Life of soldiers

After Czechoslovakia was founded, the organization and structure of armed forces (as was the terminology of that period) was set by Defense Act No. 193/1920 Code, amended in 1927 (Act No. 53/1927 Code). Formation of the army was based on a general conscription, to which all men aged 20 – 50 (and professional soldiers until 60) were subject. During mobilization the limits were extended to 17 – 60 years of age. Recruitment obligation was between 20 and 22. Men who were training for a job could apply for a postponement of military service until the 1st October of the year when they turned 24, university students till after they reached 26, exceptionally until 28. In peacetime, the Czechoslovak army consisted of 150 000 men, which meant that 60 – 70 000 recruits were required per year.

The Defense Act set the length of actual military service for 14 months, but it also contained a regulation by which men recruited between 1921 and 1922 were obliged to serve another 10 months after the end of the actual service (i.e. 2 years in total). Those recruited in 1923 and 1924 had to serve another 4 months (18 months in total). This regulation was valid also for men recruited in 1926 or later. Also in the 1930s the length of actual military service was being altered. In 1932 it was curtailed to 14 months, but due to the increasing danger to the state it was again prolonged to 2 years.

After actual military service the soldiers became reserves. The first backup troop, which was to raise the number of soldiers to the required wartime condition and to compensate the losses, was formed by reserves aged between 22 and 40. The second backup, whose members were responsible for guarding in wartime, consisted of reserves from 40 to 50 years of age.

To mitigate the social consequences of actual military service a new law was approved in 1922, which granted certain relieves in conscription for fathers of families or for some categories of peasants and tradesmen. Their service was shortened to 6 months and then they were sent on a permanent holiday or were placed in so called substitute backups.

Life of soldiers