Each and every historian has his/her own opinion, and Mr. Anton Spiesz is not and exclusion of this rule, his honest historical truth as he sees it portraying what past times have witnessed, while many aspects were hidden from the general public.

Who are the Slovaks? What is their contribution to the Western culture?

Located at the geographical and cultural crossroads of Central Europe, the Slovak Republic has emerged as an increasingly important player on the world stage with membership in NATO and the EU. It has come out of centuries of foreign rule, with a Velvet Revolution, to build an “investors’ paradise”. This book explores the Slovaks and fills a gap in the history and development of the Slovak nation in the context of Central Europe.

What does the hyphen mean in the name of the Slovak country?

Page 336 reads: “As the First World War came to a close, Slovak representatives met in Turciansky Svaty Martin and decided to join the Chechs in forming a new state, named the Czech-Slovak Republic. It marked the beginning of a new chapter in Slovak History, one in which Slovaks became freer to develop to their fullest potential. ”

So, the hyphen appeared.

“Life in the new democratic state brought tremendous social progress to Slovakia. In it Slovaks obtained an array of national and civil rights, including educational opportunities not available before 1918. For the times, Czech-Slovakia had some of the most progressive labor legislation in Europe, including an eight-hour day, unemployment benefits, old age pensions and, after 1925, guaranteed paid holidays.

One of the reasons for the rise in trade union membership was a 1921 law, which introduced the “Ghent System” of unemployment contributions of unions, but without exceeding, in total, two-thirds of an employee’s average wage. Slovak national self-awareness increased as more and more people acquired an education. Even Germans benefited culturally, as more German schools opened. But the Magyar minority in Souther Slovakia resented separation from Hungary.

However, economically the picture was not as rosy. Joined to a more developed Bohemia and Moravia, Slovak industry and agriculture suffered from competition. In the post-war years, many workers lost their jobs as a difficult transition took place. Some of the more radical parties, such as the Communists, looked for alternative solutions to economic and political problems.

There were other factors, too, that served to divide the Slovaks and Czechs. The greater religiosity of Slovaks tended to clash with Czech secularism. Catholic Slovaks resented the preference shown to Protestants and Czechs and some Slovaks esposed, increasingly polarized Slovak political life. These clashes led to a strong movement towards Slovak autonomy under the leadership of a nationalist Catholic priest, Andrej Hlinka. Tis Slovak People’s Party and the Agrarian Party, led by Milan Hodza< were the two largest and most successful political parties in interwar Slovakia.”

During the early years of the First republic, the state was always referred to as Czecho-Slovakia: hyphenated and with a capital “S” for Slovakia. As the state became gradually more centralist, the hyphen disappeared. The 1920 Constitution, not discussed her by Spiesz, adopted the name “Czecho-Slovakia” and the adjective Czecho-Slovak. “Czecho-Slovak” was named the official language, though no such language actually existed. The hyphen came back in 1938 when Slovakia became autonomous, then left again in 1945 when Slovakia was annexed to Czech-Slovakia. The Communists used the spelling “Czechslovakia”. But the issue was still not ready to rest, the hyphen re-emerged in 1989 when Communism collapsed.

So, the hyphen means a lot as one can see.

On the plain example of a small European country as the Slovak Republic, it means: a free independent country with its own language, culture, music, crafts, folk singing.

Listen to: Heligonka, Vlasta Mudrikova, Festival of Heligonky, SERED 2011

This is a presentation of the Book “Illustrated Slovak History” :

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