chapter  3
34 Pages

Interwar Czechoslovakia– a national state for a multiethnic population

WithSabrina P. Ramet, Carol Skalnik Leff

After a rocky start, in which German- and Hungarian-inhabited areas were annexed by force, Czechoslovakia gradually built a functioning, if flawed, democracy. Although Germans, Hungarians, eastern Slavs, and Poles were all underrepresented in the civil service, among other disadvantages, German political parties joined the government in 1926 and the Czechoslovak democracy was gradually stabilizing itself in the late 1920s. Then the country was hit by three challenges that ultimately brought down the First Republic: first, the worldwide Depression, which began in late 1929; second, the rise of Konrad Henlein’s Sudeten German Party after 1935; and finally, the forced cession of the German-inhabited Sudetenland in October 1938, against the will of many of its German inhabitants, in the first act of the dismantlement of the Czechoslovak state.