Sylabus rozšírených bludov o Povstaní '44 Svedectvá doby Pravda o Povstaní '44 Memoriál pplk. Jána Šmigovského

The inevitable end to the Slovak Republic came with the invading Red army in April 1945. In early April, Tiso instructed his secretary, Karol Murin, to go to Munich to seek the help of Cardinal Faulhaber in obtaining asylum for him. At the same time Tiso left Bratislava for Kremsmuenster in Upper Austria. Faulhaber invited Tiso to the monastery at Altoetting near Munich, meanwhile trying to contact the Vatican to work out some arrangements for permanent asylum. However, before this could be accomplished, Tiso was discovered by the American army and, in the following October, handed over to the Czechoslovak authorities. Benes, as well as other Czechs and Slovaks in exile or in underground organizations in Slovakia, had claimed that Tiso and his associates had been traitors. This kind of statement and other accusations were, of course, false. Dr. Tiso, as a priest of Catholic Church, was strongly opposed to Communism, being very well aware of the nature of this perfidious political system based on violence and disrespect for human life.

It was general knowledge among simple people in Slovakia, as well as educated scholars that no government entering into negotiations with Soviet officials could trust the conclusion of any agreement. The Soviets have signed many treaties but kept only those which were useful and profitable for them.

When Dr. Kirschbaum, charge d'affaires of Slovak Government in Switzerland, came to Bratislava on the 4th of August, 1944, the political and military situation in Central Europe was very serious. He was well acquainted with many European diplomats in Bern: Papal Nuncio, representatives of the Swiss Foreign Affairs Department, Bulgarian envoy Kioseivanov, Spanish envoy, Finnish and Irish charge d'affaires. He gave the President every diplomat's opinion and added his own observation to that, including the survey of the daily Swiss press and radio commentary.

The essence of Dr. Kirschbaum's report was the wait for the inevitable defeat of Germany and the inevitable capitulation and occupation of Central Europe, including Slovakia, by Soviet army, along with the fact that war's end could be expected during the summer of 1945. The President listened to him without interrupting, here and there shaking his head, and his face becoming more and more grave. But, when Dr. Kirschbaum finished, he looked at him with his peaceful blue eyes and said: "It looks sad but I thank you for your report. I expected no less from you". He then began to pace the shelter where they had to retire because of an air raid in Bratislava. He stopped in one corner and looking him squarely in the eyes, said: "Unfortunately we cannot look for an agreement with the Bolsheviks and, if the Americans had let you know that Slovaks must accept Benes, which would mean giving up claim to independence, then there is no choice for us in such a situation. We cannot renounce the right to independence. We do not have either moral or political justification for that and we cannot submit to Communism morally or politically."

"No politician, even with limited experience, can believe that the Russians have left a land which they have occupied, without imposing their system upon it, eliminating all opposition and without destroying the Church. Nobody can convince me of that. Although they have recently tried to convince me, I am not so naive as to believe that. If we immediately joined the Soviets, they would permit not only the existence of the Slovak State, but also that I could stay as a head of State, as it was expressly said to me." (Special Soviet emissaries were sent to President Tiso in Bratislava to try to persuade him to join the Soviet side). The President became more agitated after having said this, finally shaking his head and, looking at me, continued: "Simply imagine - they want me to believe all that!"

Without so much as my being able to say anything, the President began to pace about in a circle, continuing in his reasoning for his rejection of an agreement with the Communists. "I have no illusions about what will happen to me and to many of us who attempted to save Slovakia from a catastrophe during the war. I know of many whom we have saved and who have reached high positions which they did not even dream about precisely because we, in 1939, declared independence. Now they are acting treasonably, starting when Germans began to retreat from Russia."

"A death sentence was not carried out on anyone for treason or political conspiracy, nor did we imprison them while their provocation did not become unbearable. The Slovak nation elected us, gave us its trust and believed in us because we wanted Slovakia to be Christian and independent. From a moral perspective, there is no justification and we have no right and no mandate from the Slovak nation to conclude a treaty with Moscow, nor to set up all our citizens for German reprisals. We have even less right to determine the future of Slovakia in a direction which is against our national tradition, our convictions and our national interests. We cannot voluntarily submit to Communism and provoke a German massacre which would follow, if we acted as they demand from London and Moscow."

"When we were forced to cooperate with Berlin in 1939, the situation was completely different. I was invited to Berlin to save Slovakia, to save and to attain independence. Hitler did not ask us to change our traditions, or that we introduce Nazism, such as the Communists would want of us now. At that time, the international situation was different from what it is now. Great Britain, France, the United States, and every other State wanted to save the peace and recommended appeasing Hitler. We declared independence during peace time and, although it was expected that war would come, it was not taken as a certainty. Therefore, there cannot be a serious comparison between 1939 and the situation today. We would have destroyed Slovakia if we had turned against the Germans and if we had submitted our nation to a Communist regime. That is something about which we cannot have any doubts whatsoever."

A short pause took place. The President lowered his head and apparently continued in the same spirit analyzing the situation. Then he stood up and said: "As you see, I have no illusions. I only hope that the Good Lord will help us and that the Western Powers will be just to our nation. We did not conduct a war against them and our participation even in the war against the Soviet Union was symbolic, as I have stated in my speeches. When it inevitably happens that several of you are in neutral countries, you will be morally bound to tell the whole truth about Slovakia and to continue the fight for the freedom and the independence of the Slovak nation. The Slovak nation gave you the opportunity to learn foreign languages, get experience in diplomacy and, by that, to prepare for such a mission. May God bless you and don't stop writing to me, even if your news is not inspiring." (Dr. Charles Murin, Remembrances and Testimony, English Translation by Vladimir J. Cincik, Jr., pages 309-311).

Dr. Tiso based his judgement on other events which took place in 1944 and 1945 in Eastern and Southern Europe. The Soviets persuaded the Rumanians to capitulate in October 1944 and promised King Michael that he could stay and continue in his office as king. When the Rumanians agreed and laid down their weapons, the Soviets broke their promise, removed the king and forced the Rumanians to organize military divisions which would be fighting along the Soviet troops against the Germans. There was another blatant case with regard to Bulgaria. This nation was not in war against the Soviets, but their troops simply occupied the whole country, exterminated 15,000 intellectuals who were strongly opposed to Communism and extorted the country in such a way that many Bulgarians had to live below the poverty level. Dr. Tiso, as a responsible and conscientious statesman and patriot, could not make a compromise with such a diabolical system of government. Dr. Benes naively accepted Stalin's promises. In the treaty concluded with Stalin in December 1943 in Moscow, Benes was given a promise of recognition of pre-war borders of Czechoslovakia and no interference in internal affairs. Both of these promises were broken. Red army occupied Carpatho-Ukraine in December 1944. Soviets abolished local committees and replaced them with Communist ones.

In the following years, the aggressive Czech Communists set up local political committees in Slovak towns, cities and villages. They were backed by the presence of the Soviet army and the collaborators, while organizing approximately 70 concentration camps in Slovakia. Whoever worked for the Slovak government headed by Dr. Tiso, was usually accused of treason which was generally not true. Slovak minor and major political leaders had to endure persecutions not only before the courts, but in prisons and concentration camps. As can be read in two volumes of Professor Frantisek Vnuk, "Slovakia in 1945 and 1948" which are based on original foreign and domestic documents, gives us a clear picture of Benes' vengeance on Slovak nation because during the Second World War they organized their own State which was very prosperous and gave many proofs that Slovaks were a politically mature nation that could manage its own affairs without any foreign tutors and advisors.

Life in these concentration camps was very miserable as far as nutrition was concerned and the habitation of the prisoners lacked in many ways. The International Commission of the Red Cross visited and inspected some of these concentration camps and was appalled at the inhuman treatment not only of men but also of women and children. That was the price the Slovak nation had to pay for unhealthy and egotistic ambitions of Eduard Benes who wanted to be president of this post-war state. For the tragedy of the situation in Slovakia could be blamed not only on the Communists, but also on the Democratic Party whose members went along with the inhuman treatment of Slovak population.

Communists were the leading element which indicated the direction the policy was going to develop. The other parties followed willingly and were guilty of at least 50% of all inhumanities It is true, that for the Czech lands, Bohemia and Moravia, this "liberation" meant a transfer from German to Soviet domination and it occurred in accordance with the wishes of the majority. However, in the case of Slovakia, the situation was vastly different. Here this transfer did not enjoy the support of the majority. The Slovak Republic was a sovereign state and consequently the transfer into Soviet zone of influence (which occurred through the incorporation of Slovakia into the restored Czechoslovakia) was carried out against the wishes of the majority of Slovaks. When Benes and the other Czech Communists like Gottwald came to Kosice, they talked about Kosice programme which he called Magna Charta for the Slovaks. Accordingly, they were to have their own diet and many other privileges like the Czechs. It did not take very long for all these promises and enthusiastic phrases to evaporate and come to nothing like the Pittsburgh Agreement. All this was just window-dressing on the part of the Czechs and Communists.

Without going into details one should remember that the Slovak gold reserves were one of the main reasons for the post-war stability of the Czechoslovak economy. Therefore it was not correct to claim that Slovakia was a backward region of Czechoslovakia. During the war 1939-45 Slovak economy flourished and many long-range plans and projects initiated before 1944 were realized. For example, the construction of the Orava dam, the electrification of the Slovak countryside, the hydro engineering plans of the Vah, the economic development of Eastern Slovakia, etc. Socialism with human face was supposed to relieve the dictatorial atmosphere in Slovakia, people were fed up with the cult of Communist leaders. The problem was that Dubcek did not have any definite, clear plan what to do with the collection of these liberal ideas. He followed the pressure from the bottom up. The public wanted to breathe more freely, have more freedom for self-expression. They were sick and tired of the cage atmosphere in the country.

When one thinks of concentration camps right after the Second World War, the persecution of Slovak patriots who helped Tiso's government to put into effect many reforms and innovations that enabled Slovakia to function like a new-born country in Central Europe, they were punished for good work, making many improvements, and top production of many goods which Slovaks could export and profit by it. The UNRA help was meant to be used mostly in Slovakia's Eastern part which was ruined by the regular fighting between the Soviets and Germans. On the contrary, UNRA's material was transported to Czechia and used there. The Czech bureaucrats robbed Slovaks of very well deserved help and, from the material in value of twelve billion crowns, only a trifle and crumbs were given to the Slovaks.

Let's think of the exchange of the Slovak crown Its much higher value in comparison to Protectorate crown was supposed to be exchanged at 3:1, but Dr. Srobar, Minister of Finance, stubbornly opposed this idea, and when Slovak Minister of Finance, Tomas Tvarozek, insisted on the original 3:1 ratio, the commando of killers broke into his office at night and killed him. Official announcement said, he committed suicide.

How could the Slovaks be pleased with their suffering in concentration camps and prisons, courts, losses of many billions of UNRA help and over thirty billions of crowns at the exchange ratio of 1:1 Slovak crown for Protectorate one. It was a highway robbery and mistreatment of weaker partner (Slovaks) in this new State of two equal partners.

During the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, Lenin claimed that the Proletariat was the basis of society. According to him, the working class and its interests were supposed to be prioritized. There was a slogan: "Land to the peasants, factories to the workers, and peace to everybody!" Superior echelons of Soviet officials should have been elected by the inferior organizations. Stalin and his successors turned this order upside down. Factories have been nationalized, land was turned into cooperatives (state kolchoses). Many times factories did not pay much attention to the fact whether the merchandise produced by them is very much in demand on the market. When their machinery in the factories has broken down, there were long production stoppages, it took a long time to obtain spare parts to repair machinery.

The huge Soviet bureaucracy was another obstacle in normal functioning of Soviet life. To go through several tiers of bureaucrats in Soviet offices, was a real calvary for simple Soviet citizens. They had to bribe all these ineffective clerks from the lowest to the highest. Ordinary people were frequently abused when they wanted to accomplish something among these officials. After leaving the factory, they had to line up in front of the state shops to get the basic necessities like bread, milk and some meat. It took them from three to five hours to get them.

Sandorfi, R.: History of Slovakia. (Survey). Toronto-Bratislava : Zahraničná Matica slovenská, 1996. s. 213-219.