Soviet sphere of influence

Soviet weapons

The Czechoslovakian army was armed mainly with Soviet weapons.

The base of the new army after 1945 consisted of all the sections of both the domestic and foreign resistance movement. From the beginning its development was accompanied by a conflict between the conception that continued the pre-Munich army, which was promoted by president Edvard Beneš, and the efforts of the Communist Party to adopt the Soviet model of creating an army. In February 1948 there was a putsch in Czechoslovakia. The power was seized by the Communist Party, which started reorganizing the whole society as well as the army according to the Soviet model.

Two thirds of the professional soldiers who serve din February 1948 were ruthlessly removed from the army: Some of them could only do the worst and least paid jobs, others ended up in prisons and work camps, and more than twenty per cent were executed.

In May 1955 Czechoslovakia became a member of the Warsaw Pact and its dependence on the Soviet Union deepened. The army was organized as the first strategic echelon of the allied forces with an offensive purpose. A significant role in the preparation for fight started to be played by drills of the allied forces. Some of them, such as Vltava or Šumava, took place in Czechoslovakia. The increasing conflicts in the society lead to an attempt to reform socialism in 1968, which was brought to an end by the occupation of the country by the armies of five countries of the Warsaw Pact in August 1968. The Czechoslovakian army was, like in 1938 and 1948, forced to be inactive by a political decision.

The subsequent persecution disabled hundreds of thousands of people to have qualified jobs and thousands were prosecuted. More than six thousand officers and warrant officers were discharged for their patriotic attitudes; hundreds were degraded, including some of the officers and warrant officers in reserve.

As a result of implementing new weaponry the firepower and operating abilities as well as i the readiness of the forces increased, which was proved in a number of drills of the allied forces – one of the biggest ones, Štít 72, took place in Czechoslovakia. However, the army began to lose the trust of the public.