion during the same period. The Romans and the Germanic tribes launched their first invasions against the territories along the Middle Danube in the last decade of the 1st century BC. Roman legions crossed the Danube near Bratislava under the command of Tiberius to fight against the Germanic Quadi in 6 AD, but the local tribes' rebellion in Pannonia forced the Romans to return. Taking advantage of internal strifes, the Romans settled a group of Quadi in the lowlands along the Danube between the rivers Morava and Váh in 21, making Vannius their king; the Germans lived in rectangular houses, rather than square ones, cremated their dead, placing the ashes in an urn.
Although the Danube formed the frontier between the Roman Empire and the "Barbaricum", the Romans built small outposts along the left bank of the Danube, for instance, at Iža and Devín. During the same period, the Germanic tribes were expanding to the north along the rivers Hron, Ipeľ and Nitra. Roman troops crossed the Danube several times during the Marcomannic Wars between 160 and 180. Emperor Marcus Aurelius accomplished the first chapter of his Meditations during a campaign against the Quadi in the region of the Hron River in 172; the "Miracle of the Rain" – a storm which saved an exhausted Roman army – occurred in the land north of the Danube in 173. Roman troops crossed the Danube for the last time in 374, during Emperor Valentinian I's campaign against the Quadi who had allied with the Sarmatians and invaded the Roman province of Pannonia. In the 4th century AD, the Roman Empire could no longer resist the attacks by the neighboring peoples; the empire's frontier started to collapse along the Danube in the 370s.
The development of the Hunnic Empire in the Eurasian Steppes forced large groups of Germanic peoples, including the Quadi and the Vandals, to leave their homelands by the Middle Danube and along the upper course of the river Tisza in the early 5th century. Their lands were occupied by the Heruli, Scirii and other Germanic peoples. However, the Carpathian Basin was dominated by the nomadic Huns from the early 5th century and the Germanic peoples became subjects to Attila the Hun. Disputes among Attila's sons caused the disintegration of his empire shortly after his death in 453; the Germanic peoples either left the Carpathian Basin. Warriors' graves from the next century yielded large number of swords, arrow heads and other weapons. Other archaeological finds, including a glass beaker from Zohor, shows that the local inhabitants had close contacts with the Frankish Empire and Scandinavia. Regarding the early history of Slavs, Slavic texts or a record written by a Slav dating from before the late 9th century are not known.
The foreign sources about Slavs are inconsistent. According to a scholarly theory, the first Slavic groups settled in the eastern region of present-day Slovakia in the 4th century; the 6th-century Byzantine historian Jordanes wrote that the funeral feast at Attila's burial was called strava. Scholars who identify that word as a Slavic expression say that Jordanes' report proves tha
Third Czechoslovak Republic
During World War II, Czechoslovakia disappeared from the map of Europe. The Third Czechoslovak Republic which emerged as a sovereign state was not only the result of the policies of the victorious Western allies, the French Fourth Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States, but an indication of the strength of the Czechoslovak ideal embodied in the First Czechoslovak Republic. However, at the conclusion of World War II, Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence, this circumstance dominated any plans or strategies for postwar reconstruction; the political and economic organisation of Czechoslovakia became a matter of negotiations between Edvard Beneš and Communist Party of Czechoslovakia exiles living in Moscow. In February 1948, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized full power in a coup d'état. Although the country's official name remained the Czechoslovak Republic until 1960, when it was changed to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, February 1948 is considered the end of the Third Republic.
The Third Republic came into being in April 1945. Its government, installed at Košice on 4 April and moved to Prague after its liberation on 10 May, was a National Front coalition in which three socialist parties—KSČ, Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, Czechoslovak National Social Party—predominated; the Slovak Popular Party was banned as collaborationist with the Nazis. Other conservative yet democratic parties, such as the Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants, were prevented from resuming activities in the postwar period. Certain acceptable nonsocialist parties were included in the coalition. Employing 61.2 percent of the industrial labour force—were nationalised. 14 October 1945 saw. Beneš had compromised with the KSČ to avoid a postwar coup. Beneš had negotiated the Soviet alliance, but at the same time he hoped to establish Czechoslovakia as a "bridge" between East and West, capable of maintaining contacts with both sides; the KSČ leader Klement Gottwald, professed commitment to a "gradualist" approach, that is, to a KSČ assumption of power by democratic means.
The popular enthusiasm evoked by the Soviet armies of liberation benefited the KSČ. Czechoslovaks, bitterly disappointed by the West at the Munich Agreement, responded favourably to both the KSČ and the Soviet alliance. Communists secured strong representation in the popularly elected national committees, the new organs of local administration; the KSČ centralised the trades union movement. The party worked to acquire a mass membership, including peasants and the petite bourgeoisie, as well as the proletariat. Between May 1945 and May 1946, KSČ membership grew from 27,000 to over 1.1 million. In the May 1946 election, the KSČ won in the Czech part of the country, while the anti-Communist Democratic Party won in Slovakia. In sum, the KSČ won a plurality of 38 percent of the vote at the Czechoslovak level. Beneš continued as president of the republic, Jan Masaryk, son of the revered founding father, continued as foreign minister. Gottwald became prime minister. Most important, although the communists held only a minority of portfolios, they were able to gain control over such key ministries as information, internal trade and interior.
Through these ministries, the communists were able to suppress noncommunist opposition, place party members in positions of power, create a solid basis for a takeover attempt. The year that followed was uneventful; the KSČ continued to proclaim its democratic orientation. The turning point came in the summer of 1947. In July, the Czechoslovak government, with KSČ approval, accepted an Anglo-French invitation to attend preliminary discussions of the Marshall Plan; the Soviet Union responded to the Czechoslovak move to continue the Western alliance: Stalin summoned Gottwald to Moscow. Upon his return to Prague, the KSČ reversed its decision. In subsequent months, the party demonstrated a significant radicalisation of its tactics; the KSČ argued that a reactionary coup was imminent, that immediate action was necessary to prevent it. Through media and police means, they intensified their activity. Announced by Gottwald at the KSČ Central Committee meeting in November 1947, news of the "reactionary plot" was disseminated throughout the country by the communist press.
From June of that year, after the outbreak of the 1947-1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine in November, Czechoslovakia began to sell arms to the Palestinian Jewish Haganah defense force. It was the only foreign state to do so; this policy, continued after the declaration of the State of Israel the following year, would play an important role in the victory of the Jewish state in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In January 1948, the communist-controlled Ministry of Interior proceeded to purge the Czechoslovak security forces, substituting noncommunists with communists; the KSČ began agitating for increased nationalisation and for a new land reform limiting landholdings to fifty hectares. A cabinet crisis precipitated the February coup. Backed by all non-communist parties, the National Social ministers said that the communists were using the Ministry of Interior's police and security forces to suppress non-communists, demanded a halt to this. Prime Minister Gottwald, however forestalled discussion of the
History of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
The First Czechoslovak Republic emerged from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in October 1918. The new state consisted of territories inhabited by Czechs and Slovaks, but included areas containing majority populations of other nationalities Germans and Ruthenians; the new state comprised the total of Bohemia whose borders did not coincide with the language border between German and Czech. Despite developing effective representative institutions alongside a successful economy, the deteriorating international economic situation in the 1930s gave rise to growing ethnic tensions; the dispute between the Czech and German populations, fanned by the rise of National Socialism in neighbouring Germany, resulted in the loss of territory under the terms of the Munich Agreement and subsequent events in the autumn of 1938, bringing about the end of the First Republic. Following the Pittsburgh Agreement of May 1918, the Czechoslovak declaration of independence was published by the Czechoslovak National Council, signed by Masaryk, Štefánik and Beneš on October 18, 1918 in Paris, proclaimed on October 28 in Prague.
Towards the end of the First World War which led to the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, several ethnic groups and territories with different historical and economic traditions were blended into new state structures. In the face of such obstacles, the creation of democracy in Czechoslovakia was indeed a triumph. Initial authority within Czechoslovakia was assumed by the newly created National Assembly on November 14, 1918; because territorial demarcations were uncertain and elections impossible, the provisional National Assembly was constituted on the basis of the 1911 elections to the Austrian parliament with the addition of 54 representatives from Slovakia. National minorities were not represented. Hungarians remained loyal to Hungary. On November 12, 1918, ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia declared the short-lived Republic of German Austria with the intent of unifying with Germany, relying on President Wilson's principle of self-determination; the National Assembly of Czechoslovakia elected Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as its first president, chose a provisional government headed by Karel Kramář, drafted a provisional constitution.
The Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919. The Czech delegation was led by Kramář and Beneš, premier and foreign minister of the Czechoslovak provisional government; the conference approved the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, to encompass the historic Bohemian Kingdom and Carpathian Ruthenia. The inclusion of Ruthenia provided a common frontier with Romania, an important ally against Hungary. In March 1919 there were reports that: Austria and Czechoslovakia had broken off diplomatic relations. Czechoslovakia's government in Prague alleged a conspiracy between Austria and Saxony to invade Czechoslovakia; the dispute was over possession of the German-speaking parts of Moravia. Czechoslovakia wanted to hold onto this area because of its many valuable mines. Czechoslovakia sent Czech troops into the German area to stop disorders, the Vienna press printed reports of Czech troops firing on and killing Germans in that area, including 15-20 in Kaaden, 3 in Eger, 2 in Karlsbad. During this, on about 1 March Herr Mayer, Austria's Minister of War, went to go to Eger and was arrested at Gratzen after crossing the border, but was allowed to continue to Eger.
In January 1920 Czechoslovakian army breaking prior agreements with Poland, crossed the demarcation line and by force of arms occupied the Zaolzie, where a 60% majority of the population was Polish, compared to 25% Czechs. After brief fights they made a truce on the power of which Czechoslovakia occupied areas to the west of Olza River; the Czech claim to Lusatia, part of the Bohemian Kingdom until the Thirty Years' War, was rejected. On September 10, 1919, Czechoslovakia signed the Minorities Treaty, placing its ethnic minorities under the protection of the League of Nations; the establishment of the Constitution of 1920 installed a parliamentary system and representative democracy with few constituents for each representative. This allowed a great variety of political parties to emerge, with no clear front runner or leading political entity. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected the country's first president in the 1920 election and his guidance helped to hold the country together. A coalition of five Czechoslovak parties, which became known as the "Pětka", constituted the backbone of the government and maintained stability.
Prime Minister Antonin Svehla led the Pětka for most of the 1920s and designed a pattern of coalition politics that survived until 1938. Masaryk was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, serving as President until December 14, 1935 when he resigned due to poor health, he was succeeded by Edvard Beneš. Beneš had served as Czechoslovak foreign minister from 1918 to 1935, created the system of alliances that determined the republic's international stance until 1938. A democratic statesman of Western orientation, Beneš relied on the League of Nations as guarantor of the post war status quo and the security of newly formed states, he negotiated the Little Entente in 1921 to counter Habsburg restoration. The leaders of Czechoslovakia needed to find solutions for the multi
The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen; the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services and innovation; the UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index, it ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic.
Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii"; the current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain.
The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people. The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas; when the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lac
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. Its area is about 40,000 km2, its population about 8,000,000. Silesia is located along the Oder River, it consists of Upper Silesia. The region is rich in mineral and natural resources, includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław; the biggest metropolitan area is the Upper Silesian metropolitan area, the centre of, Katowice. Parts of the Czech city of Ostrava fall within the borders of Silesia. Silesia's borders and national affiliation have changed over time, both when it was a hereditary possession of noble houses and after the rise of modern nation-states; the first known states to hold power there were those of Greater Moravia at the end of the 9th century and Bohemia early in the 10th century. In the 10th century, Silesia was incorporated into the early Polish state, after its division in the 12th century became a Piast duchy.
In the 14th century, it became a constituent part of the Bohemian Crown Lands under the Holy Roman Empire, which passed to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in 1526. Most of Silesia was conquered by Prussia in 1742 and transferred from Austria to Prussia in the Treaty of Berlin. Silesia became, as a province of Prussia, a part of the German Empire and the subsequent Weimar Republic; the varied history with changing aristocratic possessions resulted in an abundance of castles in Silesia in the Jelenia Góra valley. After World War I, the easternmost part of this region, i.e. an eastern strip of Upper Silesia, was awarded to Poland by the Entente Powers after insurrections by Poles and the Upper Silesian plebiscite. The remaining former Austrian parts of Silesia were partitioned to Czechoslovakia, forming part of Czechoslovakia's German-settled Sudetenland region, are today part of the Czech Republic. In 1945, after World War II, the bulk of Silesia was transferred, on demands of the Polish delegation, to Polish jurisdiction by the Potsdam Agreement of the victorious Allied Powers and became part of Poland.
The small Lusatian strip west of the Oder–Neisse line, which had belonged to Silesia since 1815, remained in Germany. The largest town and cultural centre of this region is Görlitz. Most inhabitants of Silesia today speak the national languages of their respective countries, while before the population shifts after 1945, the majority of Silesia's population spoke German; the population of Upper Silesia is native, while Lower Silesia was settled by a German-speaking population before 1945. An ongoing debate exists whether Silesian speech should be considered a dialect of Polish or a separate language. A Lower Silesian German dialect is used, although today it is extinct, it is used by expellees who relocated to the remaining parts of Germany, as well as by Germans who stayed in their Lower Silesian home. The names of Silesia in the different languages most share their etymology—Latin and English: Silesia; the names all relate to the name of a mountain in mid-southern Silesia. The mountain served as a cultic place.
Ślęża is listed as one of the numerous Pre-Indo-European topographic names in the region. According to some Polish Slavists, the name Ślęża or Ślęż is directly related to the Old Slavic words ślęg or śląg, which means dampness, moisture, or humidity, they disagree with the hypothesis of an origin for the name Śląsk from the name of the Silings tribe, an etymology preferred by some German authors. In the fourth century BC, Celts entered Silesia, settling around Mount Ślęża near modern Wrocław, Oława, Strzelin. Germanic Lugii tribes were first recorded within Silesia in the 1st century. Slavic peoples arrived in the region around the 7th century, by the early ninth century, their settlements had stabilized. Local Slavs started to erect boundary structures like the Silesia Walls; the eastern border of Silesian settlement was situated to the west of the Bytom, east from Racibórz and Cieszyn. East of this line dwelt a related Slav tribe, the Vistulans, their northern border was in the valley of the Barycz River, north of.
The first known states in Silesia were Bohemia. In the 10th century, the Polish ruler Mieszko I of the Piast dynasty incorporated Silesia into the Polish state. During the Fragmentation of Poland and the rest of the country were divided among many independent duchies ruled by various Silesian dukes. During this time, German cultural and ethnic influence increased as a result of immigration from German-speaking parts of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1178, parts of the Duchy of Kraków around Bytom, Oświęcim, Chrzanów, Siewierz were transferred to the Silesian Piasts, although their population was Vistulan and not of Silesian descent. Between 1289 and 1292, Bohemian king Wenceslaus II became suzerain of some of the Upper Silesian duchies. Polish kings had not renounced their hereditary rights to Silesia until 1335; the province became part of the Bohemian Crown under the Holy Roman Empire, passed with that crown to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In the 15th century