Origins of Czechoslovakia

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End of World War I, the disbanding of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, founding of an independent Czechoslovakia.

The Czech philosopher and politician Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937) carried out negotiations in the USA from April 1918 where he had been warmly welcomed. His wife Charlotte Garrigue (1850-1923), who he had married in March 1878, was the daughter of a New York businessman.  Masaryk succeeded in convincing President Wilson that the demands of the subjugated nations of the Austrian Monarchy were legitimate. On the 18th of October 1918, Woodrow Wilson publicly revoked his previous position and contributed in this fashion to the disbandment of the already decimated Austria-Hungary. He, at the same time, supported the emergence of an independent Czechoslovakia, the “founding document” of which was the so-called declaration of Czechoslovak independence which came about on 16th of October 1918 in Washington and which was announced in Paris on 18th of October 1918. Emperor Charles I attempted to declare a federation on 16th of October 1918, but Austria-Hungary had already practically fallen apart. Charles I accepted Wilson's declaration on 28th of October 1918 with this day being the day of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The cease-fire was signed in  Compiègne on 11th of November 1918 bringing an end to World War I. That same day, Emperor Charles I signed an abdication document and immediately left the Schönbrunn Château in Vienna, definitively bringing an end to Austria-Hungary. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected President of independent Czechoslovakia on 14th of November 1918 and is known as the President Liberator.