In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Slovakia is Number 3 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Slovakia was at this time part of Hungary, which in turn was part of the empire of Austria-Hungary. The book includes sections on physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. It puts the population of Slovakia at some 3.5 million, of whom about half were ethnic Slovaks, 36 percent Hungarians, and 6 percent Germans. The economic section of the study focuses on the mineral wealth of the country—chiefly iron ore and coal, but also gold, silver, and other nonferrous metals—and discusses the need for foreign investment in the mining sector. In the concluding remarks, the study notes that “the Slovak people have been in the position of aliens, living and working under a Government to which they have long been passively, and of late actively, hostile.” With the breakup of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I, Slovakia was separated from Hungary and became part of the newly created state of Czechoslovakia.

Last updated: March 21, 2014