Czechoslovakia: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Czechoslovakia.



Location--In the "heart of Europe" according to traditional descriptions; is roughly midway between Spain and Moscow, and between Britain and Greece. A landlocked country bordered by Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and the U.S.S.R.

How Created--In the 6th century the westernmost of migrating Slavic tribes settled in the present area (a large plateau region with mountains on 3 sides); they became split into 2 peoples, Czechs and Slovaks, when the eastern half (Slovakia) was occupied in the 10th century by Hungarians (who stayed until 1918).

Size--49,373 sq. mi. (127,876 sq. km.), about the size of New York State.

Population--15 million: Czech, 65.1%; Slovak, 29.2%; Magyar, 4%; German, Polish, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, and others, 1.7%. 50% Roman Catholic, 7% Czechoslovak Church, 3% Lutheran.

Who Rules--Cabinet and Federal Assembly drawn from Communist, Socialist, and Catholic parties. Also 2 state governments, one for the Czech region and one for Slovakia, empowered to decide on all matters except foreign affairs, national economy and defense, and international trade.

Who REALLY Rules--A 3-part coalition: the Soviet Union (through its secret police, embassy, and army), Gustav Husak (moderate head of the Czechoslovak Communist party), and some hardline Czechoslovak communists (the liberal ones were all purged by the Russians in 1969-1970).

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