Czechoslovakia was a sovereign nation that existed in Central Europe from October 1918 to January 1993. The nation was formed after its declaration of independence in 1918 from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Czechoslovakia continued to exist until January 1, 1993, when it split peacefully into two nations of Slovakia and the Czech Republic (now Czechia).
The former nation used to be neighbors with the likes of Austria, Germany (both West and East Germany), Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, and the Soviet Union. Over the years, the official name of the nation has changed. These names have included the Republic of Czechoslovakia (1918-1920), Czechoslovak Republic (1920–1938), and others.
The very first Czechoslovak Republic was formed in October 1918 as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Lay after the end of the Bohemian Kingdom. This first nation was inclusive of the current territories of Bohemia, Slovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia, and Moravia. The nation composed of several ethnicities with the dominant ones being Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Hungarians, and Rusyns. The domination of the Czechs, around 51% of the population, led to social unrests arising from the non-Czech people as the minority groups were not allowed to fully participate in political matters.
German Invasion of Czechoslovakia
From the years 1938 to 1945, Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia. Hitler claimed that the invasion was necessary in order to protect the ethnic German populations that were living in Czechoslovakia. In what was widely considered an act of appeasement, the Munich Agreement was signed, which allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland. The Sudetenland was known for its ethnic German residents. Although the Munich Agreement was created by Germany, France, the United States, and Italy, as a way of maintaining peace, it was widely looked back on as a great failure. German troops completely took over Bohemia, and forced a protectorate state over Slovakia. The occupation only ended in 1945 with the end of the World War II.
Why Did Czechoslovakia Split?
On January 1,1993, Czechoslovakia split into the nations of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The separation was peaceful and came as a result of nationalist sentiment in the country. The decision to split was decided by the Federal Assembly who voted on the matter. There was a deep disconnect between those living in Czech territories and the Slovaks. The Slovaks, notably, did not fully embrace the idea of Czechslovakianism. The act of tying the country together was considered to be too expensive a burden.