October 28 - Czechoslovak Independence Day
Czechoslovak independence was declared on Wenceslas Square on October 28,
1918, beginning a new era for two nations which had previously been part
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The majority of Czech society did not regard the Austro-Hungarian state as
their own. However, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 put
national questions within the multi-national Austro-Hungary Empire on the
backburner. The only real "war against a central power" was
carried out by Czech exiles led by TG Masaryk and a small circle of
During 1916 Masaryk, Edvard Beneš and MR Štefánik established what was
later called the Czechoslovak national council; it became the main force
in the anti-Austrian resistance. Domestic politicians appeared on the
scene with the Three Kings' declaration at the start of January 1918. The
declaration was launched with a coordinated call for independence both at
home and abroad.
One of the hottest issues within the framework of the declaration and
maintenance of independence was the supplying of the Austrian military
with food exported from Bohemia and Moravia. The agricultural council led
by Antonin Švehla attempted to keep and hide as much supplies as possible.
In the early hours of October 28, 1918 the agricultural council, in the
name of the National Committee, took over the cereal institute in order to
prevent the transport of grain to the front.
This was followed by the
dissemination of information recognising Austro-Hungary's peace
conditions. That evening the National Committee issued the first law on
the establishment of an independent state.
In this way two weeks before the end of the war to this day is known as
the "First Republic" was founded. The term applies to the period
from October 1918 then until the Munich Agreement of 1938.