chapter  4
The Economy
WithDavid W. Paul
Pages 23

Czechoslovakia’s economy has gone through many ups and downs. Its pre-World War II capitalistic system was built upon a firm base inherited from the old Austrian order. Despite great disparities between the more developed western provinces and the backward eastern regions, the First Republic was one of the most advanced industrial states in Europe. The development of Czechoslovakia’s economy, like its history, has been influenced by its geographical setting as well as by the political realities of its Central European location. Bohemia and Moravia, blessed by much fertile farmland and favored by the investment climate of nineteenth-century Austria, have long been modern, industrial regions. A geographer once described Czechoslovakia as “a veritable mosaic of physiographic units,” indicating that this small country has quite a variety of different land forms. The Czechoslovak Republic inherited a wealth of already-developed industry from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.