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Карпатська Україна
30 December 1938 – 18 March 1939 (1938-12-30 1939-03-18)
Carpatho Ukraine March 1939.png
Status Unrecognized state
and largest city
Official languages Ukrainian
Government Unicameral republic
Avgustyn Voloshyn
Prime Minister 
Avgustyn Voloshyn
Julian Révaý
Legislature Soim
Historical era Interwar period
30 December 1938
18 March 1939
193913,352 km2 (5,155 sq mi)
Currency Czechoslovak koruna
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg Czechoslovakia
Hungary Flag of Hungary (1920-1946).svg
Today part of Ukraine

Carpatho-Ukraine or Carpathian Ukraine (Ukrainian : Карпа́тська Украї́на; Karpats’ka Ukrayina; [kɐrˈpɑtsʲkɐ ʊkrɐˈjinɐ] ) was an autonomous region within the Second Czechoslovak Republic, created in December 1938 whose full administrative and political autonomy was confirmed by the Constitutional law of 22 November 1938. After the breakup of the Second Czechoslovak Republic, it was proclaimed an independent republic on 15 March 1939, headed by president Avgustyn Voloshyn, who appealed to the Axis powers for recognition and support. Nazi Germany did not reply, and the short-lived state was occupied and annexed by the Kingdom of Hungary, crushing all local resistance by 18 March 1939.

Ukrainian language language member of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language. It is the official state language of Ukraine and one of the three official languages in the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the other two being Romanian and Russian. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script.

Second Czechoslovak Republic 1938-1939 republic in Central/Eastern Europe

The Second Czechoslovak Republic existed for 169 days, between 30 September 1938 and 15 March 1939. It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and the autonomous regions of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus', the latter being renamed on 30 December 1938 to Carpathian Ukraine.

Avgustyn Voloshyn Czechoslovak member of Czechoslovak national parliament and russian nation politician

Rev. Avgustyn Ivanovych Voloshyn was a Ukrainian (Czechoslovak) politician, teacher, essayist, priest of the Mukacheve eparchy of the Greek-Catholic Church. He was president of the independent Carpatho-Ukraine, which existed for one day on March 15, 1939.


The region remained under Hungarian control until the End of World War II in Europe, after which it was ceded to the Soviet Union. The territory is now administered as the Ukrainian Zakarpattia Oblast.

End of World War II in Europe

The final battles of the European Theatre of World War II as well as the German surrender to the Allies took place in late April and early May 1945.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a Marxist-Leninist sovereign state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralised. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Zakarpattia Oblast Oblast in Ukraine

The Zakarpattia Oblast is an administrative oblast (province) located in southwestern Ukraine, coterminous with the historical region of Carpathian Ruthenia. Its administrative centre is the city of Uzhhorod. Other major cities within the oblast include Mukachevo, Khust, Berehove and Chop which is home to railroad transport infrastructure.


Constitutional Law on the Autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus' (1938) Act of Subcarpathian Rus Autonomy 1938.png
Constitutional Law on the Autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus' (1938)

Political autonomy

Soon after the implementation of the Munich Agreement, signed of 30 September 1938, by which Czechoslovakia lost much of its border region to Nazi Germany, a series of political reforms were initiated, leading to creation of the Second Czechoslovak Republic, consisting of three autonomous political entities, including autonomous Slovakia, and autonomous Subcarpathian Rus' (Rusyn: Підкарпатьска Русь). First local Government of autonomous Subcarpathian Rus' was appointed on 11 October 1938, headed by prime-minister Andrej Bródy. In following days, a crisis occurred between two local fractions, pro-Rusyn and pro-Ukrainian, leading to the resignation of Bródy's government on 26 October. New regional government, headed by Avgustyn Voloshyn, adopted a pro-Ukrainian course and initiated the change of regional name, from Subcarpathian Rus' to Carpathian Ukraine. [1]

Munich Agreement 1938 cession of German-speaking Czechoslovakia to the Nazis

The Munich Agreement or Munich Betrayal was an agreement concluded at Munich on 30 September 1938, by Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the Kingdom of Italy. It provided "cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory" of Czechoslovakia. Most of Europe celebrated the agreement, because it prevented the war threatened by Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland, a region of western Czechoslovakia inhabited by more than 3 million people, mainly German speakers. Hitler announced it was his last territorial claim in Europe, and the choice seemed to be between war and appeasement.

Czechoslovakia 1918–1992 country in Central Europe, predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

That proposal opened a new political debate. On 22 November 1938, authorities of the Second Czechoslovak Republic decided to adopt the Constitutional Law on the Autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus' (Czech: Ústavní zákon o autonomii Podkarpatské Rusi), officially reaffirming the self-determination rights of the Rusyn people (preamble), and also confirming full administrative and political autonomy of Subcarpathian Rus', with its own assembly and government. Such terminology was seen as a demonstration of state support for the pro-Rusyn fraction, and on 30 December 1938, local government responded by issuing a provisional decree that proclaimed the change of regional name to Carpathian Ukraine. That lead to the creation of a particular terminological duality. In constitutional system of the Second Czechoslovak Republic the region continued to be formally known as the Subcarpathian Rus', while local institutions continued to promote the use of term Carpathian Ukraine. [2] [1]

Czech, historically also Bohemian, is a West Slavic language of the Czech–Slovak group. Spoken by over 10 million people, it serves as the official language of the Czech Republic. Czech is closely related to Slovak, to the point of mutual intelligibility to a very high degree, as well as Polish. Like other Slavic languages, Czech is a fusional language with a rich system of morphology and relatively flexible word order. Its vocabulary has been extensively influenced by Latin and German.

The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law, binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter's norms. It states that people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.

Preamble introductory statement in a document that explains its purpose and underlying philosophy

A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute. It is distinct from the long title or enacting formula of a law.

Political crisis

In late September 1938, Hungary was ready to mobilize between 200,000 to 350,000 men on the Czechoslovak borders in case the Czechoslovak question could not be solved on diplomatic level, in favor of the Hungarian territorial claims. After the Munich Agreement the Hungarian Army had remained poised threateningly on the Czechoslovak border. They reportedly had artillery ammunition for only 36 hours of operations, and were clearly engaged in a bluff, but it was a bluff the Germans had encouraged, and one that they would have been obliged to support militarily if the much larger, better trained and better equipped Czechoslovak Army chose to fight. The Czechoslovak army had built 2,000 small concrete emplacements along the border in places where rivers did not serve as natural obstacles.

Czechoslovak Army 1918-1992 combined military forces of Czechoslovakia

The Czechoslovak Army was the name of the armed forces of Czechoslovakia. It was established in 1918 following Czechoslovakia's independence from Austria-Hungary.

The Hungarian minister of the interior, Miklós Kozma, had been born in Subcarpathia, and in mid-1938 his ministry armed the Rongyos Gárda ('Ragged Guard'), which began to infiltrate guerillas along the southern borders of Czechoslovakia, into Slovakia and Subcarpathia. The situation was now verging on open war, which might set the whole of Europe ablaze again. The appendix of the Munich Agreement concluded Czechoslovakia and Hungary should arrange their disputes by mutual negotiations, which could not achieve a final agreement, so the Hungarian and the Czechoslovak governments accepted the German-Italian Arbitration of Vienna as France and the United Kingdom rejected participation of no interest. This led to the First Vienna Award.

Miklós Kozma Hungarian officer and politician

Vitéz Miklós Kozma de Leveld was a Hungarian politician, who served as Interior Minister between 1935 and 1937. He was also Minister of Defence for a short time in the cabinet of Gyula Gömbös. He attended the Ludovika Academy and fought in World War I. He was the supporter of Miklós Horthy from the begins. He worked as head of the Magyar Távirati Iroda (MTI) from 1922 until his death. He didn't agree with the Prime Minister Kálmán Darányi's moderate policy, so he resigned the position of the Minister of the Interior.

Rongyos Gárda

The "Rongyos Gárda" were a non-regular paramilitary unit in Hungary, active in 1921 then reestablished in 1938.

First Vienna Award

The First Vienna Award, or otherwise known as the First Vienna Diktat was a treaty signed on November 2, 1938, as a result of the First Vienna Arbitration. The Arbitration took place at Vienna's Belvedere Palace. The Arbitration and Award were direct consequences of the Munich Agreement the previous month and decided the partitioning of Czechoslovakia.

On 2 November 1938, this found largely in favor of the Hungarians and obliged the Prague government to cede 11,833 km² of Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia to Hungary. Not only did this transfer the homes of about 590,000 Hungarians to Hungary, but 290,000 Slovaks and 37,000  Rusyns as well. In addition, it cost Slovakia its second-largest city, Košice, and left the capital, Bratislava, vulnerable to further Hungarian pressure. As a consequence, the Slovak end of the Czechoslovak Army had to be reorganized. It had lost its natural defensive positions on the Danube River, almost the entire belt of fortifications along the Hungarian border and several major depots.

The Arbitration of Vienna fully satisfied nobody, and there followed 22 border clashes between 2 November 1938 and 12 January 1939, during which five Czechoslovaks were killed and six were wounded. The Slovak national militia Hlinka Guard participated in these clashes. The ineffectiveness of the Prague government in protecting their interests stirred Slovak and Ukrainian nationalism further.

On 8 November 1938, the Slovak National Unity Party received 97.5 percent of the Slovak votes, and a one-party state was instituted. Slovak autonomy was formalized by the Prague parliament on 19 November, and to symbolize this new Slovak assertiveness, the country's name was then altered to Czecho-Slovakia. Carpatho-Ukraine was also given autonomy.

Proclamation of Independence

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Slovak and Ukrainian nationalism grew more intense. On 10 March, the Hlinka Guard and Volksdeutsche demonstrated, demanding independence from Czecho-Slovakia.[ citation needed ] In the evening of 13 March, Slovak leader Jozef Tiso and Ďurčanský met Adolf Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Generals Walther von Brauchitsch and Wilhelm Keitel in Berlin.

Hitler made it absolutely clear: Slovakia could either declare independence immediately and associate itself with the Reich, or he would allow the Hungarians to take over the country – whom Ribbentrop reported were massing at the border.[ citation needed ] During the afternoon and night of 14 March, the Slovak people proclaimed independence from Czecho-Slovakia, and at 05:00 on 15 March 1939, Hitler declared the unrest in Czecho-Slovakia to be a threat to German national security. He sent his troops into Bohemia and Moravia, meeting virtually no resistance.

Following the Slovak proclamation of independence on March 14 and the Nazis' seizure of Czech lands on 15 March, Carpatho-Ukraine declared its independence as the Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine for one day, with the Reverend Avgustyn Voloshyn as head of state.[ citation needed ]. Voloshin was now supported by the population of Subcarpathia. The First Constitutional Law of Carpatho-Ukraine of 15 March 1939 defined the new country as follows: [3]

  1. Carpatho-Ukraine is an independent state
  2. The name of the state is: Carpatho-Ukraine
  3. Carpatho-Ukraine is a republic, headed by a president elected by the Soim of Carpatho-Ukraine
  4. The state language of Carpatho-Ukraine is the Ukrainian language
  5. The colors of the national flag of the Carpatho-Ukraine are blue and yellow, blue on top and yellow on the bottom
  6. The state emblem of Carpatho-Ukraine is as follows: a bear on a red field on the sinister side, four blue and three yellow stripes on the dexter side, as well as the trident of Saint Volodymyr the Great
  7. The national anthem of Carpatho-Ukraine is "Ukraine has not perished"
  8. This act comes valid immediately after its promulgation

The proclaimed Carpatho-Ukrainian government was headed by President Avgustyn Voloshyn [3] , Prime Minister Yulian Révaý, Minister of Defence Stepan Klochurak, and Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Perevuznyk.[ citation needed ] The head of the Soim was Avhustyn Shtephan, his deputies were Fedir Révaý and Stepan Rosokha.[ citation needed ] The Slovak declaration of independence caused law and order to break down immediately. The Hungarians had learned that the Germans would not object to a Hungarian takeover of Carpatho-Ukraine on the same day.

Hungarian invasion

Hungarian invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine
Date14–18 March 1939 (1939-03-14 1939-03-18)
Result Hungarian occupation and annexation
Flag of Ukraine.svg Carpatho-UkraineFlag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946).svg  Hungary
Commanders and leaders
± 2,000 [4] ± 40,000 [4]
Casualties and losses
72 deaths, 164 wounded, 3 missing and 2 prisoners (official Hungarian statistics) [5]
± 200 killed and several hundred wounded (Czech and Ukrainian estimates) [5]
± 230 [3]
Czechoslovak forces lost 40 killed, 150 injured and 17 missing [5]
± 27,000 civilians killed [3]

The Carpatho-Ukrainian declaration of independence was taken as the cue for the Hungarians to demand that the Czecho-Slovak government evacuate its troops and civil servants from the area of the Carpathians immediately. The Czecho-Slovak government did not respond, and instead ordered its troops to attack the city of Munkács (Mukacheve) —previously ceded to the Hungarians on 2 November—on the morning of 14 March 1939.

The available Hungarian forces consisted of an infantry regiment, two cavalry regiments, three infantry battalions on bicycles, one motorized battalion, two border guard battalions, one artillery battalion and two armored trains. These forces were counting for more than two World War II divisions. They were supported by Fiat CR.32 fighter aircraft amounting to one regiment. The Hungarian Border Guard units stationed around Munkács, after throwing back the attacking Czecho-Slovak units on 14 March 1939, pressed forward in turn, and took the town of Őrhegyalja (today Pidhoriany as part of Mukacheve).

On 15 March 1939, the Hungarian Army regular troops invaded Carpatho-Ukraine and by nightfall reached Szolyva. The Carpatho-Ukrainian irregular troops, the Carpathian Sich, without additional support, were quickly routed. [3] The greatest battle between the Hungarian army and several hundreds Ukrainian soldiers (armed with light machine guns, rifles, hand grenades and pistols) took place near Khust. [3] About 230 Ukrainians died in the battle. [3]

Czecho-Slovak resistance in Carpatho-Ukraine was negligible, and the advancing Hungarian troops did not have to face a well-organized and centralized resistance. The Hungarian Army also had the advantage of the First Vienna Award, which made it possible for the Hungarians to take possession of the area where the Czechs built their permanent fortifications against Hungary.

On 16 March 1939, Hungary formally annexed the territory. Prime Minister Yulian Révaý had resisted the Hungarians until then. In the night to 17 March, the last Czecho-Slovak troops left Khust and retreated to Romanian borders. They and the one-day president of Carpatho-Ukraine, Voloshyn, fled to Romania.

The Hungarian Army continued their advance, pushing forward at top speed, and reached the Polish border on 17 March. According to witness recollections, all captured Sich members Hungarian soldiers were tied in fours with barbed wire and thrown into the Tysa river. [4] Those Sich members who came from the province of Galicia as Polish citizens were captured by Hungarians and handed over to Polish soldiers for illegally crossing the border, while some 500-600 [4] were executed by Polish soldiers. [4] [6] The last resistance in the Carpathian mountains was taken out on 18 March. [3]

The invasion campaign was a success, but it also proved that the Hungarian Army was not yet ready for full war. The handicaps imposed by the Trianon Treaty were clearly visible, but the morale and nationalist spirit of the soldiers and the civilian populations were high, which was also important in building a strong national army.

The Hungarian invasion was followed by a few weeks of terror in which more than 27,000 people were shot dead without trial and investigation. [3] Over 75,000 Ukrainians decided to seek asylum in the USSR; of those almost 60,000 of them died in Gulag prison-camps. [3] Others joined the Czechoslovak Army. [3]

World War II and aftermath

In total between 1939 and 1944 80,000 Carpathian Ukrainians perished. [3]

Following the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, Adolf Eichmann oversaw the deportation of almost the entire Hungarian Jewish population; few survived the Holocaust. At the conclusion of the Battle of the Dukla Pass on 28 October 1944, the Soviet Union had driven the Germans and Hungarians back and liberated Carpathian Ruthenia and the rest of western Ukraine. Control of Carpathian Ruthenia thus "nominally" reverted to Czechoslovakia. The delegation of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, led by minister František Němec, arrived in Khust to establish the provisional Czechoslovak administration, according to the treaties between the Soviet and Czechoslovak government that year.

However, after just a few weeks, for reasons that remain unclear, the Red Army and the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs started to obstruct the delegation's work and finally a puppet "National Committee of Transcarpatho-Ukraine" was set up in Mukachevo under the protection of the Red Army. On 26 November this committee, led by Ivan Ivanovich Turyanitsa, a Rusyn who had deserted from the Czechoslovak army,[ citation needed ] proclaimed the "will of Ukrainian people" to separate from Czechoslovakia and to join the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. After two months of conflict and unsuccessful negotiations the Czechoslovak government delegation departed Khust on 1 February 1945, leaving Carpatho-Ukraine under Soviet control.

The Soviet Union exerted pressure on Czechoslovakia, and on 29 June 1945, the two countries signed a treaty, officially ceding Carpatho-Ruthenia to the USSR. In 1946, the area became part of the Ukrainian SSR as the Zakarpattia Oblast.


The Soim of Carpatho-Ukraine was established on 12 February 1939 by the Czechoslovakian constitutional act of 22 November 1938. It consisted of 32 representatives with 29 Ukrainians and three of national minorities. There was only a single session of the parliament that took place on 15 March 1939 in Khust.

At the session the parliament approved the proclamation of the sovereignty of Carpatho-Ukraine, adopted its Constitution, elected the president, and confirmed the new government of Julian Revai. The head of the Soim became Augustin Štefan with his deputies, Fedir Revai and Stepan Rosokha. The presidium of the Soim emigrated out of the country following the invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine by the Hungarian Armed Forces.

Prosecution of Carpatho-Ukraine activists and government officials

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 Rychlík & Rychlíková 2016.
  2. Magocsi 1978, p. 250-251.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Today is the 80th anniversary of the proclamation of Carpatho-Ukraine". Ukrinform (in Ukrainian). 15 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Skavron, B. Executed State . "Halytsky Korrespondent".
  5. 1 2 3 (in Ukrainian) Resistance in the Carpathians. How Transcarpathians defended the Hungarian aggression in 1939, Ukrayinska Pravda (15 March 2017)
  6. Dovhei, V. From Beskyds to Katyn. "View behind the scenes. Collection of articles". LvCSTEI. Lviv, 2006
  7. Sevastian Sabol at the Territory of Terror Museum