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Czechoslovakia (Československo in Czech and in Slovak) was a country in Central Europe, in existence from 1918 until 1992 (except for the World War II period). On January 1, 1993, it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Coat of Arms [1]
(In Detail)
National motto: Pravda vítězí (Truth prevails)
Official languages Czech and Slovak
Capital Prague
Area (1991) 127,900 km˛
Population (1991) 15,600,000
Czechs 54.1%, Slovaks 31%, Moravians 8.7%, Hungarians 3.8%, Gypsies 0.7%
Currency Czechoslovak koruna (Kcs) = 100 halers
Time zone UTC+1
National anthem Kde domov muj + Nad Tatrou sa blýska
ISO 3166-1 CS

See also: Czech Republic and Slovakia

Table of contents
1 Basic Characteristics
2 Official Names
3 History
4 Regents
5 International Agreements and Membership
6 Administrative Divisions
7 Population and Ethnic Groups
8 Religion
9 Health, Social Welfare and Housing
10 Politics
11 Government (Legislature, Executive, Judiciary)
12 Constitutional Development
13 Society and social groups
14 Education
15 Resource base
16 Economy, Foreign Trade, Financial System
17 Transportation and Communications
18 Mass Media

Basic Characteristics

Form of state:

Neighbors: Germany (1945-1990:West Germany and East Germany), Poland, Soviet Union (1992:Ukraine), Romania (till 1939), Hungary, Austria

Topography: Generally irregular terrain. Western area part of north-central European uplands. Eastern region made up of northern reaches of Carpathian Mountains and Danube Basin lands.

Climate: Predominantly continental but varied from moderate temperatures of Western Europe to more severe weather systems affecting Eastern Europe and the western Soviet Union

Official Names


Main article:
History of Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia arose in October 1918 as one of the succession states of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I. It consisted of the present-day territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and (till 1939) Carpatho-Ukraine (Ruthenia). It was the most industrialized part of the former Austria-Hungary, was a democratic republic throughout the pre-World War II period, but was characterized by ethnic problems. The ethnic problems were due to the fact that the second and third largest ethnic groups (Germans and Slovaks, respectively) were not fully satisfied with the dominance of the Czechs, and that the Germans and Hungarians of Czechoslovakia have never really accepted the creation of the new state.

Czechoslovakia was to become Hitler's target. After the Munich Agreement of 1938, Hitler‘s troops invaded the ethnic-German border regions of Bohemia and Moravia, Hungary received southern Slovakia, and Slovakia and Ruthenia received an autonomous status for a while. Finally Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in March 1939, when Hitler occupied whole Czechia and (the remaining) Slovakia was forced to declare independence.

After World War II, the pre-war Czechoslovakia was reestablished, the Germans were expelled from the country and Ruthenia was given to the Soviet Union. Three years later the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized power (1948-1989) and the country got under the influence of the Soviet Union. Except for a short period in the late 1960’s (Prague Spring) the country was characterized by missing democracy, promotion of ateism, and relative economic backwardness compared to Western Europe. In 1969, Czechoslovakia was turned into a federation of Czechia and Slovakia.

In 1989, the country became a democratic country again through the Velvet revolution. In 1992, the federal parliament decided to split the country in the Czech Republic and Slovakia as of January 1 1993.


International Agreements and Membership

After WWII, active participant in Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (
Comecon), Warsaw Pact, United Nations and its specialized agencies, and Movement of Nonaligned Nations; signatory of conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Administrative Divisions

Population and Ethnic Groups

Main article:
Population and Ethnic Groups of Czechoslovakia


Main article: Religion in Communist Czechoslovakia

In 1991: Roman Catholics 46.4%, Evangelic Lutheran 5. 3%, Ateist 29. 5%, n/a 16. 7%, but there were huge differences between the 2 constituent republics – see Czech Republic and Slovakia

Health, Social Welfare and Housing

Main article: Health and Social Welfare in Communist Czechoslovakia

After WWII, free health care available to all citizens. National health planning emphasized preventive medicine; factory and local health-care centers supplement hospitals and other inpatient institutions. Substantial improvement in rural health care in 1960s and 1970s.


Main articles: Czechoslovakia: 1918 - 1938 and Politics of Communist Czechoslovakia

After WWII, monopoly on politics held by Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Gustav Husak elected first secretary of KSC in 1969 (changed to general secretary in 1971) and president of Czechoslovakia in 1975. Other parties and organizations existed but functioned in subordinate roles to KSC. All political parties, as well as numerous mass organizations, grouped under umbrella of National Front of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Human rights activists and religious activists severely repressed

Government (Legislature, Executive, Judiciary)

Main article: Government structure of Communist Czechoslovakia

Constitutional Development

Czechoslovakia had the following constitutions throughout its history (1918 – 1992):

Society and social groups

Main article:
Society of Communist Czechoslovakia


Main article: Education in Czechoslovakia

Education free at all levels and compulsory from age six to sixteen. Vast majority of population literate. Highly developed system of apprenticeship training and vocational schools supplemented general secondary schools and institutions of higher education

Resource base

Main article: Resource base of Communist Czechoslovakia

After WWII, country energy short, relying on imported crude oil and natural gas from Soviet Union, domestic brown coal, and nuclear and hydroelectric energy. Energy constraints a major factor in 1980s.

Economy, Foreign Trade, Financial System

Main articles: Economy of Communist Czechoslovakia and Economic History of Communist Czechoslovakia

After WWII, economy centrally planned with command links controlled by communist party, similar to Soviet Union. Large metallurgical industry but dependent on imports for iron and nonferrous ores.

Transportation and Communications

Main article:
Transportation in Czechoslovakia

Mass Media

Main article: Mass media in Communist Czechoslovakia