History of Czech Republic

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the first monuments testifying to the settlement of the Czech Republic by Slavic tribes date back to the 5th-6th centuries. In the 9th century on the territory of the Czech lands, the first Slavic state of the Middle Ages arose – Great Morava. The cultural turning point was the adoption of Christianity in 863, which was spread by the brothers Cyril and Methodius. The state reached an economic, political and cultural upsurge under the Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (1346-78), whose reign is called the “golden age” of Czech history. Mining, crafts and trade began to develop.

In the 15th century the struggle of the Czech estates against German dominance and the Catholic Church, which was the largest feudal lord in the country, intensified, it owned almost half of the land. The ideologist of the religious and social Reformation was Jan Hus (1371–1415), a professor at the University of Prague, who advocated the reform of the Catholic Church and secular society, for a return to the ideals of early Christianity. On July 6, 1415, he was declared a heretic by a church cathedral in Constance and burned alive. Civil unrest broke out all over the Czech Republic. Peasants, artisans, petty nobles joined the Hussite movement. This was the beginning of the Hussite wars (1419-33). The Roman emperor Sigismund led five crusades against the Hussites, who were repulsed by Czech combat detachments led by Jan Zizka, and after his death by Prokop the Naked. The Catholic Church managed to split the Hussite movement. On May 30, 1434, at the Battle of Lipan, the radical Hussite Taborites (named after the Hussite camp in Tabor) were defeated.

In the 16th century The Habsburg dynasty came to the Czech throne and ruled the country for almost 400 years. The Czech estates did not accept defeat and actively opposed the German imperial and Catholic dominance. The uprising of the Czech Protestant estates was suppressed on November 8, 1620 at the Battle of the White Mountain. The time that came after this battle went down in history as the “era of darkness.” Any manifestations of national and cultural identity were destroyed. The only religion allowed was Catholicism. The Czech lands practically lost their state and legal independence. See ehistorylib for more about Czech Republic history.

The countdown of the period of the “Czech Renaissance” and the formation of the Czech nation falls on the 2nd half. 19th century – the beginning of the industrial revolution, when the Czech Republic becomes the most industrially developed part of Austria-Hungary. The 1st World War and the subsequent disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire became the impetus for the intensification of the struggle for national and political independence. On October 28, 1918, the formation of an independent Czechoslovak state was proclaimed. T.G. was elected the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic. Masaryk. The Paris Conference in January 1919 confirmed the boundaries of the new Czechoslovak state on the historical territory of the Czech Republic, Moravia and Silesia, as well as Slovakia, and Transcarpathian Ukraine was annexed.

The independent Czechoslovak state existed for 20 years. September 29, 1939 in Munich, the Prime Ministers of France, Great Britain, Germany and Italy (Czechoslovakia was not invited) signed the Munich Agreement on the transfer of Czechoslovak border territories to Germany with a triple line of concrete fortifications. The territorial claims to Czechoslovakia from Poland (the Teshin region) and Hungary (the southern regions of Slovakia Kosice – Uzhgorod – Mukachevo) were also satisfied. In total, Czechoslovakia lost 41,098 km2 of territory with industrial centers and a population of 4.87 million people. In March 1939 the Czechoslovak Republic was occupied by Nazi Germany and lost its state independence. On the territory of the Czech Republic, Moravia and Silesia, the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was formed, and on the territory of Slovakia – the clerical-fascist “independent Slovak state”. Transcarpathian Ukraine and the eastern regions of Slovakia were captured by Hungary.

The German occupation lasted 6 years. Czechoslovakia became the last bastion of the 2nd World War and was completely liberated from the German invaders on May 8, 1945, when the Red Army came to the aid of the insurgent Prague. On May 19, 1945, the President of the Czechoslovak Republic, E. Benes, adopted Decrees on the prosecution of Nazi criminals, on the confiscation of the land property of German collaborators and on the settlement of the Sudetenland by the Czech population. At the Potsdam Conference of the victorious countries (USSR, USA and Great Britain) in August 1945, an act was approved to deprive Czechoslovak citizenship and resettle 2.3 million Germans who collaborated with the occupation regime from the Sudetenland. The government of Czechoslovakia went to meet the desire of Transcarpathian Ukraine to join Soviet Ukraine.

The historic victories of the Red Army in World War II raised the prestige of the USSR. In the elections to the National Assembly in 1946, the Communists received 40% of the votes. K. Gottwald, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, became head of government. In February 1948, taking advantage of a government crisis, the Communists came to power. In Czechoslovakia, the stage of building socialism began in close cooperation with the USSR and other socialist countries. In 1955 Czechoslovakia became a member of the military bloc of the Warsaw Pact. In 1960, a new constitution was adopted, declaring Czechoslovakia a socialist republic.

The period of the “thaw” that began in the USSR became the impetus for the activation of reformist forces in Czechoslovakia. The country’s leadership, headed by the first secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia A. Dubcek, set a course for the democratization of the country. Censorship was abolished, freedom of speech and the press was established, and a reform was launched in the economy using market levers. The “Prague Spring” of 1968 – an attempt to revive “socialism with a human face” – was cut short on August 21, 1968 by the introduction of the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries into the territory of Czechoslovakia.

With the beginning of perestroika in the USSR, the crisis of the communist regime deepened in Czechoslovakia. The brutal suppression of the student demonstration on January 17, 1989 caused mass demonstrations of the people. As a result of the “Velvet Revolution”, the monopoly of power of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, which lasted 40 years, ended. V. Havel was elected the first president of the new democratic state.

Without a popular referendum on November 25, 1992, the Constitutional Law was adopted on the termination of the existence of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. The Czech and Slovak Republics became successor states on 1 January 1993. A distinctive feature of the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia was the peaceful negotiation process on a solid legislative basis. The Czech Republic embarked on the path of systemic political and economic transformation aimed at building a legal civil democratic society and transition to a market economy.

History of Czech Republic