Sandafayre
Welcome to our site! Advanced Search

Czechoslovakia


Before 1938


FIRST STAMPS Austria to 1918

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED October 1918


CURRENCY

1918, 100 haleru = 1 koruna



Central European republic formed in 1918 from elements of the AustroHungarian Empire. It comprised Bohemia and Moravia, Slovakia, Austrian Silesia and the Sudetenland, which had a largely German population.


The early history of Czechoslovakia follows the fortunes of the Empire of which its components were part. Bohemia was absorbed into Austria after the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. However, when the Czechs' agitation for limited independence was ignored by the Austrians, a major uprising took place in Prague in 1848. This was suppressed, but thereafter the Austrians took a more conciliatory attitude to the regions.


World War I provided an opportunity for the declaration of an independent republic. Many of the Czech and Slovak regiments in the Austrian army deserted and joined the allies. They fought in Russia, Italy and France. In February 1916 the Czechoslovak National Council was formed in Paris. On 28 October 1918 the Council declared its independence of Austria and two days later the Slovak National Council voted for union with the Czechs.


The failure of Austrian authority in 1918 affected all aspects of life in Czechoslovakia, including the postal service, which did not even operate in large cities. In Prague a local post was operated by scouts under the control of the Revolutionary Council. By 1919 the service began to return to normal and general issues appeared. Stocks of Austrian stamps found in the POs were overprinted for sale in Czechoslovakia and were sold at a premium of 50% over the face value to support various charities. These were purely local issues.


Czechoslovak army in Siberia

During World War I many Czech and Slovak soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Army surrendered to the Russians. After the war, 70,000 of these men were formed into the Czech Legion in Siberia, which joined the Allies against the Bolsheviks. Stamps for the military post were issued in 1919-20 and were also available on the Trans-Siberian Railway, though the latter were souvenirs which served no postal purpose.


1938-45

In 1938 Germany, which had absorbed Austria in March, demanded the cession of the German-speaking Sudetenland. For some time a propaganda campaign had been conducted by Germany mainly based on a German story that, following the Czech pact with Russia in 1935, Russian planes had been based in Czechoslovakia. Following a trip to Munich by the British Prime Minister in September 1938, Britain agreed to German demands and the Sudetenland was absorbed into the German Reich.


At the same time both Hungary and Poland made demands on the territory of Czechoslovakia. Polish troops occupied Tesin (Teschen) in early November 1938 and on 3 November Hungary was awarded the Komarno (Komaroma) district on the banks of the Danube. This was incorporated into Hungary from August 1939. The reduced area and population of the republic were now virtually defenceless and the name of the new territory was hyphenated, Czechoslovakia, to emphasize the federal nature of the remaining area. Internal disorders were fomented by Germany and in January 1939 self-government was granted to Slovakia and Ruthenia within the federal area. The Slovak government met on 18 January and the Ruthenian (Carpatho-Ukraine) on 14 March 1939.


Slovakia also declared full independence on 14 March and, on the same day, Germany marched into Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia remained an independent stamp-issuing territory under German dependence and control until 1945. Bohemia and Moravia used overprinted German stamps initially and remained a German protectorate until 1945.


Bohemia and Moravia, and Slovakia were German protectorates throughout World War II. The Czech government under President Benes established a government-in-exile in London during the war. Czech forces fought with the Allies and their special Field P0 cancellations were used wherever the troops fought.


The territory was gradually regained by Russian forces in 1944 and 1945. After hostilities, Czechoslovakia regained all its original territory except Ruthenia (Carpo-Ukraine) which became Russian.


1945 to date

The reconstituted republic issued its first stamps after the war in 1945 and normal postal services were quickly resumed. However, many of the Czech partisan groups were pro-Russian and this is reflected in the early post-war stamps before the exiled government returned.


In 1948, with Russian backing, the Czech communist Party staged a coup d'etat. The President was forced to retire and a People's Republic was established. This has continued except for a brief period in 1968 when a more liberal regime under Alexander Dubchek was instituted. Czechoslovakia remains a member of the Warsaw Pact.


Bohemia and Moravia


FIRST STAMPS 5 July 1939.


CURRENCY

100 Haleru = 1 Koruna.



Created by the Germans in 1939 following the occupation, issues continued throughout the War and were replaced by new issues for Czechoslovakia after May 1945. Some provisional Registration labels were produced to indicate the change of status.



Slovakia


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 21 March 1939.


CURRENCY

100 haleru = 1 Koruna.



Slovakia also declared full independence on 14 March and, on the same day, Germany marched into Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia remained an independent stamp-issuing territory under German dependence and control until 1945. Bohemia and Moravia used overprinted German stamps initially and remained a German protectorate until 1945.


Bohemia and Moravia, and Slovakia were German protectorates throughout World War II. The Czech government under President Benes established a government-in-exile in London during the war. Czech forces fought with the Allies and their special Field P0 cancellations were used wherever the troops fought.


The territory was gradually regained by Russian forces in 1944 and 1945. After hostilities, Czechoslovakia regained all its original territory except Ruthenia (Carpo-Ukraine) which became Russian. The last issues were replaced by Czechoslovak adhesives in May 1945.


1945 to date

The reconstituted republic issued its first stamps after the war in 1945 and normal postal services were quickly resumed. However, many of the Czech partisan groups were pro-Russian and this is reflected in the early post-war stamps before the exiled government returned.


In 1948, with Russian backing, the Czech communist Party staged a coup d'etat. The President was forced to retire and a People's Republic was established.. In 1968, the Communist Party under Alexander Dubcek embarked on a policy of political and economic reforms. These reforms were repressed by the invasion of the country by troops of the Warsaw Pact on the night of 20th August1968 and a hard-line communist, Gustav Husak became leader of the Party in 1969.


Mass Protests in November 1989 led to the resignation of the Communist Party Central Committee. On 10th December a new Government was appointed with only 50% of communists Husak resigned and was replaced by the dissident writer Vaclav Havel. Free elections were held in June 1990, in which the Communists were defeated.


In late 1992, the leaders of the Czech and Slovak republics agreed to dissolve the federation and form two sovereign states. This move became effective on 1st January 1993.


The Czech Republic


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 20 January 1993


CURRENCY

100 haleru = 1 Koruna (Kcs).



The Czech Republic joined NATO with Poland and Hungary in March 1997


Slovakia


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED January 1993


CURRENCY

100 haleru = 1 Koruna (Sk).





Czechoslovakia 1918-39
Click map for larger view


Next Page >>


Current Stamp Auctions

Highlights


    We offer thousands of items for sale, here are just a few of our favourites...

  • GERMAN ALLIED ZONES - SAAR 1947 10f on 50pf slate- violet original printing, Michel 235 ZI (SG 232A, £7000), very fine used with 2014 Straphil photo certificate. RARITY, cat €6000.

    GERMAN ALLIED ZONES - SAAR 1947 10f on 50pf slate- violet original printing, Michel 235 ZI (SG 232A, £7000), very fine used with 2014 Straphil photo certificate. RARITY, cat €6000.

    Go to item details...

  • NEW ZEALAND - 1906 3d brown and blue Christchurch Exhibition with

    NEW ZEALAND - 1906 3d brown and blue Christchurch Exhibition with "FLAW BEHIND CHIEFTAIN" variety, SG 372a, mint, some vertical creasing to the right but otherwise fine and fresh, and in a horizontal pair with normal. An attractive example of this newly listed variety. (2 stamps)

    Go to item details...