Czechoslovakia (1918-89)

Figure 1.--These Czech children are attending a theater about the 1980. It was from the magazine "Czechoslovakia" published in the Soviet Union.

Czechoslovakia no longer exists. The country was created out of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire as part of the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919. It was dismembered by Hitler and the NAZIs in 1938-39 even before World War II. It was reconstituted after the War, but after the fall of Communism broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, two countries on which HBC has yet to obtain information. We do have some information on the Sudetenland which is now part of the Czech Republic. We have very Limited information on Czechoslovakian boys clothes at this time.


The history of the Czech people is somewhat complicated because because of the many different political changes over time. The existence of an independent Czech state is a relatively recent political phenomenon. It began with the Czech-Slovak state after World War I--Czechoslovakia. The history of the Czech people goes back much further. The Czechs while a realitively small population have played a rle at the center stage of history. The were early converts to Lutherenism during the Reformation. It was in the 20th century, however, that the Czechs were at the center stage of history. They were Hitler's first foreign target (1938). The Czechs later attempted to soften the face of Communism, but were brutally supressed by the Soviets (1968).


We have very limited chronological information on Czech boys clothing. As boys did not wear school uniforms, the information HBC has collected on Czech schools is of some assistance. Some of the individual pages are also useful. We note, for example, a boy at a Czech village school in 1922.


We have very limited information about the garments worn by Czech children at this time. The country until 1918 was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian control, the border with Germany, and a large numbers of Germans living in the Sudetenland suggests that German influences were very important. Some folk influences may have made for some stylistic differences, but Czech boys appaer to have dressed very similarly with German boys. There may have been more differences between Slovakian and German boys, but here we have very limited information. We have little information oin Czech boys clothes during the Communist era. Boys fashions appear to have leaked accross the border with Germany and Austria, but with a time lag. Modern Czech boys dressed virtually the same as other European boys. We are not sure to what extent boys wore dresses in the 19th century. Sailor suits and short pants seem popukar in the early 20th century. We note boys weearing both kneesocks and long stockings and ankle socks by the late 1950s. We note a few boys wearing smocks, but am not sure how common it was.


We have only begun to work on Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic at this time. Our information is still very limited. We only have some information on choirs, religion, and schools at this time as well as some information on sports. We are, however, slowly expanding this section. We note a lot of similarity with Germany, reflecting the long incorporation in the Austrian empire and geographic position bordering Germany. We hope to eventually expand our assessment of boys' activitities and associated clothing as we acquire more information about Czech boys clothing. Hopefully our Czech readers will help us expand our information here.


We do not have much information on Czechoslovakia families at this time as is the case of most small countries. And because that the Czech lands were for several centuries part of the multi-national Austrian Empire, there was a considerable mixing of ethnicities. This is reflected in the family images we have found from Czechoslovakia. We do have information about the Muller family of Hlohovec during the 1930s. Hlohovec is a town located in western Slovakia. Muller of course sounds German. There were of course many Germans in Cechoslovakia after the country was created following World War I. Many but not all lived in the Sudetenland, the mountanous border lands with Germany. The Mullers were, however, a prominent and wealthy Jewish family in the wholesale grain business. Magda and Nandor Muller had two children--Heinrich (born in 1930) and Alice (born in 1932). We do not know what happened to the family after the Slovak secession from Czechoslovakia (March 1939). Thge area may have been transferred to Hungary. Few Slovak Jews survived the NAZI Holocaust. We also note the Klimesch Family lived in Sternberk, Moravia during the 1930s. They look to be prosperous middle-class family. We have no idea what happened to the family during or after World War II. Dutch natioinality had mixed blessings after the German invasion (March 1939). The German racial obsession favored the Dutch, but they were also enemy aliens.


HBC has no information on pre-World War II (1939-45) Czech film. There was, however, an active film industry which developed during the Communist era (1945/48-89). Many of these films have useful information on children's clothes. The post Communist era was very short before Slovakia withdrew from the country, leaving the Czech Republic as the successor state.

Ethnic Groups

The largest ethnic group in Czechoslovakia were the Czechs followed by Slovakian. Minority groups included Germans, Jews, Gypsies, and Hungarians. The Sudetenland is German term for a frontier region of German-speaking people, meaning the "southern lands" in German. The Sudetenland is the area bounded by the Sudeten Mountains on the north the Erzgebirge Mountains on the northwest and the Bohemian Forest to the west.About 350,000 Jews lived in Czechoslovakia before the NAZIs seized the country after the Allies signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler. About one-third lived in Bohemia and Moravia. Jews in Czechoslovakia had full civil rights, enjoyed the same civil rights and religous freedom as all other Czech citizens.



About 350,000 Jews lived in Czechoslovakia before the NAZIs seized the country after the Allies signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler. About one-third lived in Bohemia and Moravia. Jews in Czechoslovakia had full civil rights, enjoyed the same civil rights and religous freedom as all other Czech citizens. We have few details about Jews in Czechoslvakia, but believe that they were highly assimilated. Note the Jewish boy on the dress page. Sudeten Jews were subjected to NAZI Germnlaws and regulations when after Munich Hitler seized the Sudetenland. Hitler subsequently seized Bohemia nd Moravia (March 1939). At this time Slovakia suceeded from Czechoslovakia and the country ceased to exist. The NAZIs set up the Protectirate of Bohemia nd Moravia. NAZI official von Neurath issued anti-Jewish decrees (June 21, 1939,). They were practically identical to the regulations in force in the Reich itsellf. As in Germany the regulations were designed to terminate all civil rights and confiscate as much Jewish property as possible. The measures quickly succeeded in destroying the economic viability of Czech Jews. The NAZIs were chillingly effective in their efforts to destroy Czech Jews in the Holocaust. After the NAZI victory in Poland, launching World War II, deportations began to concentration camps set up in Poland (October 1939). The death camps were operational by mid-1942 and by October 1942, about 75 percent of Czechoslovakian Jews had been deported, most of who were murdered at Auschwitz.


Czechs and Germans lived together in Central Europe since the middle ages. The advent of nationalism following the French Revolution resulted in rusing political tension (19th century). This would be the major factor leading to the creation of Czechoslovakia. Germans were the ruling minority in the Czech Lands before World war I. The Czechs under German rule within the Austro-Hungarian Empire considered themselves politically and economically disadvantaged. The creation of of Czechoslovakia reversed the situation. There were about 3 million Germans in independent Czechoslovakia. The German minority concentrated along the northern, western and southern fringes of Bohemia and Moravia. This mountenous was the border land between Germany and Bohemia and became known as the Sudetenland. Germans lived in Prague and other cities as well as a number of linguistic pocklets, but the bulk of the German population was found in the Sudetenland. For some Germans, adjusting to minority status among a Czech majority was a difficult adjustment. Most were able to make the adjustment, largely because the Czech state while not perfect was a functioning demoracy with the rule of law to protect minorities. One contemprary observer reports that until 1935, the vast majority of Germans in Czechoslovakia supported the German democratic parties to integrate within the Czech democratic system. [Wiskemann] The greatest concentration of Germans was in the Sudenteland, the mountaneous border region between Bohemnis and Germany. After 1935 the artitudes of the Sudeten Germans in particular begin to change. Many were impressed during the Depression with the apparent economic succes of NAZI Germany. Others were messmerized by latent German nationalism and the seemingly irresistable rize of NAZI power.

Sudenten Germans

The Sudetenland is German term for a frontier region of German-speaking people, meaning the "southern lands" in German. The Sudetenland is the area bounded by the Sudeten Mountains on the north the Erzgebirge Mountains on the northwest and the Bohemian Forest to the west. The Sudetenland was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1919 when it was awarded to a new Czechoslovakian nation created as part of the Versailles Peace Treaty. The population before World War II largely consisted of Sudeten Germans. NAZI agitators in the 1930s brought about the Munich crisis. As a result, Britain and France at Munich acceded to awarding the Sudetenland to the Germans. Prime Minister Chamberlin returned to London and proclaimed that he had achieved "Peace in our times". Hitler if he had stopped here would have probably been regarded by Germans as one of the greatest leaders in German history. The Sudentenland was critical as it constituted a natural barrier without which, the defense of Czechoslovakia was impossible. The NAZIs proceeded to dismember the rest of Czechoslovakia in 1939 during the months leading up to World War II. The Sudentland was annexed by the Reich. The NAZIs proceeded to Germanize the population, forcibly removing Czechs. The region was restored to a revived Czechoslovakia in 1945 after World War II and the Sudeten Germans forcibly relocated to Germany. The Sudentenland is today part of the Czech Republic.



The Czechs were one of the many European groups which emmihrated in substahntial numbers during the 19th century and early 20th century before World war I. The Government did not promote this emmigration, but did not place any major obstcles to those who wanted to emmigrate. The principal destination was the United States. We are mnot sure about the impact on Bohemia and other areas from which Czech immigrants came.

Individual Boys

We have few Czech personal accounts at this time. We do note the account of one boy with a German father and a Czech mother, Franz Zapletal, and his experiences during World War II. He seems as a boy to have been drawn to German nationalism. Unfortunately we have few details on his childhood. We note a boy in a village school in 1922. We do not know his name, but his clothing and that of the other boys illustrates a variety of trends. A HBC reader has provided us a snapshot of a unidentified pre-school Czech boy in 1927. We see a Czech boy named Karel Chech III earing a diamond pattern sweater, short pants, and long stockings in 1947.


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Crerated: December 20, 2002
Last updated: 6:32 PM 2/10/2012