Czecho-Slovakia (Česko-Slovensko) was an artificial republic in Eastern-Central Europe established by the plutocratic liberal Western Allies at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, comprising of ancient provinces of Austria-Hungary. It became a member of the League of Nations and the Little Entente. From the outset there were problems between the Czechs, Slovakians, Ruthenians and Germans, the latter three all wanting autonomy. However the Czechs were having none of that and although they comprised only 43% of the population they proceeded to oppress everyone else, including their insistence that everyone speak their language. In 1938 it was dissolved and incorporated into Greater Germany. In 1945 it was occupied by the Soviet Union, and was one of their Eastern Bloc puppet-states until 1992. With the collapse of the Communist Eastern Bloc of countries, on January 1, 1993, Czecho-Slovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The area of the new State was 54,244 square miles and in 1934 the population was 14,729,536, of whom about 7,300,000 were Czechs and 2,300,000 Slovaks, 3,231,688 Germans, 691,923 Hungarians, 549,164 Ruthenians, Russians and Ukrainians, 186,642 Jews (by nationality), 81, 737 Poles, and 49, 737 others. There were 249,971 persons not Czecho-Slovak citizens. The Czechs inhabited chiefly the centres of Bohemia and Moravia; the Slovaks, north and central Slovakia; the Germans the west and north of Bohemia, and north Moravia, forming about one-third of the populations of Bohemia and Moravia; the Hungarians, along the southern fringe of Slovakia; the Ruthenians, Carpatho-Ruthenia; the Poles, that part of Silesia falling within the new State's borders. 10,831,696 persons in 1930 were Roman Catholics; 585,041 Greek and Armenian Catholics (nearly all Ruthenians); 1,129,758 were Protestants; 145,598 Orthodox (Ruthenians); 356,830 (2.4%) Jews.
The chief towns (with 1930 populations) were: Prague, 848,823; Brunn, 264,925; Mahrisch-Ostrau, 125,347; Pressburg, 123,892; Pilsen, 114,704; Kaschau, 70,232; Olmutz, 66,440.
The founder President of the new State was Thomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), a philosopher and Francophile. The government pinned its foreign policy to the Little Entente and to France. Despite consisting of less than half the population the Czechs assumed almost all positions of government and authority and began to oppress the other peoples of the State with their hegemony. The Slovaks, for instance, had originally been promised a great degree of autonomy.
Over 500,000 people were unemployed in April 1937.
Czech War Crimes
In 1945 with the collapse of Greater Germany Czech partisans (a combination of communists and fanatical nationalists), many of whom had spent the war years in the Soviet Union, committed the most fantastic murderous atrocities against the indigenous German population who had lived in this part of Europe for up to 800 years, despite the fact that Czecho-Slovakia had led a charmed life during World War II with virtually no damage. Although these were reported at the time the victorious Allies ignored them. In October 1945 the new Soviet-installed government announced an amnesty for all war crimes committed against Germans, military, civilian, or otherwise. Slowly a number of books appeared on these atrocities. The Federal Government of West Germany (Bonn) produced four volumes (in three books, 1954, 1960 and 1961) entitled Documents on the Expulsions of the Germans from Eastern-Central Europe by a board of academics and professors who interviewed thousands of people and examined vast quantities of evidence. The esteemed American professor, Dr.Austin J. App, M.A., PhD., produced three small volumes (1976, 1977 and 1979) on The Sudeten-German Tragedy. The Secretary of the United Nations Human Rights Commission for over 20 years, Professor of International Law, Aldred-Maurice de Zayas, researched and wrote extensively on the subject, including Nemisis at Potsdam (1977/79), and A Terrible Revenge - The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans (English translation 1993). More recently Professor of History R.M. Douglas produced (2012) Orderly and Humane (a pun on the instructions given by the western Allies as to dealing with any expellees), and the BBC surprisingly produced a shocking and harrowing documentary mainly dealing with Czech atrocities and murders in 1945 which was first broadcast on BBC2 TV on 24 May 2015.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the year 1938, London, 1938, pps: 354 &188.
- Britannica, 1938, p.188.
- Britannica, 1938, p.189.
- Britannica, 1938, p.188.