Czechoslovak army in the 30s

From 1933 Czechoslovak army consciously began to prepare for a war cloud. Under the terms of modernization, the army received plenty of new weapons to extend their arsenal.

Considerable means were invested in putting up fortification, which became a symbol of determination to defend the Republic. Its most resistant components with the best firing conditions were forts – closed systems of infantry and artillery cabins and cannon and mortar towers interconnected by underground corridors and spaces. From August 1937 special fort units called border regiments were formed to defend the heavy fortification.

On the outset of 1938 an extensive reorganization of the Czechoslovak military forces was nearly finished. Within a mere six years a modern army was built up, belonging to the best ones in Europe together with those operating in the most powerful countries. In peacetime, it was made up by 4 regional military headquarters, 7 corps headquarters, 17 infantry divisions, and 4 fast divisions. The whole body comprised more than 200 000 men. Simultaneously with organizational changes a new Czechoslovak military doctrine was drawn up, based on a flexible defense and an organized retreat from an outnumbering enemy.

Czechoslovak army in the 30s

The spring of 1938 didn’t bode well. On Saturday the 12th March Austria was incorporated into Germany. The event was followed by guarding the borders, declared on May 20th as a reaction to German military shifts in Saxony and Bavaria. The situation was sharpening.

An imminent threat to the Republic led on the 22nd September to the declaration of full preparedness for fighting in the main defense emplacement, which was succeeded by general mobilization on September 23rd. The speed of the operation and the immediate lineup of reservists gained Czechoslovakia respect and admiration abroad.

On the 30th October 1938, instead of a combat order, politicians decided to relent to the Munich dictate. The effort of the corps of generals to revise the decision was not taken into consideration. Czechoslovak army, both prepared and determined to fight, was compelled to retreat without fighting.