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World War II

History of Slovakia

World War II

After the Munich Agreement and its Vienna Award, Nazi Germany threatened to annex part of Slovakia and to allow the remaining regions to be partitioned by Hungary or Poland unless independence is declared. Thus, Slovakia seceded from Czecho-Slovakia in March 1939 and allying itself, as demanded by Germany, with Hitler's coalition. The government of the First Slovak Republic, led by Jozef Tiso and Vojtech Tuka, was strongly influenced by Germany and gradually became a puppet regime in many respects. Most Jews were deported from the country and taken to German labour camps. Thousands of Jews, however, remained to labor in Slovak work camps in Sered, Vyhne, and Nováky. Tiso, through the granting of presidential exceptions, has been credited with saving as many as 40,000 Jews during the war, although other estimates place the figure closer to 4,000 or even 1,000. Nevertheless, under Tiso's government 83% of Slovakia's Jewish population, a total of 75,000 individuals, were murdered. Tiso became the only European leader to actually pay Nazi authorities to deport his country's Jews. After it became clear that the Soviet Red Army was going to push the Nazis out of the eastern and central Europe, an anti-Nazi resistance movement launched a fierce armed insurrection, known as the Slovak National Uprising, in the end of summer 1944. A bloody German occupation and a guerilla war followed. Territory of Slovakia was liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces by the end of April 1945.




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