Etnická klasifikace a institucionální zakotvení národnosti v Československu 1918–1938
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Ethnic Classification and Institutional Affiliation of Nationalities in Czechoslovakia from 1918 to 1938
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The interests of the state were significantly reflected in the ethnic (national) classification and in the institutional affiliation of nationalities in Czechoslovakia. At the same time, the state power needed to take into account the series of commitments it had agreed on in Paris in 1919. The Czechoslovak state provided the majority of people from different nationalities with solid conditions for developing a national life. Because of the state power and in order to defend the interests of the nation, a rather problematic definition of nationality was created in the 1921 and 1930 population censuses. The main problems of the Czechoslovak Republic were twofold. On the one hand, the state power did not assume the role of referee standing above competing nationalities – unlike what happened in Cisleithania ‒ while on the other hand, it actually tended to identify with one nationality only. Therefore, the 1921 census included a hybrid category for nationality (the mother tongue) with the clear message that ‘mother tongue’ related to a person’s group of origin regardless of his or her actual language usage. The present analysis covering two decades from 1918 to 1938 revealed the significance of the independent judicial power. The Supreme Administrative Court in Czechoslovakia acquired the executive power to clarify the meaning of the term „nationality“, and more specifically to elucidate the connection between mother tongue and nationality. The Czechoslovak census formally defended the principle of the subjective concept of nationality. However, free choice of nationality was limited by the mother tongue, which became an objectively-defined criterion.
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