Czech Republic History

By | November 19, 2021

Kingdom of Bohemia

According to Andyeducation, the Czech territory was unified at the end of the 9th century by the dynasty of the Premyslites (Czech Premyslovci, this name means those who think a lot). The Kingdom of Bohemia was a significant regional power, with the King of Bohemia being one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Emperor, the gold mines turned the kingdom into a power that had no taxes, and could recruit mercenaries almost without limit., for the wealth of the mines maintained the power of the kingdom until its exhaustion.

For the next five hundred years it was a stable kingdom, center of culture and education in Central Europe. During the reign of Carlos IV of Luxembourg (1344-1378), Bohemia lived its golden age (always sponsored by the mines of the same metal). Charles IV made this monarchy the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1348 he founded the Carolina University in Prague, the oldest center for higher studies in Central Europe.

Hussite rebellion

At the beginning of the 15th century, during the Bohemian reign of Wenceslao IV, son of Carlos IV, voices began to be heard opposing the injustices of the Church and calling for its reform. The most relevant personality of the movement was the rector of the University of Prague, Master Jan Hus. His sermons, which prefigure Protestantism, provoke rejection in the Church, but have a great echo throughout the country. Hus is called in 1414 to Constance to face an ecclesiastical court with charges of heresy. Despite the pressure and imprisonment, Hus did not retract his opinions, so on July 6, 1415 he was burned as a heretic at the decision of the Council of Constance.

When news of Hus’s death reached Bohemia, the rivalry between the Hussites – who supported Hus’ ideas of reforming the church – and the Catholics gradually turned into open enmity. The defenestration of councilors and aediles from the windows of the Prague city hall and the concentration of Hussites in cities and mountains was the beginning of the revolution and the wars that followed. In 1420 the rebels founded the city of Tábor, which later became the center of the Hussite revolution.

The church reacted to events in the Czech countries from the year 1420 and, from then until 1431, promoted five crusades. All were defeated by the Hussite militia, commanded by Jan Žižka. But the Hussite side was embroiled in internal disputes between the radicals and those seeking an agreement with the emperor and the church, disputes that led to the fratricidal Battle of Lipany in 1434. In 1436 an agreement was finally reached with the emperor Sigismund and with the Kingdom of Bohemia.

In 1448, George de Podiebrad (Czech: Ji? Í z Pod? Brad), who was the first Protestant king of Europe, was elected regent and in 1458 king. Since his reign, he promoted the creation of a reformed church (the Fraternal Units), and he also tried to spread throughout Europe the need to create a European unit that would prevent future wars. On the death of this “Hussite king”, the Polish dynasty of the Jagiellon rose to the Czech throne, ruling until 1526 when, after the death of the king [[Louis II Louis of Jagiellon at the Battle of Mohács, he was elected Czech king the Catholic Ferdinand I of Austria.

Austro-Hungarian Empire

After the dynasty of the Polish kings Jagiellon, Ferdinand I of Habsburg was elected in 1526 to the Czech throne. With this act, and for almost four hundred years, the Habsburg dynasty occupied the Czech crown, and therefore, became part of the Austrian Empire, later Austro-Hungarian. Under the Habsburg regime, Bohemia suffered devastating wars such as the Thirty Years ‘War in the 17th century and the Seven Years’ War during the time of Queen Maria Theresa in 1756-1763, but it also benefited from the economic boost and social experience that the monarchy lived during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that made Bohemia the industrial heart of the Monarchy.

First Republic

After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, the Czechs along with their neighbors the Slovaks united to form the independent republic of Czechoslovakia in 1918.

On 28 July as as 1914 outbreak of the World War One. The dream of an independent Czechoslovak state regains force, led by Professor Tomás Masaryk, who, after the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, succeeded in founding an independent and sovereign state on October 28, 1918, of which he was elected the first president. on November 14, 1918. At this time Czechoslovakia was made up of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, part of Silesia and Subarpathy-Ruthenia. ‘

The 29 of February of 1920 the first Czechoslovak constitution, based on promulgating the United States and France. Despite this, they were times of political turmoil, only tempered by the extensive economic development that made Czechoslovakia one of the 10 most powerful economies in the world, where the industry was at its finest.

Nazi protectorate

By 1929 internal instability was driven by movements for Slovak autonomy and by the discontent and unrest of the more than three million Germans living in the Czech countries, who had lost their privileges after the disappearance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. To this must be added the great depression of 1930 that began to affect Czechoslovakia in 1932, when industrial production fell by 60%, causing the loss of millions of jobs and the emigration of many Slavs, which gave birth to the nationalist movement Slovak.

In this context, many Bohemian Germans adhere to the nationalist ideas of the neighboring country and join the Nazi Party. This situation is exploited by Hitler who threatens the then president Edvard Beneš and intimidates him into handing over the Sudetenland, border regions populated mainly by Germans. This Nazi attitude is supported by a shameful agreement carried out in Munich (Munich Accords), to which England (Neville Chamberlain) and France (Édouard Daladier) adhered, on September 29, 1938, who had no intention of entering the a war with the Reich in defense of Czechoslovakia. Abandoned for England and France, Beneš yielded to the pressures of Hitler and this one annexed these territories to Germany.

The country fragments and Slovakia becomes a satellite of the Nazi regime in 1939. Large numbers of Czechs were shot by the Nazis to eliminate resistance and tens of thousands of Czech and Slovak Jews lost their lives in concentration camps. Taking advantage of the weakness in which the government of President Beneš had remained, Poland and Hungary also claimed territories, which were ceded for fear of a large-scale invasion by the Nazis, which eventually occurred. The Nazis occupied the disintegrated Czechoslovakia, creating the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. President Beneš had to flee to London, where he formed a government in exile. 

Czech Republic History