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Czechoslovakia In Wwi Essay

1052 words - 4 pages

At the start of World War I, Czechoslovakia was working toward trying to gain their independence from the Austria-Hungary Empire. Czechoslovakia was not yet formed and there was only talk of independence until the start of the great war. The would-be citizens of Czechoslovakia had active roles in the war and, along with many others, experienced hard times throughout the war that was not foreseen. World War I would give the opportunity for Czechoslovakia to gain its independence. Czechoslovakia was placed on the Germans' side in the war whether the civilians wanted to be or not. This is a result of being part of the Austria-Hungary Empire that had an alliance to Germany. The war was started by Austria-Hungary after their ambassador was assassinated by Serbia. Because Serbia would not meet all the demands sent by Austria-Hungary, Austria-Hungary declared war on them. Serbia had Russia as its ally, and when the war broke out, Russia and Germany were brought into the war through their alliances. This was the start of what became a snowball effect, bringing countries into the war, one after another. The outbreak of the war found the Czechs in a mood of sullen, suspicious passivity, powerless to control the major issues of foreign policy upon which their fate depended (Seton-Watson, 284). The outbreak of the war had mixed reactions among the Czechs because the total war was not known. The only Czechs affected early in the war were the young subjected to mobilization, most of who were angered at the idea of fighting the Russians (Wallace, 101). The Czechs were placed in separate regiments and did not like the idea of fighting for the Austria-Hungary empire. Instead, they wanted to separate themselves and become independent. The Czechs at the front of the war experienced a lot of difficulties with a lot of Czech regiments experiencing surrender to the Russians and some refusing to fight. The eleventh regiment refused to march and fight against the Serbs and were killed for refusing. The thirty-sixth regiment revolted in the barracks and was killed by German troops. There were also reports of Czechs and Slovak troops singing a song at midnight in trenches. The song was code for wanting to join the Russians (Seton-Watson, 287). There were also many other Czech and Slovak troops reportedly refusing to fight and most ended with the same result of being killed. Masaryk was one of the most important Czech figures that went abroad and spread the news of Czechs work to try and become an independent. Masaryk in 1914 went to Switzerland to begin the long task of informing Western opinion about the Czech cause and making contacts with Czechs living abroad (Wallace, 102). As early as August of 1914, Czech units were set up within the French and Russian armies and Czech colonies in various parts of western Europe began to organize pro-independence propaganda. There was also a Czech National Association set up in Chicago to...

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