Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors

By Aleksander Gella | Go to book overview

3
CZECHOSLOVAKIA UNTIL WORLD WAR II

No independent Czechoslovak state existed before 1918. For a better understanding of the present character and problems of the peoples who built this young state we should know a little about their past. As it is in every other country, history is responsible for molding the basic features of social stratification.

Since the earliest written records, the territories, belonging to Czechoslovakia divided into three parts: Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The elongated shape of the region allowed its people to play the role of "middleman" between the Balkans and the North-Central part of Europe. And it was through the stretch of land between the northern slopes of the Alps and the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains that cultural innovation made its way from Greece and the Middle East toward the North and West of Europe. 1

Slavonic tribes, later called "Czechs and Slovaks," made their home in the middle of Europe as early as the beginning of the sixth century A.D. displacing the Celts who had occupied these territories for more than 1,000 years, and the Teutons, whose settlement had lasted about 600 years. 2 Most historians and linguists (though not all) recognized the close affinity of Czechs

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