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

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Foreigners in Slovakia

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

News digest: Who is ready for a vaccine in Slovakia

Vlhová won again. Boris Kollár is at home and will meet coalition partners to discuss GP vote. Justice Minister shows a new map.

Illustrative stock photo

Roundup: Bratislava’s Old Market Hall hosts Christmas markets

If you have not watched the 'Dracula' miniseries, filmed in Slovakia last year, it is about time.

Bratislava’s Old Market Hall will provide visitors with Christmas vibes in the coming four weeks. Each week, from Wednesday to Saturday, people can do a little bit of Christmas shopping at the venue.

From COVID-19 miracle to apparent resignation to death and dying

The natural reflex of all failed politicians – and their uncritical fan clubs – is to point to cultural or geographical differences between “us” and “them”.

The COVID-19 ward in the University Hospital Martin