Allies of World War I
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the First World War. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the major European powers were divided between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance; the Entente was made up of the United Kingdom and Russia. The Triple Alliance was composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, which remained neutral in 1914; as the war progressed, each coalition added new members. Japan joined the Entente in 1914. After proclaiming its neutrality at the beginning of the war, Italy joined the Entente in 1915; the United States joined as an "associated power" rather than an official ally.'Associated members' included Serbia, Greece and Romania. When the war began in 1914, the Central Powers were opposed by the Triple Entente, formed in 1907 by the British Empire, the Russian Empire and the French Third Republic. Fighting commenced when Austria invaded Serbia on 28 July 1914, purportedly in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Emperor Franz Joseph.
At the same time, German troops entered neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as dictated by the Schlieffen Plan. This allowed Belgium to be treated as an Ally, in contrast to Luxembourg which retained control over domestic affairs but was occupied by the German military. In the East, between 7–9 August the Russians entered German East Prussia on 7 August, Austrian Eastern Galicia. Japan joined the Entente by declaring war on Germany on 23 August Austria on 25 August. On 2 September, Japanese forces surrounded the German Treaty Port of Tsingtao in China and occupied German colonies in the Pacific, including the Mariana and Marshall Islands. Despite its membership of the Triple Alliance, Italy remained neutral until 23 May 1915 when it joined the Entente, declaring war on Austria but not Germany. On 17 January 1916, Montenegro left the Entente. On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war as a co-belligerent, along with the associated allies of Liberia and Greece. After the 1917 October Revolution, Russia left the Entente and agreed to a separate peace with the Central Powers with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918.
Romania was forced to do the same in the May 1918 Treaty of Bucharest but on 10 November, it repudiated the Treaty and once more declared war on the Central Powers. These changes meant the Allies who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 included France, Italy and the US; this came into being on 16 January 1920 with Britain, France and Japan as permanent members of the Executive Council. For much of the 19th century, Britain sought to maintain the European balance of power without formal alliances, a policy known as splendid isolation; this left it dangerously exposed as Europe divided into opposing power blocs and the 1895-1905 Conservative government negotiated first the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance the 1904 Entente Cordiale with France. The first tangible result of this shift was British support for France against Germany in the 1905 Moroccan Crisis; the 1905-1915 Liberal government continued this re-alignment with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. Like the Anglo-Japanese and Entente agreements, it focused on settling colonial disputes but by doing so paved the way for wider co-operation and allowed Britain to refocus resources in response to German naval expansion.
Since control of Belgium allowed an opponent to threaten invasion or blockade British trade, preventing it was a long-standing British strategic interest. Under Article VII of the 1839 Treaty of London, Britain guaranteed Belgian neutrality against aggression by any other state, by force if required. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg dismissed this as a'scrap of paper,' but British law officers confirmed it as a binding legal obligation and its importance was well understood by Germany; the 1911 Agadir Crisis led to secret discussions between France and Britain in case of war with Germany. These agreed that within two weeks of its outbreak, a British Expeditionary Force of 100,000 men would be landed in France. Britain was committed to support France in a war against Germany but this was not understood outside government or the upper ranks of the military; as late as 1 August, a clear majority of the Liberal government and its supporters wanted to stay out of the war. While Liberal leaders Herbert Asquith and Edward Grey considered Britain and morally committed to support France regardless, waiting until Germany triggered the 1839 Treaty provided the best chance of preserving Liberal party unity.
The German high command was aware entering Belgium would lead to British intervention but decided the risk was acceptable. On 3 August, Germany demanded unimpeded progress through any part of Belgium a
History of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1526–1648)
Although the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Margravate of Moravia were both under Habsburg rule, they followed different paths of development. Moravians had accepted the hereditary right of the Austrian Habsburgs to rule and thus escaped the intense struggle between native estates and the Habsburg monarchy, to characterize Bohemian history. In contrast, the Bohemian Kingdom had entrenched estates that were ready to defend what they considered their rights and liberties; the Habsburgs pursued a policy of centralization and conflict arose, further complicated by ethnic and religious issues Habsburg rule brought two centuries of conflict between the Bohemian estates and the monarchy. As a result of this struggle, the Czechs lost a major portion of their native aristocracy, their particular form of religion, the widespread use of the Czech language; the Habsburg policy of centralization began with King Ferdinand. His efforts to eliminate the influence of the Bohemian estates were met with stubborn resistance.
But the Bohemian estates were themselves divided on religious lines. By several adroit political maneuvers, Ferdinand was able to establish hereditary succession to the Bohemian crown for the Habsburgs; the estates' inability to establish the principle of electing or confirming a monarch made their position weaker. The conflict in Bohemia was complicated further by the Reformation and the subsequent wars of religion in Central Europe. Adherents of the Czech Reformed Church opposed the Roman Catholic Habsburgs, who were in turn supported by the Czech and German Catholics; the Lutheran Reformation of 1517 introduced an added dimension to the struggle: much of the German burgher population of Bohemia adopted one of the new Protestant creeds. In 1537, Ferdinand conceded to the Czechs, recognized the Compacts of Basel, accepted moderate Utraquism; the reconciliation, was of brief duration. In 1546 German Protestants united in the Schmalkaldic League to wage war against the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
Whereas Ferdinand wanted to aid his brother, the Hussite and pro-Protestant Czech nobility sympathized with the German Protestant princes. Armed conflict between Ferdinand and the Bohemian estates broke out in 1547, but the Bohemians were not unified. The property of Czech Utraquist nobility was confiscated and their privileges abrogated. Four rebels were executed in the square before the royal palace. Members of the Unity of Czech Brethren, a Hussite sect that had figured prominently in the rebellion, were bitterly persecuted, their leader, Bishop John Augusta, was sentenced to sixteen years' imprisonment. Ferdinand, now Holy Roman Emperor, attempted to extend the influence of Catholicism in Bohemia by forming the Jesuit Academy in Prague and by bringing Jesuit missionaries into Bohemia. Discord between Habsburgs and Czechs and between Catholics and the followers of the reformed creeds erupted again into an open clash in the early seventeenth century. At that time, the Czechs were able to take advantage of the struggle between two contenders to the imperial throne, in 1609 they extracted a Letter of Majesty from Emperor Rudolf II that promised toleration of the Czech Reformed Church, gave control of Charles University to the Czech estates, made other concessions.
Rudolf's successor, proved to be an ardent Catholic and moved against the estates. Violation of promises contained in the Letter of Majesty regarding royal and church domains and Matthias's reliance on a council composed of ardent Catholics further increased tensions. In 1618 two Catholic imperial councillors were thrown out of a window of Prague Castle, signaling an open revolt by the Bohemian estates against the Habsburgs and started the Thirty Years' War; the Bohemian estates decided to levy an army, decreed the expulsion of the Jesuits, proclaimed the Bohemian throne to be elective. They elected Frederick of the Palatinate, to the Bohemian throne; the Bohemian troops confronted the imperial forces. On November 8, 1620, the Czech estates were decisively defeated at the famous Battle of White Mountain, near Prague; the Czech defeat at the Battle of White Mountain was followed by measures that secured Habsburg authority and the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church. Many Czech nobles were executed.
An estimated five-sixths of the Czech nobility went into exile soon after the Battle of White Mountain, their properties were confiscated. Large numbers of Czech and German Protestant burghers emigrated. In 1622, Charles University was merged with the Jesuit Academy, the entire education system of the Bohemian Kingdom was placed under Jesuit control. In 1624 all non-Catholic priests were expelled by royal decree; the Revised Ordinance of the Land established a legal basis for Habsburg absolutism. All Czech lands were declared hereditary property of the Habsburg family; the German language was made equal to the Czech language. The legislative function of the diets of both Bohemia and Moravia was revoked; the highest officials of the kingdom, to be chosen from among the local nobility, would be subordinate to the king. Thus, little remained of an distinct Bohemian Kingdom. Habsburg rule was further buttressed by the large-scale immigration into Bohemia of Catholic Germans from south German terri
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Milan Rastislav Štefánik
Milan Rastislav Štefánik was a Slovak politician, aviator and astronomer. During World War I, he served at the same time as a general in the French Army and as Minister of War for Czechoslovakia; as one of the leading members of the Czechoslovak National Council, he contributed decisively to the cause of Czechoslovakian sovereignty, since the status of Czech- and Slovak-populated territories was one of those in question until shortly before the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1918. His personal motto was "To Believe, To Love, To Work". Štefánik was born in Košariská, Austria-Hungary, on 21 July 1880. He had 11 sisters, two of whom died at a young age, his father, Pavol Štefánik, was a local Lutheran pastor, his mother was Albertína Jurenková. He attended schools in Bratislava and Szarvas. In 1898, he began studying construction engineering in Prague. In 1900, he transferred his studies to Charles University, where he attended lectures in astronomy, optics and philosophy. For the 1902 summer semester, he went to university in Zürich.
The Prague years had a great impact on Štefánik. The philosophy lectures were given by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the future first president of Czechoslovakia, who inspired Štefánik with the idea of co-operation between the Czechs and the Slovaks. Furthermore, Štefánik actively participated in the work of the Slovak student association, Detvan,, his studies were financed by Czech associations, including Českoslovanská jednota and Radhošť since he could not afford them himself. In Prague, he wrote political and artistic texts in which he tried to inform the Czechs of the disastrous situation of the Slovaks at that time, he graduated in 1904 with a doctorate in philosophy and with knowledge of astronomy: his thesis about a star, discovered in the Cassiopeia constellation in 1572. In 1904, he went to Paris to find a job in astronomy with a recommendation from a Czech professor, known in Paris, he had no money and no command of French, but he was able to obtain a job at the famous Paris-Meudon Observatory after its director, Pierre Janssen, one of the cofounders of astrophysics, saw Štefánik's talent.
Štefánik owed to Janssen and Camille Flammarion his social and scientific career. The observatory was the most important centre for astronomy at the time so he gained massive prestige from his job. Between 20 June and 4 July 1905, Štefánik climbed Mont Blanc to observe the Mars, he took part in an official French expedition to observe and record a full eclipse of the Sun in Alcossebre, Spain. He thus established his own reputation in French scientific society, he worked with Gaston Millochau, a member of the Académie Française, which made some of its members read his work. His studies and the results of his observations were published in reports to the Académie, he received several awards for them, he was invited to an international astronomer conference in Oxford on solar research. Between 1906 and 1908, he was co-director of the Mont Blanc observatories company. In 1907, Štefánik received the Prix Jules Janssen, the highest award of the Société astronomique de France, the French astronomical society.
At the end of 1907, Janssen died and Štefánik lost his job. Since 1908, he had been charged by the French authorities with astronomical and meteorological observations, political tasks in various countries all over the world, including. In Tahiti, he built an observatory and a network of meteorological stations. Between the trips, he returned home to Košariská. In South America, he had an opportunity to show his diplomatic skills for the first time. Štefánik worked in astrophysics and solar physics, became well known for his spectral analysis of the sun's corona. He has been considered a predecessor of Bernard Lyot, he attempted to construct a machine for colour photography and cinematography, he had his design patented in 1911. In addition to his scientific missions overseas, he performed diplomatic tasks, he established contacts and friendships with leading scientific, political and business personalities. He participated in the establishment of business enterprises in other countries, his friends included physicist Henri Poincaré, Eugéne Aymar de la Baume, Joseph Vallot, architect Gustave Eiffel, Roland Bonaparte, Prime Minister Camille Chautemps, a French entrepreneur called Devousoud from Chamonix, American astronomer and admiral Simon Newcomb and American diplomat David Jayne Hill.
In 1912, he received French citizenship and access to the French élite. On 20 October 1917, he was made a Grand Officier of the Legion of Honour. At the same time, he had some personal problems and a serious stomach illness, which did not get better after two surgeries. Moreover, World War I had started in Europe. Štefánik believed that defeat of Austria-Hungary and of Imperial Germany would offer an opportunity for the
Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings. Bohemia was a duchy of Great Moravia an independent principality, a kingdom in the Holy Roman Empire, subsequently a part of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austrian Empire. After World War I and the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, Bohemia became a part of Czechoslovakia. Between 1938 and 1945, border regions with sizeable German-speaking minorities of all three Czech lands were joined to Nazi Germany as the Sudetenland; the remainder of Czech territory became the Second Czechoslovak Republic and was subsequently occupied as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, In 1969, the Czech lands were given autonomy within Czechoslovakia as the Czech Socialist Republic. In 1990, the name was changed to the Czech Republic, which became a separate state in 1993 with the split of Czechoslovakia.
Until 1948, Bohemia was an administrative unit of Czechoslovakia as one of its "lands". Since administrative reforms have replaced self-governing lands with a modified system of "regions" which do not follow the borders of the historical Czech lands. However, the three lands are mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution of the Czech Republic: "We, citizens of the Czech Republic in Bohemia and Silesia…"Bohemia had an area of 52,065 km2 and today is home to 6.5 million of the Czech Republic's 10.5 million inhabitants. Bohemia was bordered in the south by Upper and Lower Austria, in the west by Bavaria and in the north by Saxony and Lusatia, in the northeast by Silesia, in the east by Moravia. Bohemia's borders were marked by mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, the Krkonoše, a part of the Sudetes range. In the 2nd century BC, the Romans were competing for dominance in northern Italy with various peoples including the Gauls-Celtic tribe Boii; the Romans defeated the Boii at the Battle of Mutina.
After this, many of the Boii retreated north across the Alps. Much Roman authors refer to the area they had once occupied as Boiohaemum; the earliest mention was by Tacitus' Germania 28, mentions of the same name are in Strabo and Velleius Paterculus. The name appears to include the tribal name Boi- plus the Germanic element *haimaz "home"; this Boiohaemum was isolated to the area where King Marobod's kingdom was centred, within the Hercynian forest. Emperor Constantine VII in 10th century De Administrando Imperio mentioned the region as Boïki; the Czech name "Čechy" is derived from the name of the Slavic ethnic group, the Czechs, who settled in the area during the 6th or 7th century AD. Bohemia, like neighbouring Bavaria, is named after the Boii, who were a large Celtic nation known to the Romans for their migrations and settlement in northern Italy and other places. Another part of the nation moved west with the Helvetii into southern France, one of the events leading to the interventions of Julius Caesar's Gaulish campaign of 58 BC.
The emigration of the Helvetii and Boii left southern Germany and Bohemia a inhabited "desert" into which Suebic peoples arrived, speaking Germanic languages, became dominant over remaining Celtic groups. To the south, over the Danube, the Romans extended their empire, to the southeast in present-day Hungary, were Dacian peoples. In the area of modern Bohemia the Marcomanni and other Suebic groups were led by their king Marobodus, after suffering defeat to Roman forces in Germany, he took advantage of the natural defenses provided by its forests. They were able to maintain a strong alliance with neighbouring tribes including the Lugii, Hermunduri and Buri, sometimes controlled by the Roman Empire, sometimes in conflict with it, for example in the second century when they fought Marcus Aurelius. In late classical times and the early Middle Ages, two new Suebic groupings appeared to the west of Bohemia in southern Germany, the Alemanni, the Bavarians. Many Suebic tribes from the Bohemian region took part in such movements westwards settling as far away as Spain and Portugal.
With them were tribes who had pushed from the east, such as the Vandals, Alans. Other groups pushed southwards towards Pannonia; the last known mention of the kingdom of the Marcomanni, concerning a queen named Fritigil is in the 4th century, she was thought to have lived in or near Pannonia. The Suebian Langobardi, who moved over many generations from the Baltic Sea, via the Elbe and Pannonia to Italy, recorded in a tribal history a time spent in "Bainaib". After this migration period, Bohemia was repopulated around the 6th century, Slavic tribes arrived from the east, their language began to replace the older Germanic and Sarmatian ones; these are precursors of today's Czechs, though the exact amount of Slavic immigration is a subject of debate. The Slavic influx was divided into three waves; the first wave came from the
The Czechoslovak Legion were volunteer armed forces composed predominantly of Czechs with a small number of Slovaks fighting on the side of the Entente powers during World War I. Their goal was to win the support of the Allied Powers for the independence of Bohemia and Moravia from the Austrian Empire and of Slovak territories from the Kingdom of Hungary, which were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the help of émigré intellectuals and politicians such as the Czech Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and the Slovak Milan Rastislav Štefánik, they grew into a force of over 100,000 strong. In Russia, they took part in several victorious battles of the war, including the Zborov and Bakhmach against the Central Powers, were involved in the Russian Civil War fighting Bolsheviks, at times controlling the entire Trans-Siberian railway and several major cities in Siberia. After three years of existence as a small unit in the Imperial Russian Army, the Legion in Russia was established in 1917, with other troops fighting in France since the beginning of the war as the "Nazdar" company, similar units emerging in Italy and Serbia.
An all-volunteer force, these formations were strengthened by Czech and Slovak prisoners of war or deserters from the Austro-Hungarian Army. The majority of the legionaries were Czechs, with Slovaks making up 7% of the force in Russia, 3% in Italy and 16% in France; as World War I broke out, national societies representing ethnic Czechs and Slovaks residing in the Russian Empire petitioned the Russian government to support the independence of their homelands. To prove their loyalty to the Entente cause, these groups advocated the establishment of a unit of Czech and Slovak volunteers to fight alongside the Russian Army. On 5 August 1914, the Russian Stavka authorized the formation of a battalion recruited from Czechs and Slovaks in Russia; this unit, called the "Czech Companions", went to the front in October 1914, where it was attached to the Russian Third Army. There the Družina soldiers served in scattered patrols performing a number of specialized duties, including reconnaissance, prisoner interrogation and subversion of enemy troops in the opposite trenches.
From its start and Slovak political émigrés in Russia and Western Europe desired to expand the Družina from a battalion into a formidable military formation. To achieve this goal, they recognized that they would need to recruit from Czech and Slovak prisoners of war in Russian camps. In late 1914, Russian military authorities permitted the Družina to enlist Czech and Slovak POWs from the Austro-Hungarian Army, but this order was rescinded after only a few weeks due to opposition from other branches of the Russian government. Despite continuous efforts of émigré leaders to persuade the Russian authorities to change their mind, the Czechs and Slovaks were barred from recruiting POWs until the summer of 1917. Still, some Czechs and Slovaks were able to sidestep this ban by enlisting POWs through local agreements with Russian military authorities. Under these conditions, the Czechoslovak unit in Russia grew slowly from 1914–1917. In early 1916, the Družina was reorganized as the 1st Czecho-Slovak Rifle Regiment.
During that year, two more infantry regiments were added. This unit distinguished itself during the Kerensky Offensive in July 1917, when the Czecho-Slovak troops overran Austrian trenches during the Battle of Zborov. Following the soldiers' stellar performance at Zborov, the Russian Provisional Government granted their émigré leaders on the Czechoslovak National Council permission to mobilize Czech and Slovak volunteers from the POW camps; that summer, a fourth regiment was added to the brigade, renamed the First Division of the Czechoslovak Corps in Russia known as the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. A second division, consisting of four regiments, was added to the Legion in October 1917, raising its strength to about 40,000 troops by 1918. In November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power throughout Russia and soon began peace negotiations with the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk; the chairman of the Czechoslovak National Council, Tomáš Masaryk, who had arrived in Russia earlier that year, began planning for the Legion's departure from Russia and transfer to France so the Czechoslovaks could continue to fight against the Central Powers.
Since most of Russia's main ports were blockaded, Masaryk decided that the Legion should travel from Ukraine to the Pacific port of Vladivostok, where the men would embark on transport vessels that would carry them to Western Europe. In February 1918, Bolshevik authorities in Ukraine granted Masaryk and his troops permission to begin the 6,000 miles journey to Vladivostok. However, on 18 February, before the Czechoslovaks had left Ukraine, the German Army launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front to force the Soviet government to accept its terms for peace. From 5 to 13 March, the Czechoslovak legionaries fought off German attempts to prevent their evacuation in the Battle of Bakhmach. After leaving Ukraine and entering Soviet Russia, representatives of the Czechoslovak National Council continued to negotiate with Bolshevik authorities in Moscow and Penza to iron out the details of the corps' evacuation. On 25 March, the two sides signed the Penza Agreement, in which the legionaries were to surrender most of their weapons in exchange for unmolested passage to Vladivostok.
Tensions continued to mount, however. The Bolsheviks, despite Masaryk's order fo
First Czechoslovak Republic
The First Czechoslovak Republic was the Czechoslovak state that existed from 1918 to 1938. The state was called Czechoslovakia, it was composed of Bohemia, Czech Silesia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia. After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only functioning democracy in Central Europe. Under pressure from its Sudeten German minority, supported by neighbouring Nazi Germany, Czechoslovakia was forced to cede its Sudetenland region to Germany on 1 October 1938 as part of the Munich Agreement, it ceded southern parts of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia to Hungary and the Zaolzie region in Silesia to Poland. This, in effect, ended the First Czechoslovak Republic, it was replaced by the Second Czechoslovak Republic, which lasted less than half a year before Germany occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on 28 October 1918 by the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague. Several ethnic groups and territories with different historical and economic traditions were obliged be blended into a new state structure.
The origin of the First Republic lies in Point 10 of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points: "The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development." The full boundaries of the country and the organization of its government was established in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk had been recognized by World War I Allies as the leader of the Provisional Czechoslovak Government, in 1920 he was elected the country's first president, he was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, serving as President until 14 December 1935 when he resigned due to poor health. He was succeeded by Edvard Beneš. Following the Anschluss of Nazi Germany and Austria in March 1938, the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's next target for annexation was Czechoslovakia, his pretext was the privations suffered by ethnic German populations living in Czechoslovakia's northern and western border regions, known collectively as the Sudetenland.
Their incorporation into Nazi Germany would leave the rest of Czechoslovakia powerless to resist subsequent occupation. To a large extent, Czechoslovak democracy was held together by the country's first president, Tomáš Masaryk; as the principal founding father of the republic, Masaryk was regarded similar to the way George Washington is regarded in the United States. Such universal respect enabled Masaryk to overcome irresolvable political problems. Masaryk is still regarded as the symbol of Czechoslovak democracy; the Constitution of 1920 approved the provisional constitution of 1918 in its basic features. The Czechoslovak state was conceived as a parliamentary democracy, guided by the National Assembly, consisting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, whose members were to be elected on the basis of universal suffrage; the National Assembly was responsible for legislative initiative and was given supervisory control over the executive and judiciary as well. Every seven years it elected the president and confirmed the cabinet appointed by him.
Executive power was to be shared by the cabinet. The reality differed somewhat from this ideal, during the strong presidencies of Masaryk and his successor, Beneš; the constitution of 1920 provided for the central government to have a high degree of control over local government. From 1928 and 1940, Czechoslovakia was divided into the four "lands". Although in 1927 assemblies were provided for Bohemia and Ruthenia, their jurisdiction was limited to adjusting laws and regulations of the central government to local needs; the central government appointed one third of the members of these assemblies. The constitution identified the "Czechoslovak nation" as the creator and principal constituent of the Czechoslovak state and established Czech and Slovak as official languages; the concept of the Czechoslovak nation was necessary in order to justify the establishment of Czechoslovakia towards the world, because otherwise the statistical majority of the Czechs as compared to Germans would have been rather weak, there would have been more Germans in the state than Slovaks.
National minorities were assured special protection. The operation of the new Czechoslovak government was distinguished by stability. Responsible for this were the well-organized political parties that emerged as the real centers of power. Excluding the period from March 1926 to November 1929, when the coalition did not hold, a coalition of five Czechoslovak parties constituted the backbone of the government: Republican Party of Agricultural and Smallholder People, Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, Czechoslovak National Social Party, Czechoslovak People's Party, Czechoslovak National Democratic Party; the leaders of these parties became known as the "Pětka". The Pětka was headed by Antonín Švehla, who held the office of prime minister for most of the 1920s and designed a pattern of coalition politics that survived until 1938; the coalition's policy was expressed in the slogan "We have agreed that we will agree." German parties participated in the government in the beginning of 1926. Hungarian p