Slovak National Uprising
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseAlthough armed resistance against German and Slovakian collaborator forces had taken place throughout the German occupation, when Soviet troops neared southern Poland in the summer of 1944, resistance forces geared up for a major uprising. On 28 Aug 1944, additional German troops entered Slovakia in response to partisan activities in Slovakia and Romania. On the following day, Slovakian Defense Minister Ferdinand Catlos announced over the radio that German troops had occupied the country; shortly after, at 2000 hours, resistance leader JŠn Golian sent out the order to launch the general uprising. The first victory was achieved by the resistance fighters as they captured the city of BanskŠ Bystrica in the morning of 30 Aug, which was quickly made into the headquarters of the resistance leadership. In the confusion of the opening stages of the uprising, however, Slovakian Air Force Colonel Talsky took his aircraft to join the Soviets in southern Poland, thus leaving two divisions of resistance fighters at Presov without support; they were disarmed by the Germans by the following day with minimal resistance. The loss of these two divisions of fighters, who were most recently members of the Eastern Slovakian Army, was particularly devastating as they possessed the heavy weapons needed to counter German regular troops.
ww2dbaseOn 5 Sep 1944, JŠn Golian was given the rank of general and the responsibility to direct the uprising. By this time, the official numbers of resistance fighters had grew to 47,000 men, more than double of the strength one week prior. He pushed his men to capture two airfields in eastern Czechoslovakia, which was achieved by 10 Sep, allowing the Soviets to bring in limited supplies and heavy weapons by air. The quantities of Soviet supplies were limited not due to the capacity of aircraft but more so the unwillingness to support a uprising that was not directly controlled by the Soviet Union; furthermore, Soviet General Ivan Konev gave orders to Moscow-controlled partisan groups in the region to avoid coordination with the Slovakian resistance fighters. On 7 Oct, General Rudolf Viest took control of the uprising from Golian, and Golian stepped down to be Viest's deputy.
ww2dbaseBefore long, German troops began to turn the momentum; meanwhile, factions within the resistance movement, which had cooperated awkwardly from the start, began to squabble with each other. On 17 Oct 1944, a German anti-partisan campaign was launched. The operation began with the influx of 35,000 German troops from Hungary, and within days it was apparent that the resistance fighters were no match against hardened German regulars. On 27 Oct, BanskŠ Bystrica was evacuated as the Germans neared. On the following day, Viest sent a message to the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in Britain that the organized resistance had ended. On 30 Oct, at BanskŠ Bystrica, German SS-General Hermann HŲfle and leader of the Slovakian government Jozef Tiso jointly announced the victory over the uprising. On 3 Nov, Viest and Golian were captured in Pohronsky Bukovec, and both of them would be executed before the war's end. On 25 Dec, the small Anglo-American military missions previously sent to aid the Slovak National Uprising were captured by the Germans; some of them would be executed as well.
Slovak National Uprising Interactive Map
Slovak National Uprising Timeline
|28 Aug 1944||Additional German troops entered Slovakia in response to partisan activities in Slovakia and Romania, effecting a total occupation.|
|29 Aug 1944||Slovakian resistance leader JŠn Golian ordered the launch of the planned general uprising.|
|30 Aug 1944||Slovakian resistance fighters captured BanskŠ Bystrica, Czechoslovakia.|
|31 Aug 1944||Two divisions of Slovakian resistance fighters were disarmed by German troops at Presov, Czechoslovakia.|
|5 Sep 1944||JŠn Golian was given the rank of general and was given responsibility to direct the Slovak National Uprising.|
|7 Sep 1944||A Soviet military mission was established under Major Ivan Skripka in Slovakia to aid the Slovak National Uprising.|
|1 Oct 1944||The Slovakian resistance fighters named themselves the Czechoslovakian 1st Army in Slovakia.|
|7 Oct 1944||General Rudolf Viest was made the commander of the Slovak National Uprising; previous commander, General JŠn Golian, stepped down to become Viest's deputy.|
|27 Oct 1944||Slovakian resistance fighters abandoned their headquarters in BanskŠ Bystrica, Czechoslovakia.|
|28 Oct 1944||General Rudolf Viest sent a message to the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile in Britain that the organized resistance had ended.|
|30 Oct 1944||German SS-General Hermann HŲfle and leader of the Slovakian government Jozef Tiso jointly announced the victory over the uprising at BanskŠ Bystrica, Czechoslovakia.|
|3 Nov 1944||Slovakian resistance leaders Rudolf Viest and JŠn Golian were captured in Pohronsky Bukovec, Czechoslovakia.|
|25 Dec 1944||The small US and British military missions previously sent to eastern Czechoslovakia to aid the Slovak National Uprising were captured by the Germans.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943