Czech National Social Party

Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální, ČSNS) is a civic nationalist political party in the Czech Republic, that once played an important role in Czechoslovakia during the interwar period. It was established in 1897 by break-away groups from both the national liberal Young Czech Party and the Czech Social Democratic Party, with a stress on achieving independence of the Czech lands from Austria-Hungary (as opposed to the Social Democrats' aim for an international workers' revolution). Its variant of socialism was moderate and reformist rather than a Marxist one. After the National Labour Party dissolved and merged with National Socialists in 1930, the party also became the refuge for Czech liberals.[2] Its best-known member was Edvard Beneš, a co-founder of Czechoslovakia and the country's second President during the 1930s and 1940s.[3]

Czech National Social Party
Česká strana národně sociální
LeaderVladislav Svoboda
Founded4 April 1897 (125 years ago) (1897-04-04)
Split fromSocial Democratic Party and Young Czech Party
HeadquartersLegerova 22, Prague
NewspaperČeský deník
Česká demokracie
České slovo
Svobodné slovo
IdeologyCzech nationalism[1]
Social liberalism
Democratic socialism[1]
Liberal socialism
Reformist socialism
Political positionCentre to centre-left
White, Red, Blue, Gold
Chamber of Deputies
0 / 200
0 / 81
European Parliament
0 / 21
Regional councils
0 / 675
Local councils
9 / 62,300
Party flag
Flag of the Czech National Social Party

Despite the similar name, the Czech "National Socialists" were not affiliated with Nazism or the German Nazi Party. While the early ČSNS made use of antisemitic rhetoric, the party completely abandoned such positions after the First World War, when it renamed to Czechoslovak (National) Socialist Party.[4] Instead, party representatives in the majority supported Zionism and highly supported German Jewish refugees in the 1930s.[5] The party liquidated itself after the Munich Agreement of 1938. During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Nazis persecuted (former) party members, who in turn offered resistance against the occupying forces or worked in exile.

After the Second World War, the party was revived and became the second strongest party, behind the Communists. After the latter took power in the 1948 coup d'état, the ČSS's role was reduced to a bloc party. Anti-communist members were persecuted again, forced to exile, or even executed like Milada Horáková. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the party failed to regain its importance. Since the 1990s, several splinter parties claim to continue the ČSNS's tradition.


The party was founded in 1897 and was led by Václav Klofáč, with support from Jiří Stříbrný and Emil Franke as well.[citation needed] The party platform relied on the social traditions of Hussitism and Taboritism, but it was also a programme of "collectivizing by means of development, surmounting of class struggle by national discipline, moral rebirth and democracy as the conditions of socialism, a powerful popular army, etc."[6]

In 1918 the party changed its name from the Czech National Social Party to the Czech Socialist Party, in 1919 to the Czechoslovak Socialist Party, and in 1926 to the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party. Edvard Beneš took de facto party leadership, although de jure, it was his ally Václav Klofáč. Jiří Stříbrný and his supporters were expelled for disagreements with Václav Klofáč and Edvard Beneš. The expelled Stříbrný faction later cooperated with the fascist movement and National Democratic Party.[7]

In its first years, the party bore some resemblance to National-Social Association in Germany. During the early 1920s, the party was an observer to the Labour and Socialist International, but never became a member due to disputes over internationalism. Its main international affiliation during the 1920s and 1930s was to the Entente of Radical and Democratic Parties, a centre-left international for non-Marxist progressive democratic parties whose chief member was the French Radical-Socialist Party. It also had close links with similar parties such as the Russian Narodniks of Alexander Kerensky and the People's Socialist Party in Yugoslavia. During the World War II, the exiled leadership of the party also cooperated with the British Labour Party.

From 1921, the party was part of most Czechoslovak government coalitions. Its newspaper was the České slovo. After German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, most of the Czech membership joined left-wing National Labour Party, while a minority joined right-wing Party of National Unity led by Rudolf Beran, and a few of its Slovak members joined the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party led by Jozef Tiso.[8]

Under German occupation, the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party functioned in exile and most of its members were active in the resistance movement. After 1945, the party resurfaced, under the leadership of Petr Zenkl, as one of the parties in the National Front. When Czechoslovakia became a Communist state in 1948, communist militias seized the party headquarters and the puppet leadership expelled most of its members for alleged fascist sympathies.[9] The party was again renamed the Czechoslovak Socialist Party and operated as pro-communist bloc-party. In exile, Petr Zenk led the Council of Free Czechoslovakia in London.

During the Velvet Revolution in 1989, a significant part of the party participated in the creation of the Civic Forum. After the return to democracy in 1989, the National Front was abolished. The party renamed itself the Liberal National Social Party (Liberální strana národně sociální), but failed to gather any significant support and was reduced to minor party status. It was shut out of the federal parliament in both elections held in 1990 elections. In 1992, the party operated inside the Liberal-Social Union and managed to gain a few seats in parliament.[10] After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia with its support hovering below the five-percent threshold, it merged with the Free Democrats, to form the Free Democrats – Liberal National Social Party.[11] However, in the 1996 elections, its support tumbled to 2.1 percent and it was shut out of the legislature, never to return.[12]

After the 1996 elections, the party split and was renamed again in 1997 to the Czech National Social Party. Having fallen well short of returning to parliament and crippled by financial debts, the party has almost disappeared. In 2017, Karel Schwarzenberg and Mirek Topolánek said that the Civic Democratic Party can be considered a spiritual successor to the pre-war Czechoslovak National Social Party.[13][14]

Party ChairmanEdit

Homeland leaders

Leaders in-exile

Name changesEdit

Name Year
Party of Czechoslavonic National Workers (Czech: Strana národního dělnictva českoslovanského) 1897 - 1898
Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální) 1898 - 1918
Czech Socialist Party (Czech: Česká strana socialistická) 1918 - 1919
Czechoslovak Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana socialistická) 1919 - 1926
Czechoslovak National Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana národně socialistická) 1926 - 1948
Czechoslovak Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana socialistická) 1948 - 1993
Liberal National Social Party (Czech: Liberální strana národně sociální) 1993 - 1995
Free Democrats – Liberal National Social Party (Czech: Svobodní demokraté – Liberální strana národně sociální) 1995 - 1997
Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální) From 1997


Traditional symbol of the party is a quill and hammer, that symbolize clerks and workers. According to their sign, they are nicknamed quills (Czech: brkouni).


Election resultsEdit

Imperial CouncilEdit

Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1900–1901 Václav Klofáč 5,404 0.50
4 / 425
  4 16th Opposition
1907 Václav Klofáč 75,101 1.63
6 / 516
  2 21st Opposition
1911 Václav Klofáč 95,901 2.11
13 / 516
  7 15th Opposition

Czechoslovakia wide electionsEdit

Legislative electionsEdit

Date Leader Votes Seats Position
# % # ± Size
1920 Václav Klofáč 500,821 8.1
24 / 281
  24 5th Coalition
1925 Václav Klofáč 609,915 8.6
28 / 300
  4 5th Opposition
1929 Václav Klofáč 767,328 10.4
32 / 300
  4 3rd Coalition
1935 Václav Klofáč 755,872 9.2
28 / 300
  4 5th Coalition
1946 Petr Zenkl 1,298,980 18.3
55 / 300
  27 2nd Coalition
1948 as part of National Front
23 / 300
  22 4th Bloc
20 / 368
  3 3rd Bloc
19 / 300
  1 3rd Bloc
24 / 300
  5 3rd Bloc
20 / 200
  1 3rd Bloc
17 / 200
  3 4th Bloc
18 / 200
  1 3rd Bloc
18 / 200
  0 3rd Bloc
1990 Jiří Vyvadil 201,532 1.9
0 / 150
  18 12th No seats
1992 František Trnka 378,962 4.0
1 / 150
  1 8th Opposition

Since 1990Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Vejvodová, Petra (2014). Transnational Forms of Contemporary Neo-Nazi Activity in Europe from the Perspective of Czech Neo-Nazis. Vol. 58. Masaryk University. p. 44. ISBN 9788021077959. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  2. ^ Havránek, Jan (1995). Český liberalismus: texty a osobnosti. Torst. p. 277.
  3. ^ "Osobnost ČSNS: Edvard Beneš". (in Czech). 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  4. ^ Detlef Brandes (1979). Karl Bosl (ed.). Die Tschechoslowakischen National-Sozialisten. Die erste Tschechoslowakische Republik als multinationaler Parteienstaat. pp. 149–150.
  5. ^ Lichtenstein, Tatjana (2016). Zionists in Interwar Czechoslovakia: Minority Nationalism and the Politics of Belonging. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-253-01872-4.
  6. ^ T. Mills Kelly (2006). Without Remorse: Czech National Socialism in Late-Habsburg Austria. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-88033-586-7.
  7. ^ Klátil, František (1992). Republika nad stranami - o vzniku a vývoji Československé strany národně socialistické (1897-1948) (in Czech). Prague: Melantrich. p. 370. ISBN 80-7023-117-3.
  8. ^ Gebhart, Jan; Kuklík, Jan (2004). Druhá republika 1938–1939 : svár demokracie a totality v politickém, společenském a kulturním životě (in Czech). Litomyšl: Paseka. p. 315. ISBN 80-7185-626-6.
  9. ^ Kocian, Jiří (2003). Československá strana národně socialistická v letech 1945-1948 (in Czech). Brno: Doplněk. p. 264. ISBN 80-7239-138-0.
  10. ^ Benda, Václav (2009). Lidová strana- problémy a naděje (in Czech). Praha: Agite/Fra. ISBN 978-80-86603-85-8.
  11. ^ Bureš, Jan; Charvát, Jakub; Just, Petr; Štefek, Martin (2012). Česká demokracie po roce 1989: Institucionální základy českého politického systému (in Czech). České Budějovice: Grada Publishing, a.s. p. 473. ISBN 978-80-247-8270-6.
  12. ^ "Historie ČSNS". (in Czech). 5 April 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Schwarzenberg: Buďme vděční Madeleine Albrightové za to, že jsme v NATO. Když jsme chlastali s Topolánkem..." Parlamentní Listy. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Schwarzenberg: Vztahy v koalici nejsou dobré a budou se ještě zhoršovat". Retrieved 10 December 2017.


  1. Karel Hoch: The Political Parties of Czechoslovakia.
  2. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: Leftism Revisited, Regnery Gateway, Washington D.C., 1990, pp. 145–146.
  3. Malá encyklopédia Slovenska, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava 1987

External linksEdit