On October 28th, 1918, after the WWI ended, Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The country consisted of the present day territories of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. During the period from 1918 until the WWII, the country enjoyed great freedoms, economic growth, scientific discoveries, cultural vibrancy and had the 7th highest GDP in the world.
Czechoslovak democracy was held together by the country’s first president, Tomáš Masaryk. As the principal founding father of the republic, Masaryk was regarded similar to the way George Washington is regarded in the United States. Such universal respect enabled Masaryk to overcome seemingly irresolvable political problems. Even to this day, Masaryk is regarded as the symbol of Czechoslovak democracy.
Everything went well until the beginning of WWII and the Soviet occupation in 1948. Czechoslovakia become a communist state with a centralized totalitarian government until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. On 1 January, 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.