Doing the right thing

This week, Slovakia marks 75 years since the Slovak National Uprising. But what was the SNP, and what is its significance?

A sculpture at the SNP Museum in Banská BystricaA sculpture at the SNP Museum in Banská Bystrica(Source: SITA)

The ubiquity of the initials ‘SNP’ in Slovakia is matched only by confusion about what they mean. The Slovak National Uprising was a key moment in Slovak history. But a recent survey of 15-20-year-olds by the AKO agency reported that over 30 percent of respondents did not know when the SNP occurred, or why.

This is not entirely surprising: like most insurgencies, the uprising was a confused and confusing affair, not least for those involved and affected. Key facts remain unresolved.

What happened in August 1944?

In the simple version of the story the enemy is Nazi Germany, whose occupation of the wartime Slovak state on August 29, 1944 prompted the immediate but premature launch of the uprising, led by democratic politicians, insurgent army officers and partisans, to liberate the country.

Related articleThe 1944 uprising failed and teenagers think the oppositeRead more 

But from whom? Slovakia’s own, authoritarian government, allied to Hitler, had agreed to the German occupation.

Government militias, recruited from the supporters of Slovak nationalist parties, were enthusiastic persecutors of insurgents and their families.

The defence minister, General Ferdinand Čatloš, in a radio broadcast on August 29, 1944, called on Slovak soldiers and civilians alike to welcome the German troops as friends and allies, who were protecting the country from “treacherous enemies” – partisans.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Theme: Foreigners in Slovakia

Top stories

Gas explosion in a block of flats, emergency situation in Prešov

Five victims and 40 injured reported so far but the numbers are not final.

Former president Kiska faces charges over KTAG case

Leader of Za Ludi charged one day after charges were brought against his main rival, Smer leader Robert Fico.

Andrej Kiska

UPDATED: Fico charged with defamation and inciting hatred

If found guilty, he may spend one to five years in prison.

Robert Fico

Abortion restrictions get red-light for now

Parliament rejected the SNS' draft amendment, the latest of a number of recent attempts to restrict access to abortion.

Illustrative stock photo