The Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovenská republika), also known as the first Slovak Republic (Slovak: prvá Slovenská republika) or the Slovak State (Slovak: slovenský štát), in Czech and Slovak historical literature commonly referred as Slovenský štát, and has been regarded as a client state of Nazi Germany, which existed from 14 March 1939 to 4 April 1945. It existed on the majority of the territory of present-day Slovakia, without its current southern and eastern parts, which were then part of Hungary. The Republic bordered Germany, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, General Government (German-occupied remnant of Poland), and Hungary.
The Slovak State was recognized by Germany and several other states including the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, Croatia, El Salvador, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, Romania, the Soviet Union, Spain, Switzerland, and Vatican City. The first Slovak Republic’s legal existence was retroactively nullified by the World War II victorious allies through the nullification of the Munich Agreement and all its consequences.
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Ferdinand Čatloš, 7 October 1895 in Liptovský Peter, Liptó County, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungarian Empire – 16 December 1972 in Martin, Czechoslovakia, was a Slovak military officer and politician. Throughout his short career in the administration of the Slovak Republic, he held the post of Minister of Defence. He was also the commanding officer of the Field Army Bernolák during the Invasion of Poland and Operation Barbarossa. At the conclusion of World War II, he was imprisoned for three years by the National Court of Bratislava and released in 1948. He spent the remainder of his life working as an ordinary clerk in Martin, Czechoslovakia.
Field Army Bernolák
The Field Army Bernolák (Slovak: Slovenská Poľná Armádna skupina “Bernolák”) was a field army of the Axis Slovak Republic during World War II. It was named after Anton Bernolák, the first codifier of the literary Slovak language.
The Slovak 1st Infantry Division “Janošík” took part in the Slovak invasion of Poland in September 1939. In October, it returned to Slovakia and was upgraded to a fully motorized division. Another component, the Fast Troops Group Kalinčiak, took part in Operation Barbarossa in 1941, advancing under Army Group South.
In August 1943 the Fast Division was restructured and renamed the 1st Infantry Division. However, the 1st Infantry Division saw very little action and was used for rear area duties until it was disbanded in July 1944 to form construction units.