Slovak National Uprising of 1944

Slovak National Uprising of 1944

 

an antifascist national liberation uprising of the Slovak people that lasted from August to October 1944. The uprising was organized and led by Communists, who carried out the policies of the leadership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC) in Moscow and those of the underground Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia (CPS). The plan for armed revolt was worked out by the underground Slovak National Council, which had been created in December 1943 on the initiative of the Communists and was composed of representatives of the CPS (including G. Husák, L. Novomeský, and K. Schmidke) and other political parties involved in the resistance movement. The armed forces consisted of guerrilla brigades (about 15,000 strong) and Slovak Army units that had joined the insurgents. The rebel army that was formed during the uprising numbered about 60,000; some 3,000 Soviet citizens, as well as French, Polish, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Hungarian, Yugoslav, and German antifascists, fought alongside the Slovak guerrillas.

The uprising was sparked by the occupation of Slovakia by fascist German troops, who began to move into the region on August 29 with the consent of the Slovak puppet government. That same day the insurgent forces began military operations. On August 30 the Slovak National Council proclaimed, on behalf of the insurgent populace, the overthrow of the fascist puppet government and assumed power. By August 31 the uprising had spread to all of central and parts of eastern Slovakia.

The Declaration of the Slovak National Council, adopted at the rebel center of Banská Bystrica on Sept. 1, 1944, called for the restoration of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, the implementation of national democratic reforms, and the establishment of equal rights for the Czech and Slovak peoples. Supported by the national committees, in which Communists played the leading role, the Slovak National Council restored democratic freedoms, dissolved the fascist parties and organizations, and freed political prisoners.

The Soviet Army command planned the Carpathian Dukla Pass Operation to aid the insurgents and organized an airlift of arms, ammunition, food, and equipment. On September 8, the Thirty-eighth Army of the First Ukrainian Front advanced southward from Krosno, Poland, with the aim of breaking through Dukla Pass into Slovakia. The Czechoslovak I Army Corps, formed in the USSR, fought alongside the Soviet troops. On Oct. 6, 1944, after heavy fighting, Dukla Pass was taken; to commemorate the event October 6 has been declared the Czechoslovak People’s Army Day.

In the latter half of October 1944, the Hitlerites brought in superior forces to throw against the insurgents and captured the main rebel bases, including Banská Bystrica on October 27. The insurgents retreated to the mountains. Guerrilla brigades conducted military operations until January 1945, when they joined advancing units of the Soviet Army. The uprising was the high point of the antifascist struggle of the Slovak people under the leadership of the CPC and marked the beginning of the national democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia.

REFERENCES

Husák, G. Svidelel’stvo o slovatskom natsional’nom vosstanii. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from Slovak.)
Kropilák, M. Slovenské národné povstanie. Bratislava, 1974.
Slovenské národné povstanie, 1944–74 (bibliography). Bratislava [1974].

V. V. MAR’INA [23–1710–]

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The story of the Slovak National Uprising of 1944 is a complicated and tragic one that has been obscured and distorted by the politics that it surrounds.
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