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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/262

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CZfiCHOSLOVAKIA


246


OZEOHOSLOVAXIA


(10.202 at par of exchange) had emandi^ated itself from the German mark and its fluctuations and had risen to its normal value.

Education.— The first task of the new Czecho- slovak government was to free over 50,000 Czech children from German schools and to give them the opportunity to acouire an education in their mother tongue. Though the Magyars formed only 22% of the population of Slovakia, 90% of the schools were Magyar, there being but 300 Slovak schools for 2,000,000 Slovaks, and not a single Slovak secondary school. In one year alone the new re* public established about 500 new elementary schools m Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. In 1918-10 there were in Slovakia 3,931 elementary schools with 4,053 teachers and 390,764 pupils; of the total number of schools in the district, 750 were state institutions, the rest were denominational. In other parts of the republic the elementary schools are all state schools. Czechoslovakia has 74 gymnasia, 71 real gsrmnasia, 71 real schools, making a total of 216. Of the 178 secondary schools m Bohemia and Moravia, 114 were Czech and 64 German. In 1920 there were opened 2 gymnasia, 20 real f^rmnasia, 1 lyceum, 6 real schools, and 8 teacher's institutes. There are 4 universities in Czechoslovakia and 4 technical high schools. The law of 7 February, 1919, provided for the establishment of popular courses in civic education, and the law of 22 July, 1919, for the compulsory establishment of public libraries; another on 23 May, 1919, placed public school teachers on equality with governmental offi- cials who possess a secondary school education.

Militia. — ^The system prevailing in the Austro- Hungarian army at the time of its collapse was adopted for a time, but the army was used pri- marily for defense and maintenance of internal order. On 20 March, 1920, Parliament adopted a bill to establish a militia and an army of 150,000 men.

Government. — ^The Provisional Constitution, pro- mulgated as the Law of 13 November, 1918, was superseded on 29 February, 1920, by a new con- stitution passed by the National Assembly. Accord- ing to its terms Czechoslovakia is a republic, with an elected president as its head. Tne National Parliament has two chambers, the House of Repre- sentatives with 300 members, and the Senate with 150 members, the former elected for six years, the latter for eight years, by a universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage according to the principles of proportional representation, the election to be on a Sunday chosen by the Ministry of the Interior. Voting is a civic duty which must be exercised per- sonally, not by proxy. The Parliament meets in two regular sessions every year, and in electing the President both houses unite into a National As- sembly. It has the legislative initiative, and when it is not in session a Permanent Committee, com- posed of sixteen members of the House of Kepre- sentatives and eight of the Senate, is in office to make necessary provisions having the force of law, and to control tne Executive. It cannot, however, change the constitutional laws, elect the President or impose a lasting financial burden, enlarge the military obligation, or alienate state property. The President, elected for seven years, is supreme com- mander of the armed forces and can decIare^ war with the consent of Parliament, appoints the higher officers and officials, exercises the right of reprieve and is himself amenable to the laws only on a charge of high treason. All governmental and executive powers not explicitly given to the Presi- dent are vested in the government, i. e., cdllective body of ministers (sixteen in all), which has


the same responsibility as the British cabinet. There is a Constitutional Court modeled on the United States Supreme Court. Carpathian Rus- sia, enjoying home rule, is an inseparable part of Czechoslovakia, which is divided for electoral pur- poses into 23 districts for the House of Representa- tives and 16 for the Senate. The official language is Czechoslovak, but the minority, numbering over 20%, may choose its official language and have its own schools. Fk'eedom of speech and of the press, the protection of racial minorities, etc., are guar- anteed.

Religion.— The population is 90% Catholic, the percentage of reheious affiliations being divided approximately as follows: Catholics, 85j6% ; Uniats, 4.3%; Lutherans, 4.5%: Calvinists, 2.5%; Jews, 2.7%. By the terms ot the Treaty of Peace all inhabitants are entitled to the free exercise, whether public or private, of any creed, religion or belief, whose practices are not inconsistent with public order or public morals; the Czechoslovak nationals who belong to racial, religious, or linguistic minor- ities are to enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as other Czechoslovak nationals, and in particular have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense charitable, religious, and social institutions, schools and other educational establishments, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their religion freely within them. The minorities shall be assured an equitable share of the public funds for educa- tional, religious, or charitable purposes. Marriage, the family and motherhood are under the special protection of laws. Such are the chief provisiens of the Constitution of Czechoslovakia in matters touching directlv upon reliffion, which work out in an unexpected way. In the first election (1920) the principle of proportional representation gave rise to 16 parties, 8 Czechoslovak, 5 German, and 3 Magyar. The following results give a clear idea of tne composition of the population:


Name of Party


Czechoslovak Parties

1. Social Democrats

2. Socialists

3. Pro^essive Socialists

4. National Democrats

5. Agrarians

6. Slovak National Peasants

7. Popular (Catholic)

8. Tradesmen's

German Parties

9. Social Democrats

10. Bourgeois

11. Farmers

12. Christian Socialists (Catholic)

13. Freethinkers

Magyar Parties

14. Socialists

15. Farmers

16. Christian Socialists

ToUl


Seats


SeaU


m


m


Chamber


Senate


74


41


24


10


3



19


10


28


14


12


6


33


18


6


3


31


16


15


8


11


6


10


4


5


3


4



1


1


5


2


281


142


Although the population is over 85% Catholic, the socialistic parties obtained over 50% of the available seats, while the Catholic parties obtained only 17%, to be increased, perhaps, when the re- maining 19 deputies and 8 senators were up for election. This indicated that the vast majority of Catholics were affiliated with parties other than