World War I ended in the year of 1918 and one result was that the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was divided into different independent states - the birth of the Czechoslovak Republic was one result. After 16 long years Tomas Masaryk, the first man to hold the presidency, retired 1935 leaving the post of President to his long-time colleague Edvard Benes.
In 1935, Tomas Masaryk, the first man to hold the presidency, retired. He left the post of President to his long-time colleague Edvard Benes. During his time of presidency, he tried to implement democracy. Many problems occurred, and the most difficult one was the rise of Nazism in Germany. One of Hitler's main aims was to destroy the Treaty of Versailles and to unite all Germans living in other countries.
He demanded the incorporation of a part of Czechoslovakia, named Sudetenland. Hitler's request was granted in the Munich Agreement by the Western powers. It was said to be his last territorial claim in Europe. In March 1939 Hitler and Germany took most of the rest of Czechoslovakia. The importance of the Czech crisis as a background to World War II, cannot be underestimated. Stalin feared a German attack and signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. When Germany attacked Poland. World War II started. Czechoslovakia was liberated by Soviet and American forces by the end of World War II.
The communists obtained political power through free elections and Czechoslovakia became, step by step during 1945-48, a Soviets satellite. Czechoslovakia was probably the only country in Eastern Europe after World War II, where there was a support for communism. The reason for this was the Munich Agreement in 1938. The Czechs couldn't forget that parts of their country had been handed over to Nazi Germany, by the Western powers. Czechoslovakia was now the last outpost against the West. In the 1960s an economical recession weakened the communist political control of the country. New times were about to come that would raise hope of liberation and sovereignty among the people.
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