Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe


Parliamentary republic




49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00


History of Slovakia

Slovakia as Part of the Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938)

Czechoslovakia appeared on the map of Europe as an independent country after the collapse of Austria-Hungary. The newly formed state was founded on October 28, 1918 in Prague. Two days later, on October 30, 1918, Slovaks agreed to join the Czechs in a unified state in the Declaration of Turciansky Svaty Martin. The Declaration was promulgated at the meeting of the Slovak National Council. The Czechoslovak Republic became a parliamentary democracy. The first Czechoslovak president T.G. Masaryk was succeeded by Eduard Benes in 1935.

At the beginning both the Czechs and Slovaks seemed to benefit from the unification process. Later the differences in economic development proved the Czech territories to be culturally and economically more advanced. Integrity of Slovakia had been discussed at the after-war Paris Conference in 1919-1920 as it was jeopardized by Hungarian requisitions.  The Treaty of Trianon in 1920 established the borders of Slovakia (Hungary pledged to honor the boundaries of Slovakia and its neighboring countries). A special ministry of Slovak affairs was established in Prague with Vavro Srobar as its head. The regional government (Slovak Province) created in Slovakia in 1928 was recognized as an independent administrative unit without self-governing authorities. Sadly, the ideology of Czechoslovakism became the doctrine of the new republic (ideology of one Czechoslovak nation with two branches-Czech and Slovak, one Czechoslovak language, the dominant role of the Czechs, and the idea of centralized economy managed from Prague). The Slovak People’s Party led by Andrej Hlinka and later the Slovak National Party both vigorously campaigned for the long-expected autonomy of Slovakia.

First Slovak Catholic bishops, Jan Vojtassak, Karol Kmetko, and Marian Blaha were ordained in 1921. The Evangelical Church leaders such as Bishop Jur Janoska, Bishop Samuel Zoch, and Bishop Stefan Osusky also worked in the national interest of Slovakia.
In the years 1930-1935 the economic crisis in Slovakia prompted increased unemployment rates, demonstrations, and strikes organized by resentful public. Many left the country to find a job abroad, especially in the U.S.A., France, and Canada.

Despite unfavorable economic and social development in Slovakia, cultural affairs of our nation flourished. In 1919 the Matica slovenska (the first national cultural institution established in 1863 and closed by force in 1895) reopened and the Comenius University was founded in Bratislava. In 1920 the Slovak National Theater was built in Bratislava and the Slovak Radio launched the first daily broadcast in 1926. In 1921 two American Slovaks, brothers Jaroslav and Daniel Siakel produced the first Slovak movie Janosik. A prominent Czech director Karol Plicka directed several documentaries about Slovakia. His feature “The Singing Land” was awarded at the Venice Movie Festival in 1932. Among the most notable authors of Slovak literature from this period were Jozef Ciger-Hronsky, Jan Smrek, or Ludo Ondrejov.  Painters and illustrators Martin Benka and Ludovit Fulla represented Slovak Modernism in art.

World War I History of Slovakia World War II

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