VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > C. Europe, 1919–1945 > 13. Czechoslovakia
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1913) (See 1919, Sept. 10)
13. Czechoslovakia
The new state, with a population of about 15 million, inherited the most valuable part of the old Austro-Hungarian monarchy, with most of the industrial areas. Levels of urbanization and the social structure, particularly in the Czech lands, were more similar to those of the industrialized Western European countries than to those of most other countries in the region. The literacy rate was also very high. Again, this tended to be particularly true of the Czech lands, causing some friction among regions of the country. Its political life after the war was dominated by the ethnic problem and the resulting multiplication of political parties.  1
However, Czechoslovakia earned a reputation as the most democratic nation in the region. Because of the strength of Czechoslovak democracy, for example, the Czechoslovak Communist Party, which was founded in 1921, was allowed to develop fully as a mass-based party, differing significantly from those parties based on the Soviet model.  2
The state of the economy also promoted stability. Since Czechoslovakia had coal and iron mines and modern brewing and textile industries, its economy was better balanced between industry and agriculture than that of any other country in this area. This too, however, varied regionally. Attempts to industrialize Slovakia failed, partly as a result of the world depression. Even with recovery in the mid-1930s, Slovakia's level of development remained far below that of Bohemia and Moravia.  3
1918, Oct. 14
The Czechoslovak national council in Paris organized a provisional government, with Thomas Garrigue Masaryk as president and Eduard Bene as foreign minister.  4
Oct. 28
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, by the national council.  5
Oct. 30
The Slovak national council voted for union with the Czechs.  6
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.