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Coat of arms of Czechoslovakia

Coat of arms of Czechoslovakia
Versions
The CoA of socialist Czechoslovakia (1961-1990)
The small CoA (1918-1939); CoA of post-war Czechoslovakia (1945-1960)
Details
Adopted 1918
1961
1990

The coat of arms of Czechoslovakia were changed many times during Czechoslovakia’s history, some alongside each other. This reflects the turbulent history of the country and a wish to use appropriate territorial coats of arms.

Contents

  • The First Republic (1918-1938) and post-war (1945-1960) 1
  • Occupied Czechoslovakia (1938-1945) 2
  • After 1960 3
  • Post-Czechoslovak coats of arms 4
  • References 5

The First Republic (1918-1938) and post-war (1945-1960)

The smaller and the greater versions were not used from 1938 onwards, but the middle arms also was effectively put out of use when Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. When Czechoslovakia was re-established in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, only the former smaller arms were re-adopted as arms for this so-called second republic.

The smaller arms was in essence the arms of Bohemia (Czechy) superimposed by the arms of Slovakia. The Slovakian arms should not be seen as a Herzschild but as a shield carried by the Bohemian lion in the larger motif. It is thus not to be seen as and inescutcheon taking up the honorary heart position in the arms. As can be seen in the image, it is also not placed in the visual centre of the arms.

The middle arms on the other hand, had one shield in the heart position, the arms of Bohemia. The main shield also held the arms of Slovakia, Carpathian Ruthenia, Moravia, and Silesia.

The greater arms consisted of the same fields as in the middle arms completed with three more arms: the arms of the region of Těšín Silesia and the historical duchies of Opava and Ratibor. The greater arms also had two lions as supporters and the motto of the presidential office.

Occupied Czechoslovakia (1938-1945)

After 1960

Czechoslovakia had a Communist regime from 1948, but this initially retained the smaller coat of arms of 1918 and did not adopt an emblem in the form of so-called "socialist heraldry" so popular in most other countries influenced by the Soviet Union. In 1961 however, the arms were redesigned in the form of a shield usually never used in heraldry, a form of shield intended to stand on the ground and protect foot soldiers rather than the usual knight's shield. Above the Bohemian lion, the red star of Communism replaced the crown and the arms of Slovakia, still carried by the lion, was totally remade, removing the cross in favour of the fire of partisans and the trimount was replaced with a naturalistic silhouette of the Tatra mountains.

Following the fall of Communism in 1989, traditional heraldry was reinstated and new national arms were designed, quartering the arms of Bohemia and Slovakia. These arms were valid until Czechoslovakia was dissolved at new year 1992/93.

Post-Czechoslovak coats of arms

References

  • Vexilolognet.cz - History of the symbols of Czechoslovakia
  • Vlastenci.cz
  • (English) Senate:The Czech national emblem
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