|Born||13 Oct 1887|
|Died||18 Apr 1947|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Jozef Tiso was born in Veľká Bytča in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was educated as a theologian in 1910 and worked as an educator for the Roman Catholic Church. During WW1, he was a chaplain in the military. In 1915 he became the director of the Theological Seminary of Nitra while teaching at a local high school. Around this time, he became involved in the Slovak People's Party, a political group that consisted heavily of Slovak Roman Catholics. When he became the dean and parish priest of the town of Bánovce nad Bebravou in 1924, a post he held until 1939, the Slovak People's Party also became the largest political party in Slovakia. Between 1927 and 1938, he held various government posts, including ministerial positions. In 1938, when the party's founder Andrej Hlinka died, Tiso found himself at the helm of the party.
On 5 Oct 1938, President Edvard Beneš fled Czechoslovakia in protest of German annexation of Sudetenland, and it plunged Czechoslovakia into brief chaos. Amidst the uncertainty, Tiso declared Slovakia an independent country, and himself the Prime Minister. Slovak People's Party was renamed Hlinka's Slovak People's Party-Party of Slovak National Unity after annexing many smaller political parties. In Jan 1939, all political parties were outlawed except for the Party of Slovak National Unity, the Deutsche Partei, and the Unified Hungarian Party. On 9 Mar 1939, Czech troops occupied Slovakia, and Tiso was removed from his post as the Prime Minister of the newly declared autonomous nation. Ten days later, however, he was invited by Adolf Hitler to Berlin. At face value, it was German's gesture to show support for Slovak independence, but the actual intent involved more intrigue. Essentially, Tiso was faced with an ultimatum: declare Slovak independence under German protection, or Germany would allow Hungary and Poland to annex Slovakia after Germany annexed the Czech regions of Czechoslovakia. Tiso declared Slovak independence on 19 Mar 1939 once again as a result. He ruled Slovakia as its prime minister until 26 Oct 1939, when he became the president of Slovakia.
Though ruler of a nominally independent nation, Tiso was viewed as a puppet of Berlin. Anti-Semitic legislations were passed under German pressure, disallowing Jews from owning real estate and obtaining public jobs. Jewish children were also not permitted to attend schools beyond the secondary level. Though he was an anti-Semite, many also argued that he actively sought compromises with Berlin that best benefited Slovakia, and they argued that thing could have been worse had it been another at the helm. The eventual deportation of Slovak Jews did not shed light on Tiso's position; while 58,000 Slovaks did become deported to Nazi concentration camps, many of Tiso's supporters also claimed that it was Tiso's influence that halted deportation several times during WW2. Tiso's exact role in the Holocaust in Slovakia is still unclear today. In Oct 1944, Tiso's uncooperativeness with Berlin and the approaching Russian troops convinced Berlin to occupy Slovakia. Deportation of Jews immediate kicked into high gear; between Oct 1944 and the end of the war, 13,500 more Slovak Jews were deported and 5,000 imprisoned.
In Apr 1945, Russian troops occupied Slovakia and Tiso was removed from power. Largely due to Communist influence, he was sentenced to death by hanging for collaborating with Germany.
Jozef Tiso Timeline
|13 Oct 1887||Jozef Tiso was born.|
|26 Oct 1939||Jozef Tiso was declared the President of Slovakia.|
|8 Jun 1945||Jozef Tiso was arrested.|
|15 Apr 1947||Jozef Tiso was found guilty of German collaboration and was sentenced to death.|
|18 Apr 1947||Jozef Tiso was executed by hanging.|
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