World of Coins

Modern European coins except the euro => Central and Eastern Europe => Central Europe => Topic started by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 12:53:54 AM

Title: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 12:53:54 AM
To understand the First Slovak Republic, it is first necessary to recall how Czechoslovakia arose from the ruins of Austria-Hungary. Below you see a map of Austria-Hungary in 1910, showing its many ethnicities. The map was evidently compiled some years ago, as it groups Croat, Serbs and Bosnians together.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 12:55:11 AM
At the end of the First World War, four empires fell apart; Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The various ethnic groups of these huge states scrambled to occupy as much territory as they could for their newly independent countries. They were supported in this aim by the Allied Powers of Britain, France and the USA, who wanted to smash the power of Germany and Austria-Hungary forever. Out of this maelstrom there emerged, amongst others, the new states of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and what eventually became Yugoslavia. Austria-Hungary was split asunder, and Hungary lost much of its former territory to Romania, Czechoslovakia and Serbia. Germany lost a vast swath of territory to Poland, which separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The former German city of Danzig was also separated from Germany and became a Free City under the protection of the League of Nations. These changes to the map of Europe were largely created by the force of arms but later ratified by the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, which the victorious British and French imposed on Austria-Hungary and Germany.

Those Austrians who were ethnically German considered that a rump Austria would not be viable, so they aimed to merge with Germany. Such a union was expressly forbidden by the Versailles Treaty, but the desire for union remained strong among many Austrians and also some German. Though the Allied Powers expressed the right of nations to self-determination, many ethnic Germans and Hungarians ended up as minorities in the new states and felt unfairly treated. The new state of Czechoslovakia in particular contained a complex mixture of ethnicities, but the Allied Powers believed that the country would not be viable as a state if it were divided among the nationalities.

The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on 28 October 1918 by the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague. Point 10 of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points stated: "The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development."

The boundaries of the country and the organization of its government were established in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920. Tomáš Garrigue, leader of the Provisional Czechoslovak Government, was elected the country's first president in 1920. He was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, and served as president until 14 December 1935, when he was succeeded by Edvard Beneš.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 12:56:55 AM
The constitution identified the "Czechoslovak nation" as the creator and principal constituent of the Czechoslovak state and established Czech and Slovak as official languages. National minorities were assured special protection; in districts where they constituted 20% of the population, minority ethnic groups were granted full freedom to use their language in everyday life.

The official census of 1930 provided a demographic breakdown of the country, but it notably grouped Czechs and Slovaks together as “Czechoslovaks”. Many Slovaks, in particular, believed that the idea of a Czechoslovak was an artificial concept. However, the grouping together of Czech and Slovaks as Czechoslovaks was used to obscure the problematic fact that there were more indigenous ethnic Germans in the country than Slovaks.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 12:59:52 AM
Despite this, the country remained a relatively stable parliamentary democracy. It was however rather centralised, as the assemblies of the minority ethnic regions were not allowed a great amount of autonomy, which was resented by some of the ethnic minorities. Below you see the administrative divisions of Czechoslovakia from 1928 to 1938. The Czechs mainly lived in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. The Ruthenians, of Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, would nowadays be labelled as ethnic Ukrainians.

Initially, many Slovaks simply wanted more autonomy within Czechoslovakia, since Slovakia on its own would not have been considered a particularly viable state by some.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 01:05:42 AM
Here you see the linguistic groupings of Czechoslovakia in 1930. It is rather a patchwork quilt. Various politicians in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland were keen to expand their borders, since some of their ethnic kin lived within Czechoslovakia, so this was a dangerous time for the country, which generally tried to ally itself with friendly France and Britain.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 01:09:20 AM
Below is a map of how Europe looked by 1923, showing Czechoslovakia, as it remained until 1938. Those forum members who are old enough to remember Czechoslovakia of 1945 to 1992 will notice that it was considerably larger in those days. I suspect they also know why that was so, but in any case I shall explain it later in this topic.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 01:16:50 AM

Czechoslovakia, 5 haleru, 1938.


Czechoslovakia, 10 haleru, 1935.


Czechoslovakia, 20 haleru, 1938.


Czechoslovakia, 1 koruna, 1938.


Czechoslovakia, 5 korun, 1938.

Above you see some of the Czechoslovak coinage of the day.  The relative sizes are not shown to scale.

The images are taken from: Currency of Czechoslovakia 1918-1992 (,11684.0.html).

Below you see the country's lesser coat of arms that appeared on the obverse of the coins. It shows the Slovak double cross superimposed on the lion of Bohemia.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 01:23:03 AM
The Great Depression began in 1929, lingering into the 1930s. The hard economic times that ensued created political problems throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

From Wikipedia:

Czechoslovakia's economy was already very uneven. Most of its industry was located in Bohemia and Moravia, while most of Slovakia's economy came from agriculture. In Carpatho-Ukraine, the situation was even worse, with basically no industry at all. National disputes arose due to the fact that the more numerous Czechs dominated the central government and other national institutions, all of which had their seats in the Bohemian capital Prague. The Slovak middle class had been extremely small in 1919 because Hungarians, Germans and Jews had previously filled most administrative, professional and commercial positions in, and as a result, the Czechs had to be posted to the more backward Slovakia to take up the administrative and professional posts. The position of the Jewish community, especially in Slovakia was ambiguous and, increasingly, a significant part looked towards Zionism.

Due to Czechoslovakia's centralized political structure, nationalism arose in the non-Czech nationalities, and several parties and movements were formed with the aim of broader political autonomy, like the Sudeten German Party led by Konrad Henlein and the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party led by Andrej Hlinka.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 02:25:08 PM
In January 1933 Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. Within six months he had turned Germany into a one-party state. He aimed first of all to unite all his ethnic Germans into a single state. This meant regaining territory that Germany had lost after World War 1. He also aimed to “eliminate” the Jews from Germany and then to push east and reconquer the Slav lands that he believed should belong to Germany, turning Slavs into “slave peoples” and ultimately destroying the Soviet Union and communism.

As part of his tactics, Hitler secretly financed the Sudeten German Party (SGP) of Czechoslovakia, which had been formed in 1933 by Konrad Henlein. The Sudetenland is the historical German name for the outlying areas of former Czechoslovakia that were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. "Sudeten" is the German name for the Sudetes mountains, which run along the northern Czech border and Lower Silesia (now in Poland), although the Sudetenland encompassed areas well beyond those mountains.

After the general elections of 19 May 1935, the SGP became the second largest party in parliament. It won 44 seats in the Chamber, beaten only by the Agrarian Party with 45, and 23 in the Senate, the same number as the Agrarian Party. However, the ruling coalition did not invite the SGP into government.

Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 02:25:53 PM

Konrad Henlein

The Anschluss in March 1938, when Germany annexed Austria, caused much excitement in the Sudetenland. On 28 March 1938, Henlein secretly visited Berlin to meet Hitler, where it was agreed that Henlein would make demands for autonomy for the Sudetenland that would provide the pretext for a German invasion. Hitler told Henlein to make demands that the Czechoslovak government could never accept, while also subtly promoting the message that ethnic Germans and Czechs could not co-exist in the same country. Hitler wanted the main story in the world media to be that of Czech "oppression" of the Sudeten Germans. This would make Czechoslovakia appear weak and unstable, and hence unworthy of support by France and Britain.

On 24 April 1938, at a party congress in Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia (now Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic), Henlein announced the 8-point Karlsbad programme for autonomy for the Sudetenland while insisting that he was still loyal to Czechoslovakia. His apparent moderation masked a sinister purpose, namely to make Czechoslovakia appear intransigent in refusing to grant autonomy for the Sudetenland, thus "forcing" Germany to invade. Czechoslovakia was an unitary state, and Czech public opinion was consistently hostile to plans for federalism in Czechoslovakia. The Karlsbad programme set off the crisis that led to the Munich Agreement in September.  Henlein's speech in Karlsbad received extensive newspaper coverage all over the world, and it raised acute tensions between Berlin and Prague when the German government declared its support for the Karlsbad programme.

Starting on 12 May 1938, Henlein visited London to press his case for autonomy, and impressed almost everyone he met as an apparently reasonable, mild-mannered man full of genial charm, who was simply asking for autonomy for his people. On 25 May, Lord Halifax privately told Commonwealth officials that Czechoslovakia in its present form was untenable, as the ethnic Germans and Czechs simply could not get along, and that he favored autonomy for the Sudetenland as the best case scenario, but he favored allowing Germany to annex the Sudetenland if Henlein could not reach an agreement with Prime Minister Hodža.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 08, 2018, 07:05:09 PM
In May 1938 Hitler was already planning for war with Czechoslovakia, and he had decided on October 1st of that year. He wanted to test the German armed forces and begin his push towards the East. In the following months, he escalated his war of words against Czechoslovakia. In early September 1938, President Beneš announced the "Fourth Plan" for constitutional changes to make Czechoslovakia into a federation. This did not meet all of the demands of the Karlsbad programme but would grant the Sudetenland autonomy. Henlein announced on 7 September 1938 that he was breaking off all contact with the Czechoslovak government, saying he was not interested in compromise.

On 12 September 1938, in his war-like speech at the Nuremberg Party Rally, Hitler dropped the demand for mere autonomy for the Sudetenland and formally demanded that the Sudetenland join Germany. From 12 September 1938 onward, Henlein helped organise numerous terrorist attacks and two coup attempts. This attempted uprising was quickly suppressed by Czechoslovak forces, whereafter Henlein fled to Germany, only to start numerous intrusions into Czechoslovak territory.

Meanwhile the British and French tried to save the peace of Europe. The British had already decided that Czechoslovakia was a lost cause and that it was inevitable that the Sudetenland would become German. Neither was France prepared to  fight a major war over the issue. Prime Minister Chamberlain flew to Germany and eventually received Hitler's agreement that he would accept mere autonomy for the Sudetenland, after the Czechoslovaks agreed to hold a plebiscite (referendum). However, the volatile Hitler, desperate to have his planned war, quickly changed his mind and accused the Czechoslovaks of stalling and insincerity.

Czechoslovakia began mobilising its armed forces, but on 24th September, Hitler demanded that the Czechoslovaks accept his Sudetenland ultimatum by 14:00 on 28th September, otherwise he would take it by force. Eventually he postponed this to 1st October, due to Prime Minister Chamberlain's intervention. On 25 September, Czechoslovakia agreed to the conditions previously agreed upon by Britain, France, and Germany. The next day, however, Hitler added new demands, insisting that the claims of Czechoslovakia's other ethnic minorities also be satisfied. Chamberlain hurriedly arranged a meeting with Mussolini, Hitler, and Daladier (the French prime minister) for 29 September, and on 30 September 1938 they signed the Munich Agreement.

It was agreed that the German army would complete the occupation of the Sudetenland by 10 October, and an international commission would decide the future of other disputed areas. Czechoslovakia had not been invited to the meeting and was informed by Britain and France that it could either resist Nazi Germany alone or submit to the prescribed annexations. The Czechoslovak government, realizing the hopelessness of fighting the Nazis alone, reluctantly capitulated (30 September) and agreed to abide by the agreement. The settlement gave Germany the Sudetenland starting 10 October, and de facto control over the rest of Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further.

Hitler gained much of Czechoslovakia's industrial wealth and its famed arms factories without a fight. When he examined Czechoslovakia's fortifications on 1st October, he told Goebbels, "We would have shed much blood". Current opinion is that, with the help of Britain and France, Germany would have lost a war against Czechoslovakia, and the Second World War would have been avoided.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 09, 2018, 09:09:17 PM

Jozef Tiso

The Second Czechoslovak Republic existed for 169 days, from 30 September 1938 to 15 March 1939. By 10 October 1938 the Nazis had completed their occupation of the Sudetenland and incorporated it into the German Reich. The Munich Agreement had resulted in about 38% of the combined area of Bohemia and Moravia being transferred to Germany, along with some 3.2 million German and 750,000 Czech inhabitants.

The political system of the country was also in chaos. Following the resignation of Edvard Beneš on October 5, General Syrový had acted as President until Emil Hácha was chosen as President on November 30, 1938. The Communist Party was dissolved, although its members were allowed to remain in Parliament. Tough censorship was introduced, and an Enabling Act was also introduced, which allowed the government to rule without parliament.

The greatly weakened Czechoslovak Republic was forced to grant major concessions to the non-Czechs. On 6 October 1938, Jozef Tiso, the leader of the Slovak People's Party, the largest party in Slovakia, declared autonomy for Slovakia (some other parties in Slovakia supported this). The next day, he became Prime Minister of the Slovak Autonomous Region. The Czechoslovak government accepted this result, and the only common ministries now remaining were those of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and Finances. As part of the deal, the country officially adopted the new name of Czecho-Slovakia. Similarly, the two major factions in Subcarpathian Ruthenia, the Russophiles and Ukrainophiles, agreed on the establishment of an autonomous government, which was constituted on 8 October 1938. The pro-Ukrainian faction, led by Avhustyn Voloshyn, gained control of the local government and Subcarpathian Ruthenia was renamed Carpatho-Ukraine.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 09, 2018, 09:51:34 PM
Part of the Munich Agreement had stipulated that the remaining borders of the rump Czechoslovakia should be negotiated by the interested parties. The First Vienna Award was a treaty signed on November 2, 1938, as a result of the First Vienna Arbitration. It was presided over by Germany and Italy, who sought a non-violent way to enforce the territorial claims of the Kingdom of Hungary and to revise the Treaty of Trianon of 1920. By this time, Britain and France had accepted that Czechoslovakia was in the German sphere of influence, so they did not try to influence the proceedings.

The First Vienna Award separated largely Magyar-populated territories in southern Slovakia and southern Carpathian-Ukraine from Czechoslovakia and awarded them to Hungary. Hungary thus regained some of the territories in present-day Slovakia and Ukraine lost in the Treaty of Trianon in the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Hitler was happy to spread the blame for the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and he also hoped thereby to gain Hungary as an ally.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 09, 2018, 10:15:17 PM
As prime minister and minister of the interior of the autonomous Slovak government, Jozef Tiso had extensive powers. In October–December 1938, his government did not share power with any other Slovak public body, because the autonomous parliament was not elected until mid-December of 1938. During this period, Tiso forbade the activities of all political parties, except those that agreed to join the governing coalition "voluntarily" and the two parties representing minority populations, the "German Party" and the "Unified Hungarian Party". The Slovak People's Party then organized rigged parliamentary elections.

Parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia on 18 December 1938. The campaign contained strong anti-Czech and anti-Jewish propaganda. Voters were presented with a United List of 63 candidates, of whom 47 were members of the Slovak People's Party, four were from the former Agrarian Party, two from the German Party, one from the Hungarian minority and the remaining nine were members of former parties. The United List won 97.5% of the (rigged) vote. Josef Tiso used the results for the reconstruction of the autonomous government, thus weakening the influence of the other former parties which had "voluntarily" joined the Slovak People's Party. The first session of the new Diet of the Slovak Land was held on 18 January 1939.

For the time being, Slovakia was still a constituent part of the Second Czechoslovak Republic, or "Czecho-Slovakia".
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 09, 2018, 11:15:07 PM
When Hitler had demanded the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, he had calculated that Czechoslovakia would not agree to such an unreasonable demand and would instead go to war. Hitler had expected to win this war and to conquer the whole of Czechoslovakia. He could then launch an attack on Poland or the Soviet Union. Instead, with the urging of Britain and France, Czechoslovakia had ceded the Sudetenland to Germany. Hitler was privately furious.

Hitler now turned his attention to Poland, the Polish Corridor, and Danzig. He wanted the return of his ethnic Germans. However, he was still determined to conquer the remainder of Czechoslovakia. In the meantime, the Nazis were covertly funding various groups in Czechoslovakia, in order to stir up ethnic sentiments against Prague.

In January 1939, negotiations between Germany and Poland broke down. Hitler scheduled an invasion of Bohemia and Moravia for the morning of 15 March. In the interim, he negotiated with the Slovak People's Party and with the Kingdom of Hungary and its representatives for the Hungarian minority in Slovakia to prepare the dismemberment of the Second Czechoslovak Republic before the invasion.

In March 1939, Czecho-Slovakian President Emil Hácha decided to clamp down on these nationalist elements. He sent Czech military units to occupy Slovakia and forced Tiso out of office on 9 March. On 13 March Hitler invited Jozef Tiso to Berlin and offered him the option of proclaiming the Slovak state and seceding from Czecho-Slovakia. In such a case, Hitler said, Germany would be Slovakia's protector and would not allow the Hungarians to press on Slovakia any additional territorial demands. If the Slovaks declined, Germany would occupy Bohemia and Moravia and disinterest himself in Slovakia's fate—in effect, leaving the Slovaks to the mercies of the Hungarians and the Poles. Tiso told Hitler he would have to consult the Slovak parliament about the issue. On 14 March, the Slovak parliament convened and heard Tiso's report on his discussion with Hitler. On hearing that any delay in declaring independence would result in Slovakia being divided between Hungary and Germany, Parliament unanimously declared Slovak independence, and Tiso was appointed the first Prime Minister of the new republic. The next day, Tiso sent a telegram (which had actually been composed the previous day in Berlin) asking the Third Reich to take over the protection of the new state. The request was readily accepted.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 01:29:08 AM

Hitler, looking very feline, as he plays cat-and-mouse with President Hácha.

On the evening of 14 March 1939, Hitler summoned President Hácha to the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, then deliberately kept him waiting for hours. Finally, at 1:30 a.m., on 15 March 1939, Hitler saw the President. He told Hácha that as they were speaking, the German army was about to invade Czechoslovakia. All of Czechoslovakia's defences were now under German control following the Munich Agreement in September of the previous year. The country was virtually surrounded by Germany on three fronts.

Hitler now gave the President two options: cooperate with Germany, in which case the "entry of German troops would take place in a tolerable manner" and "permit Czechoslovakia a generous life of her own, autonomy and a degree of national freedom" or face a scenario in which "resistance would be broken by force of arms, using all means." After Hermann Göring threatened to subject Prague to merciless aerial bombing, the 66-year-old Hácha suffered a heart attack and had to be revived by an injection. Hácha contacted his government at 4 a.m. and "signed Czechoslovakia away" to Germany.

At 5:00 a.m. on March 15, 1939, Hitler declared that the unrest in Czecho-Slovakia was a threat to German security. On the morning of 15 March, German troops entered Bohemia and Moravia, meeting no resistance. Carpatho-Ukraine immediately declared its independence as the Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine, which lasted for only one day. With Hitler's agreement, Hungarian troops occupied and annexed the short-lived country the next day. On 16 March, Hitler entered Czechoslovakia and from Prague Castle proclaimed the new Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Hitler re-installed Tiso as President of Slovakia, telling the world that Slovakia was now independent but under the protection of Germany. In reality, Slovakia was now a mere puppet state, though still with more freedom than Bohemia and Moravia.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 01:42:09 AM
Below you see the map of how Czechoslovakia now looked. In 1938, following the Munich agreement, Poland had coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the city of Český Těšín, by issuing an ultimatum to that effect on 30 September, which was accepted by Czechoslovakia on 1 October. Polish troops and authorities entered it on 2 October 1938, and the territory was annexed by Poland as Cieszyn Zachodni (West Cieszyn). After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the entire territory was annexed by Germany. During World War II it was a part of Nazi Germany. After the war, the 1920 borders were restored.

Meanwhile, in London, ex-president Edvard Beneš formed a Czechoslovak government-in-exile, which would help to organise the resistance during the Second World War. Before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Hitler had said he was only interested in regaining his ethnic Germans. Now the world knew that this was a lie. Some rank and file German Nazis even left the Nazi party, so disgusted were they at this attack on another state. When Hitler began to agitate for the return of Danzig and his ethnic Germans in Poland, France and Britain were no longer deceived; they now had the measure of the man.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 02:35:22 PM
The official name of Slovakia was the Slovak State from 14 March to 21 July 1939 (until the adoption of the Constitution), and the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovenská republika) from 21 July 1939 to its end in April 1945. The country is often referred to historically as the First Slovak Republic to distinguish it from the current (Second) Slovak Republic, Slovakia, which is not considered its legal successor state.

Below you see the emblem and flag of the First Slovak Republic.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:00:59 PM
The koruna (Slovak: koruna slovenská) was the currency of the Slovak Republic from 1939 to 1945. The Slovak koruna replaced the Czechoslovak koruna at par. Its abbreviation was Kčs. Initially, the Slovak koruna was at par with the Bohemian and Moravian koruna, with 10 korunas equal to 1 Reichsmark.

The first low denomination coin to be minted in the new state was the nickel-brass 10 halierov, in November 1939. Its obverse showed the Slovak coat of arms.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:02:30 PM
The reverse of the coin showed Bratislava castle, by the river Danube. Bratislava was the capital of the new state.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:03:57 PM
A modern view of the scene.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:11:11 PM
In July 1939 a silver 5 korun coin was issued to commemorate Father Andrej Hlinka, a Slovak Catholic priest and politician. He had been the leader of the Slovak People's Party from 1913 until his death in 1938.

The obverse legend translates as: "FOR THE LIFE OF GOD. FOR A NATION OF FREEDOM".
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:16:07 PM

Andrej Hlinka in 1937.

Hlinka was an authoritarian Catholic conservative, who admired the regimes of Salazar in Portugal and Dollfuss in Austria. He criticized the persecution of Christians in Germany and regarded Hitler as a "cultural beast".
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:25:25 PM
A sliver 20 korun was issued on the 26th October 1939, to commemorate Jozef Tiso's inauguration as the first President of Slovakia.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:48:06 PM
In 1940 the first 20 halierov was minted, in nickel-brass. The coin was minted again in 1942, but later in that same year an aluminium version was minted, also dated 1942. No more coins of this denomination were minted after 1942.

The obverse of the coin surrounded the coat of arms with some linden leaves.

The reverse of the coin depicted Nitra castle. Nitra is a city in western Slovakia, situated at the foot of Zobor Mountain in the valley of the river Nitra.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 07:50:03 PM
Nitra castle.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 09:33:36 PM
A copper-nickel 50 halierov was first issued in March 1941, though many had been minted in 1940 and were dated as such. The obverse showed a plain coat of arms, unadorned by any linden or olive leaves. The reverse featured a plough, to represent the country's agrarian economy. The style of the design did not fit well with the castle designs, and moreover the top half of this design was left blank, apart from the denomination, representing a plain sky, whilst the 10 and 20 halierov reverse designs filled most of the flan.

In 1943 the coin was minted in aluminium, to spare precious copper-nickel.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 09:50:15 PM
The 1 koruna coin was first issued in December 1940. It was only ever minted in copper-nickel. The obverse showed the coat of arms within an inner circle. The reverse showed the denomination within a tied spray of barley, pine cones, and leaves.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 09:56:22 PM
The 5 halierov coin was minted and issued in 1942 only. The coin was only 14 mm in diameter and made of zinc. This was the only zinc coin of war-time Slovakia, whereas many other European countries issued several coins in zinc, as an economy measure. Because of the coin's small size, the reverse design showed only an abbreviated form of the denomination.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 10:35:01 PM
In 1941 a silver 20 korun coin was issued, depicting Saints Cyril and Methodius. It was in Great Moravia that they began their mission of preaching the Gospel in the Slavonic language, therefore these saints were especially revered in Slovakia.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 10, 2018, 10:47:28 PM
A little more history now. To gain some time as he prepared to attack the Soviet Union, Hitler now made friendly overtures to Stalin. The Georgian responded favourably, in the hope that Germany would now turn against the West instead of the USSR and that the two would exhaust each other. On 23rd August 1939, Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop – the Soviet foreign minister and the German foreign minister – signed the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the USSR, otherwise known as the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In secret protocols, the two powers had planned to divide Europe up between then, into separate spheres of influence.

On 1st September 1939, Nazi Germany attacked western Poland, while the Soviet Union attacked from the east. The two countries split Poland between them. Slovakia was the only Axis nation other than Germany to take part in the Polish Campaign. The Wehrmacht had requested the assistance of Slovakia beforehand. Although the Slovak military was only six months old, it formed a small mobile combat group consisting of a number of infantry and artillery battalions. Two combat groups were created for the campaign in Poland for use alongside the Germans, and these two groups fought while pushing through the Nowy Sącz and Dukla Mountain Passes, advancing towards Dębica and Tarnów in the region of southern Poland.

The Slovak military also participated in the war on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union, which Hitler launched in June 1941. Slovakia issued a set of surcharged charity stamps for the benefit of the participants.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 01:29:43 PM
Like other fascist, semi-fascist and authoritarian right-wing parties of the 1930s and 1940s, the Slovak People's Party had its own uniformed youth wing. This was named the Hlinka Youth, after Andrej Hlinka, the founder of the Slovak People's Party. Its members wore uniforms similar to those of the Italian Fascist youth section, Opera Nazionale Balilla (
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 01:46:14 PM
The Hlinka Guard ( was the elite paramilitary organisation of the Slovak People's Party. It carried out functions similar to those of the Nazi SS and Gestapo. Throughout its years of existence, the Hlinka Guard competed with the Slovak People's Party for primacy in ruling the country. It represented the radical, pro-Nazi wing of the party, whereas Jozef Tiso was a standard old-fashioned Catholic authoritarian.

In 1942, the Hlinka Guard headed deportations of Slovak Jews to Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. The Guard would regularly make round ups for Jews in the spring and summer months. Deportation of the Jews by the Hlinka Guard led to confiscation of Jewish property,  some of which was distributed to individual members of the Hlinka Guard. When it later transpired that Slovakian Jews had been murdered in Auschwitz, Tiso claimed that he had thought his deported Jewish citizens were simply being used for forced labour, and he then ordered a halt to their deportation.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 01:59:09 PM
Slovakian stamps of 1942, depicting the Hlinka Youth.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 02:17:51 PM

Vojtech Tuka (

Vojtech Lázar "Béla" Tuka (1880 – 1946) was the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the First Slovak Republic between 1939 and 1945. Tuka was one of the main forces behind the deportation of Slovak Jews to Nazi concentration camps in German occupied Poland. He was the leader of the radical wing of the Slovak People's Party.

The "Salzburg Summit", concluded between Slovakia and Nazi Germany in Salzburg, Austria on 28 July 1940, resulted in closer collaboration with Germany, and in Tuka and other political leaders increasing their powers, at the expense of Tiso's original concept of a Catholic corporate state.  The agreement called for dual command by the Slovak People’s Party and the Hlinka Guard, and also an acceleration in Slovakia's anti-Jewish policies. Tiso accepted these changes in subsequent conversation with Hitler, and two state agencies were created to deal with "Jewish affairs".

On 3 September 1940, Tuka led the Slovak Assembly to enact Constitutional Law 210, a law authorizing the government to do everything necessary to exclude Jews from the economic and social life of the country. That November, on the 24th, Tuka and von Ribbentrop signed a protocol entering Slovakia into alliance with Germany, Japan, and Italy. Tuka composed the Ordinance Judenkodex (Codex Judaicus, or Jewish Code) of 9 September 1941, which comprised 270 articles comprehensively denying rights to Slovak Jews. The Code was longer than the Slovak Constitution. It required that Jews wear the yellow star, annulled all debts owed to Jews, confiscated Jewish property, and expelled Jews from Bratislava, the Slovak capital.

In 1942, Tuka strongly advocated the deportation of Slovakia's Jewish population to the eastern Nazi concentration camps. Twenty thousand Jews were to be deported under the German resettlement scheme, for which the Slovak government was to pay five hundred Reichsmark per deportee. Tiso was perfectly aware of the deportations. Hitler commented, "It is interesting how this little Catholic priest Tiso is sending us the Jews!" Between 25 March and 20 October 1942, Slovakia sent about 57,700 Jews to Nazi concentration camps. The deportation of Slovak Jews was halted in October 1942. Tuka told his ministers that Slovakia's economy could not withstand continued deportation of the Jews. However, in September 1944, the deportation of Slovak Jews was resumed; by the end of the war in April 1945, about 13,500 additional Jews were deported.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 02:20:13 PM
In the early stages of the state, there was something of a power struggle behind the scenes between the conservative Tiso and the extremist pro-Nazi Tuka. Tiso eventually exerted his control over the Hlinka Guard, though he did sign Hitler's Tripartite Pact, sending his troops to fight alongside the Nazis in 1941. Generally Hitler preferred to keep moderates in power in his satellite states, because they were respected by the population and were less volatile than the local pro-Nazi extremists and therefore easier to control. Even after Germany occupied Slovakia in the final stages of the war, Hitler made no attempt to place the real extremists in control.

Below you see some Slovakian charity stamps of 1943, in aid of the military.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 04:23:51 PM
On 13 March 1944, a silver 50 korun coin was issued to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Slovak Republic. It featured a portrait of Jozef Tiso, similar to the one that appeared on the 20 korun of 1939. The legend translates as "Faithful together, forward together."
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 04:31:01 PM
On 10 August 1944, a silver 10 korun was issued in honour of Prince Pribina ( Pribina was the first ruler of Slavic origin to build a Christian church on Slavic territory in Nitra and also the first to accept baptism. He died in the year 861.

Pribina is depicted in the centre of the design, with Bishop Adalram of Salzburg to his left and Louis the German ( to his right. "Knieza" is Slovak for "Prince".
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 04:52:35 PM
But the end was near. The Slovak National Uprising ( was an armed insurrection organized by the Slovak resistance movement. It was launched on 29 August 1944 from Banská Bystrica in an attempt to resist German troops that had occupied Slovak territory and to overthrow the collaborationist government of Jozef Tiso. Although the resistance was largely defeated by German forces, guerrilla operations continued until the Soviet Army, Czechoslovak Army and Romanian Army liberated Slovakia in 1945.

Jewish deportations resumed on 30 September 1944, when the Soviet army reached the Slovak border. Hitler then decided to occupy all of Slovakia and the country lost its independence. During the German occupation, another 13,500 Jews were deported and 5,000 were imprisoned. Deportations continued until 31 March 1945. In all, German and Slovak authorities deported about 70,000 Jews from Slovakia; about 65,000 of them were murdered or died in concentration camps. The overall figures are inexact, partly because many Jews did not identify themselves, but one 2006 estimate is that approximately 105,000 Slovak Jews, or 77% of their pre-war population, died during the war.

Below is a stamp issue of October 1944, entitled "National Protection". It reflects a regime that is in despair and is expecting the end.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 05:00:08 PM
The German troops were gradually pushed out by the Red Army and Romanian and Czechoslovak troops coming from the east. The liberated territories became de facto part of Czechoslovakia again.

The First Slovak Republic ceased to exist de facto on 4 April 1945 when the Red Army captured Bratislava and occupied all of Slovakia. De jure it ceased to exist when the exiled Slovak government capitulated to General Walton Walker, who was leading the XX Corps of the 3rd US Army on 8 May 1945 in the Austrian town of Kremsmünster. In summer 1945, the captured former president and members of former government were handed over to Czechoslovak authorities.

Tiso lost all remnants of power when the Soviet Army conquered the last parts of western Slovakia in April 1945. He fled first to Austria, then to a Capuchin monastery in Altötting, Bavaria. In June 1945, he was arrested by the Americans and extradited to the reconstituted Czechoslovakia to stand trial in October 1945. On 15 April 1947, the Czechoslovak National Court found him guilty of many (but not all) of the allegations against him, and sentenced him to death for "state treason, betrayal of the antifascist partisan insurrection and collaboration with Nazism". Tiso appealed to the Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš and expected a reprieve; his prosecutor had recommended clemency. However no reprieve was forthcoming. Wearing his clerical outfit, Tiso was hanged in Bratislava on 18 April 1947. The Czechoslovak government buried him secretly to avoid having his grave become a shrine.

By 1943, Vojtech Tuka's health had deteriorated to a point where his political activities were significantly diminished and at the beginning of 1944, he was planning his resignation. After negotiations about his successor, he resigned on September 5, 1944, a few days after the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising. Tuka was replaced by Štefan Tiso (a distant relative of president Jozef Tiso). From then on, Tuka no longer took part in Slovak political life.

At the end of the war, having already suffered a stroke which tied him to his wheelchair, Tuka emigrated together with his wife, nursing attendants and personal doctor to Austria, where he was arrested by Allied troops following the capitulation of Germany and handed over to the officials of the renewed Czechoslovakia. Following a brief trial, Vojtech Tuka was executed by hanging on August 20, 1946.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 05:10:34 PM

Edvard Beneš

After World War II, pre-war Czechoslovakia was re-established, with the exception of Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Beneš decrees were promulgated concerning ethnic Germans (see Potsdam Agreement) and ethnic Hungarians. Under the decrees, citizenship was abrogated for people of German and Hungarian ethnic origin who had accepted German or Hungarian citizenship during the occupations. In 1948, this provision was cancelled for the Hungarians, but only partially for the Germans. The government then confiscated the property of the Germans and expelled about 90% of the ethnic German population, over 2 million people. Those who remained were collectively accused of supporting the Nazis after the Munich Agreement, as 97.32% of Sudeten Germans had voted for the NSDAP in the December 1938 elections. Almost every decree explicitly stated that the sanctions did not apply to antifascists. Some 250,000 Germans, many married to Czechs, some antifascists, and also those required for the post-war reconstruction of the country, remained in Czechoslovakia.

In the 1946 parliamentary election, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was the winner in the Czech lands, and the Democratic Party won in Slovakia. A coalition was formed, but the Communists controlled the police and packed it with their party members. In February 1948 the Communists seized power. Although they would maintain the fiction of political pluralism through the existence of the National Front, except for a short period in the late 1960s (the Prague Spring) the country had no liberal democracy. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution restored democracy.
Title: Re: The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic
Post by: <k> on April 12, 2018, 05:14:00 PM
In this topic, I have quoted Wikipedia extensively, sometimes abridged, but mixed with my own words. I have presented it in the way I thought best, but it is impossible to do justice to the subject, even in a relatively long topic.

Please post any comments here: Comments on "The History and Coinage of the First Slovak Republic" (,42281.0.html).

See also: War time patterns of the First Slovak Republic (,38029.0.html).