Originally part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia became a new state after the end of World War I. This took place in 1918 as agreed upon in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Several different ethnic groups inhabited Czechoslovakia. Czechs made up around 51% of the population, followed by Slovaks at 16%, Germans making up 22%, Hungarians 5% and Rusyns making up 4% of the population. Deep seeded conflict took place between the Czechs and Slovaks both before and after World War I.
Between World War I and World War II Czechoslovakia successful functioned as a democracy. This lasted until the beginning of the war. Once the Nazis occupied the Sudentenland, Czechoslovakia was unable to defend itself. During the war, Czechs were oppressed. It is estimated that between up to 55,000 Czechs were taken to concentration camps.
After World War II Czechoslovakia was reestablished. During this time German’s and Hungarians who gained Hungarian or German citizenship during the war were not allowed to become citizens in Czechoslovakia. In fact, the government of Czechoslovakia took the property of German citizens and made them leave the country. It is estimated that over 2 million people were forced to leave the country at that time. After the war, the country did not return to a democracy but instead the Communist Party gained traction in the country.
Democracy was reestablished in Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution. In 1992, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist after being dissolved by parliament. The country was divided up into two smaller independent countries, the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.