Slovakian History


Figure 1.--The Soviets as in other countries in its Eastern European empire saw to it that the Young Pioneers were organized to help propagate Communist ideology. Participation was compulsory. This photograph is undated, but was probably taken in the 1970s.

At the dawn of recorded history, Slovakia like much of western and central Europe was inhabited by the Celts. They were suplanted by waves of barbarians from the east, first the Germans and than the Slavs. Modern Slovakians trace their origins to these Slavs. The first real state was founded by a Samo, a Frankish merchant (mid-7th century). The powerful Moravia Empire included much of modern Slovakia (9th century). The first Christian missionaries were Orthodox (Cyril and Methodius) introduced the Cyrillic alphabet, created to write Slavic languages. Evetually the Roman Catholic church dominated the area. Another wastern people, the Magyars (Hungarians) began to move into Slovakia which became part of their territory late-9th century). This was the beginning of Hungarian control of Slovakia, a phenomenon that continued into the 20th century. The Mongols (often called Tartsars in Slovakia) invaded Hungary (13th cettunry). A weakened Hungary was less able to cotrol Slovakia. Slovaks were ablle to develop contacts with the neigboring Czechs in Bohemisa, a people with a closely relasted language. Czechs fleeing from the Hussite religious wars in Bohemia moved east (15th century). The Ottomons defeated the Hungarian Army at Mohacs (1526). The Hungarian dynasty also perished. Hungary was divided into three parts. Royal Hungary (including Slovakia) was inherited by the Hapsburg dynasty. Bratislava became the Hapsburg Hungarian capital. The Hapsburgs drove the Ottomans out of Hungary (late-17th century). At this time the Hungarian capital was moved to Budapest. Slovakia remained firmly Catholic during te Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Church became a strong influence in Slovakia. Hapsburg Emperors particulsarly Josef II (17651790) promoted policies designed to germanify the Austrian Empire (late 18th century). The Fremnch Revolution contributed to nationalist sentiment. The result was the stmulation of Hungarian nationalist sentiment and in turn Slovak national self-consciousness. World War I and the weakening of the Austro-Hungarian Empire provided the opportunity to join with the Czechs to finally achieve an independent state. Czechoslovakia became the only dempcracy to emerge from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most Slovaks appear to have supported Czechoslovakia, but Slovak nationalists dominated by Jozef Tiso's People's Party advocated independence. Slovak separatists were a major concern in Czechoslvak politics. Hitler demanded the Sudetenland from Czechoslavakia (1938). When Hitler invaded Czechosdlovakia (1939), the Slovakjs encouraged by the NAZIs declared indepndence. Poland and Hungary seized parts of Slovakia. What was left of Slovakia became a NAZI puppet state under President Tiso who cooperated in the Holocaustand supported the NAZI war effort. After World War II, Czechoslovakia was reunited. Most of the country was liberated by the Red Army. The security forces were thus controlled by the Soviets who engineered a Communist coup (1948). This was followed by Stalinisdt purges and hardline policies. Gradually reformist seized control of the Czech Communist Party in the Prague Sprng. The Soviet Union supressed the movement, but along with the rest of Eastern Europe, the Communists were ousted (1989). Slovak separtists engineered a break with the Czechs (1992).

Pre-history

Archeologists have found evidence of humans tools (270,000 BP). A depiction of a woman, a so-called Venus, made from a mammoth bone was found in 1940. It has been dated to (22,800 BC).

Ancient History

At the dawn of recorded history, Slovakia like much of western and central Europe was inhabited by the Celts. They were suplanted by waves of barbarians from the east, first the Germans and than the Slavs. Modern Slovakians trace their origins to these Slavs.

Medieval Era

Slavs arrived in the territory that is now Slovakia (5th and 6th century). The first real state in what is now Slovakia was founded by a Samo, a Frankish merchant (mid-7th century). The powerful Moravia Empire included much of modern Slovakia (9th century). The first Christian missionaries were Orthodox (Cyril and Methodius) introduced the Cyrillic alphabet, created to write Slavic languages. Evetually the Roman Catholic church dominated the area. Another wastern people, the Magyars (Hungarians) began to move into Slovakia which became part of their territory late-9th century). This was the beginning of Hungarian control of Slovakia, sa phenomenon that continued into the 20h century. The Mongols (often called Tartsars in Slovakia) invaded Hungary (13th cettunry). A weakened Hungary was less able to cotrol Slovakia. Slovaks were ablle to develop contacts with the neigboring Czechs in Bohemisa, a people with a closely relasted language. The most famous Slovakian hero is Juraj Janosik. He is basically the Slovakian answer to Robin Hood. Just in a more colorful outfit! Czechs fleeing from the Hussite religious wars in Bohemia moved east (15th century). The Ottomons defeated the Hungarian Army at Mohacs (1526). The Hungarian dynasty also perished. Hungary was divided into three parts. Royal Hungary (including Slovakia) was inherited by the Hapsburg dynasty. Bratislava became the Hapsburg Hungarian capital. The Hapsburgs drove the Ottomans out of Hungary (late-17th century). At this time the Hungarian capital was moved to Budapest.

The Reformation

Slovakia remained firmly Catholic during te Reformatiin and Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Church became a strong influence in Slovakia.

Austrian-Hungarian Rule

Hapsburg Emperors particulsarly Josef II (17651790) promoted policies designed to germanify the Austrian Empire (late 18th century). The Fremnch Revolution contributed to nationalist sentiment. The result was the stmulation of Hungarian nationsalist sentiment and in turn Slovak national self-consciousness. The rural nature of Slovsakia meant that Slovask nsationalism was at first weak. Slocakians was one of many people touched by the 1848 Revolution. The Slovaks formulsted "Demands of the Slovak Nation". The program included the use of Slovak in schools, courts, and other settings, and demanded creation of a Slovak assembly. The Hungarians rejected the demands and contnued policies designed to suppress Slovak nationalist sentiment. Prussia's victory in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) resulted in the fomsation of the Astro-Hungariasn Empire (1867). While the Hungarians achieved concessions from the Austrian Hapsburg monarchy, they continued to supress Slovakians and pursued a rogram of Magyarification. The only important Slovakin institution was the church.

World War I (1914-18)

Slovakia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus fought the War on the side of the Central Powers. World War I and the weakening of the Austro-Hungarian Empire provided the opportunity to join with the Czechs to finally sachieve an independent state. Czech and Slovak immigrants in America provide important support after America entered the War (1917).

Czechoslovakia (1918-39)

The Czechs declared independence (October 28, 1918). The Slovaks seceded from Hungary (October 30). They created the Czecho-Slovak Republic which became Czechoslovakia. This became the only dempcracy to emerge from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There were some difficulties resulting from the fact thast the majority Czechs were more developoed economically and dominated the new state politically. Most Slovaks appear to have supported Czechoslovakia, but Slovak nationalists dominated by Jozef Tiso's People's Party advocated independence. Slovak separatists were a major concern in Czechoslvak politics. Hitler demanded the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia (1938). Britian and France failed to back the Czechs at Munich. This fataly weakened Czechoslavakia.

World War II (1939-45)

Slovak nationalists were strengthened and when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia (1939),. Slovakia seceeded from Czechoslovakia as the Wehrmact massed on the Czrch border. Slovakia declared independence as the Slovak Republic (March 14, 1939). Poland and Hungary seized parts of Slovakia. What was left of Slovakia became a NAZI puppet state under President Tiso who cooperated in the Holocaust and supported the NAZI war effort. Monsignor Tiso was elected president. Tiso might be described as a clerical nationalist. Tiso was a strident natinalist, but not a NAZI. His vission was a independent nationalist, Christian, corporative state. Tiso faced even more radical Slovak nationalists and their paramilitary Hlinka Guards--the Slovak version of the SA Storm Troopers. The radical nationalists were more clearly Fascists and cooperated with the NAZIs who also entered Slovakia (March 15). The radical nationalists worked closely with strongly NAZI German minority led by Franz Karmasin. As a result, radicals dominated the Slovak government. Vojtech Tuka gad been released from prison and became prime minister. An ally Ferdinand Durcansky was appointed foreign minister. Hlinka Guard commander Alexander Mach was appointed propaganda minister. Slovakia became a compliant NAZI puppetstate. A NAZI "advisory mission" was installed in each Slovak ministry. The Wehrmact had entered Slovakia (March 15) and soon was stationed throughout the country. Slovakia became the most slavishly obedient of all the NAZI satellite regimes.

Cold War

After World War II, Czechoslovakia was reunited. Most of the country was liberated by the Soviets. The security forces were thus controlled by the Sviets who engineered a Communist coup (1948). This shocked the West and was a major step leading to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This was followed by Stalinist purges and hardline policies. Gradually reformist seized control of the Czech Communist Party in the Prague Sprng. The Soviet Union supressed the movement.

Velvet Revolution (1989)

Along with the rest of Eastern Europe, the Communists were ousted (1989).

Independent Slovakia (1992)

Slovak separtists engineered a break with the Czechs (1992).






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Created: 5:04 AM 9/11/2009
Last updated: 9:43 PM 12/6/2015