This year, we celebrate the 104th anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia. The 1918 origin story was a culmination of an effort of both Slovaks and Czechs against their rulers. Close contact between these two nations led to the idea of an independent state that emerged during World War I.
Czechoslovak foreign resistance played an important part in the formation of the common state.
After World War I broke out, both Slovak and Czech political leaders emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, forming the basis of the resistance. They were active in France, Italy, and Russia, with important figures such as Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Štefánik, and Edvard Beneš at the forefront of the effort.
Masaryk, a Czech leader, promoted the idea of an independent Czechoslovakia in Western Europe. Štefánik, a Slovak politician and astronomer, was based in Paris where he became a general in the French army. He later organised the Czechoslovak Legion formed by Czechs and Slovaks who defected to the Russian front.