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Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948$
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Mark Cornwall and R J W Evans

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263914

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263914.001.0001

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Czech-Slovak Relations in Czechoslovakia, 1918–1939

Czech-Slovak Relations in Czechoslovakia, 1918–1939

(p.12) (p.13) 2 Czech-Slovak Relations in Czechoslovakia, 1918–1939
Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe, 1918–1948

Jan Rychlík

British Academy

On October 28, 1918, the Czechoslovak state was proclaimed in Prague by the representatives of the main Czech political parties who formed the National Committee. In the proclamation addressed to the ‘Czechoslovak nation’, the Czech politicians claimed that the centuries-old dream of the nation has been realized. On October 30, the representatives of the Slovak political parties formed the Slovak National Council, which declared separation of Slovakia from Hungary. This chapter shows how Czechs and Slovaks welcomed the Czechoslovak state — but expected different things from it. It argues that the presumption of a single, unitary ‘Czechoslovak’ nation proved abortive from the very beginning, yet many Czechs failed to recognize this and therefore continued to underestimate the Slovak problem. That tended to undermine the country's raison d'être, which rested on the state rights of the majority population rather than on guarantees of an ethnic right. Autonomy was demanded by only one party, the Populists, and this did not command a majority among Slovaks at any point in the inter-war period. Nevertheless, their attachment to some form of separate status ran deep.

Keywords:   Czechs, Slovaks, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, political parties, state rights, autonomy, Populists

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