The Communist Party of Slovakia (CPS) was formed in May 1939 and became a government party in spring 1945. Its membership base grew rapidly, reaching almost 200,000 by the end of 1945. After re-registration of members and party screening at the end of 1945 and beginning of 1946, the party had about 150,000 members in the middle of 1946, but their number was again approaching 200,000 at the time of the February coup of 1948. The organizational structure of the CPS comprised four parts. The first was the local or village organizations, the second were the district organizations in all 80 districts, and the third was the 11 regional organizations. The fourth and highest part was the leadership of the CPS that is the Central Committee and associated bodies. The CPS had a professional party apparatus. It was not very numerous, with perhaps 200 functionaries from the districts to the centre. This number increased slightly only up to February 1948. After the liberation, the central figures in the leadership of the CPS were Karol Šmidke and Gustáv Husák. This leadership was removed at the national conference of the CPS at Žilina in August 1945. Viliam Široký became chairman of the party, and Štefan Bašťovanský became general secretary. The CPS was formally an independent political party, but it worked in unity with the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, active in the Czech Lands, and was subordinate to its political line.