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History - The invasion of Czechoslovakia
1938 - March the 28th 1938 - Sudetenland crisis begins
April the 24th - SdP issued the Carlsbad Decrees
April the 26th - Czechoslovak government accepted Henlein’s Home Rule demands
May the 20th - Czechoslovak government in response to rumors of German troop movements had ordered its troops to the German border.
August - Chamberlain sends in lord Runciman to negotiate a settlement between the SdP and the Czechoslovak government (failed)
September the 29th/30th – Chamberlain appeases, Munich Agreement signed

Czechoslovakia had a modern army, border fortifications and alliances and agreements which could have countered Hitler, would have Chamberlain not appeased again. But as a result of the agreement, Czechoslovakia had lost its border fortifications, 70% of its iron/steel production, 70% of its electrical power, 3.5 million inhabitants, and the Škoda armament Works to Germany. On October the 5th, Benes resigned. The initial occupation of Czechoslovak territory commenced on the day the agreement was signed.
The First Vienna Award

Czechoslovakia began crumbling to pieces soon after. The First Vienna Award was a result of the Munich Agreement, which in early November of 1938 forced Czechoslovakia to cede a third of the Slovak territory (entire southern part) to Hungary. Germany and Italy were behind the pressure made on Czechoslovakia, and as a result of the award, Poland occupied some little territory after as well. It is interesting to note, that soon after the Munich Agreement 115,000 Czechs and 30,000 Germans fled to the remaining rump of Czechoslovakia.

On 5th October 1938, autonomous Slovak government led by a Christian priest Jozef Tiso was formed. On 8th October, Subcarpathian Ruthenia declared an autonomous government. The pro-Ukrainian faction, led by Avhustyn Voloshyn, gained control of the local government and Subcarpathian Ruthenia was renamed Carpatho-Ukraine. In November, Emil Hácha succeeded Beneš, and became the president of the federated Second Republic, renamed Czecho-Slovakia and consisting of three parts: Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, and Carpatho-Ukraine. Without its natural frontier and having lost its costly system of border fortification, the new state was militarily defenseless, though it began building new forts along its new border. In January 1939, negotiations between Germany and Poland broke down. Hitler, wanting war with Poland, needed to eliminate Czechoslovakia first. German invasion of Bohemia and Moravia began on the morning of March 15. Hitler also negotiated with the Slovak People's Party and with Hungary to prepare the dismemberment of the republic before the invasion. On March 13, he invited Jozef Tiso to Berlin and on March 14, the Slovak Diet convened and unanimously declared Slovak independence. Carpatho-Ukraine also declared independence but Hungarian troops occupied it on March 15 and eastern Slovakia on March 23. Hitler summoned President Hácha to Berlin and during the early hours of March 15, informed him of the German invasion. Under the threat of a Luftwaffe attack on Prague, Hitler persuaded Hácha to order the capitulation of the Czechoslovak army. On the morning of March 15, German troops entered Bohemia and Moravia, meeting no resistance. The Hungarian invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine encountered some resistance, but the Hungarian army quickly crushed it. On March 16, Hitler went to Czechoslovakia and from Prague Castle proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. Although the Czechoslovak army, supported by some new forts along the new border, was ready to fight, for the second time in its history, weakened by foreign aggression and internal tensions, Czechoslovakia gave up peacefully.


When Mussolini saw how easily and without any resistance Hitler gained more territory, he decided to invade Albania. Also, Britain and France gave Poland guarantees of aid in case of invasion, and expanded their influence even further, making treaties with Greece and Romania.



Marek Rapant
British International School of Bratislava


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Bratislava History Project
British International School of Bratislava
Peknikova 6, 841 02 Bratislava
+ 421 2 6930 7081 info@bisb.sk


Contact : Richard Jones-Nerzic