Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe


Parliamentary republic




49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00


History of Slovakia

Slovakia and the World War II

On September 29, 1938 signatories of Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and France met in Munich to approve the annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland (border areas in the west Czechoslovakia inhabited by ethnic Germans) to Germany (Munich Agreement). On November 2, 1938 the representatives of Italy and Germany met in Vienna to alter the frontiers between Slovakia and Hungary. As a result, in the Vienna Arbitral Reward, Slovakia agreed to cede to Hungary the area of 10, 390 km with 854, 217 inhabitants.  Also, Poland acquired the territory of Javorina and a part of Kysuce while Germany occupied Devin and Petrzalka area.

Nevertheless, politically weakened Slovakia pressed forward and on October 6, 1938 declared its autonomy within Czechoslovakia.  The Prague parliament legally acknowledged Slovak autonomy on November18, 1938. Dr. Jozef Tiso became the first Prime Minister of the autonomous government. The Slovak Assembly was established with Martin Sokol as the first Speaker.

In November 1938 Emil Hacha was elected the President of Czechoslovakia. Disputes arose between the Slovak and Czechoslovak government representatives and culminated upon the arrival of the Czech troops and police forces in Slovakia on March 10, 1938. The President dismissed the Prime Minister Tiso and the Czechoslovak government began persecutions and arrests of the Slovak officials.  At the same time, Germany pressed Slovak leaders to proclaim independence from the Czechs. Hitler summoned Jozef Tiso and Ferdinand Durcansky to Vienna where he demanded Slovakia’s independence. Compliant with Hitler’s ultimatum, the Slovak parliament declared Slovak independence on March 14, 1939.  Jozef Tiso was restored to his office as prime minister of now independent Slovakia. In fact though, Slovakia became a German satellite state. On July 21, 1939 the Slovak parliament approved the Slovak Constitution as well as the new name for the country-Slovak Republic. Dr. Jozef Tiso became the first Slovak president on October 26, 1939. Imprisoned regime opponents continued to criticize the Slovak and German politics; however, prisoners were not charged with treason. As a German protected state, Slovakia went to war with the Soviet Union on June 23, 1941.  Slovak soldiers were deployed to the Eastern Front in Ukraine and Russia, reaching as far as the Caucasus Mountains and the Sea of Azov. Finally, the Slovak armed forces were withdrawn from the Eastern Front in 1943.

In the same year the government issued the Jewish Codex.  According to the Codex, all Jews, except those with a special exemption, were placed in labor camps in Novaky, Sered, and Vyhne. Between March and October 1942, almost 70, 000 Jews were transported from Slovakia to the concentration camps. About 67, 000 of them did not survive.
In the midst of the wartime, Slovakia’s economy and cultural development prospered. Railroads, family houses, factories, even power plants on the Vah River, and the Orava water reservoir (Orava Dam) had been constructed. A new spa resort Sliac was also built near Zvolen city. Mandatory labor law eliminated unemployment. Germans controlled  Slovak Arms industry. Guns and ammunition were produced and shipped to the battle lines from Povazska Bystrica and Nova Dubnica. Summer Time or Daylight saving Time was also implemented in Slovakia in 1940s.

Slovak National Uprising (1944)

At the end of the year 1943, Slovak resistance movement against Germany grew strong.  A special military center conducted the Slovak National Uprising on August 29, 1943 with the mission to liberate our territories from Germans and to reestablish Czechoslovakia. The town of Banska Bystrica was the centre of the Slovak National Uprising. Soldiers fighting in the Uprising were called partisans-Slovak citizens who joined the division of the Slovak Army opposing Germany’s aggression. Approximately 60, 000 soldiers of the Slovak Army and 18, 000 partisans (many of them non-Slovaks) fought collectively against German oppressors. Initially  partisans succeeded in the mountainous terrains; however, with no heavy weapons they were soon defeated by 45, 000 German troops who used cannons, tanks, and better strategy. The most difficult battles took place near Strecno, Hronska Dubrava, Telgart, and in the Rajec valley. Partisans made the use of the airports Tri Duby (Three Oaks) and Zolna. Help from the Soviet Union was eventually limited to the supplies of weapons, ammunition, and medicine. During the Slovak National Uprising both the Soviet Red Army and the First Independent Czechoslovak Regiment entered Slovakia’s territory. The Red Army opened an offensive at the Dukla pass but only on October 6, 1944, after 80 days of heavy combats were they able to begin liberating operations in Slovakia. Germans, however, still occupied Slovakia. On October 27, 1944 the Slovak National Uprising was doomed as the German Army occupied the town of Banska Bystrica. Germans harshly punished Slovak resistance against the Reich. Those civilians who helped partisans were shot to death and their villages burnt to ashes. Today the villages Kaliste, Klak, Ostry Grun, Skycov, Kaliste, or Tokajik remind us of the war atrocities. 

On April 4, 1945 the Red Army marched into Bratislava and liberated the town from the German aggressors. Again Slovakia became a part of reestablished Czechoslovakia. Pressured by the allied armies, defeated Germany capitulated on May 8, 1945. The Second World War in Europe officially ended.

First Czechoslovak Republic History of Slovakia Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

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