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Slovak Military Boots

The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (Pozemné Sily Slovenskej Republiky) consist of Land Forces (Pozemné sily), Air Force (Vojenské letectvo), Air Defense Forces (Vojská protivzdušnej obrany štátu), and Joint Command for military training and logistical support (Sily výcviku a podpory).

Nowadays, as evidenced by sociological interviews, among all the government institutions it is the Armed Forces of Slovakia which have the greatest respect and trust of the population.

One can say that Slovakia has gained the real independence on December 31, 1992 for the first time in the 20th century. For the first time, during the creation of independent Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918, it were the Czechs who played the dominant role in the country, and until 1938 Czechoslovakia was a unitary republic.

During the second time, the Slovak Republic existed from March 14, 1939 to May 8, 1945 actually as a puppet fascist state, a satellite of the Third Reich.

The Czechs and the Slovaks, in fact, are closely related nations, with very similar languages and religious affiliation (the majority of both nations are Catholics, the minority are Protestants), and up to the tenth century were the single nation, which lived within the state of Great Moravia. After the collapse of this single state the Slovak lands became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary for almost one thousand years, while the Czechs had their own kingdom for the following seven centuries.

A kind of union of these two nations happened again in the times of the Austrian and Austria-Hungarian Empires, although Czechs and Slovaks lived in different administrative regions with different laws management practices. As separate nations, Czechs and Slovaks developed mutually independently.

Czechia was always more industrially developed, even a century ago, when it was under Austrian rule during the times of Austria-Hungarian Empire. Less industrialized Slovakia, ruled by Hungary, was mainly an agricultural country. Of course, these differences were not so serious as, for example, between Sweden and Albania. Moreover, for the years of mutual existence in the unified country throughout the 20th century the difference between the industrial development levels of Czechs and Slovaks was not so obvious.

The support of the Entente by the Czech and Slovakian nationalists during the First World War led to creation of the unified and stable democratic Czechoslovakian state after the collapse of the "Patchwork Empire", i.e. Austria-Hungarian Empire. In those years, the Slovaks (not without reason) believed that there were Czechs who dominated in all areas of the country's life, and such situation never satisfied the Slovaks at all.

It got to the ridiculous things: one can remember at least the so-called "Hyphen War" of the year 1990, when Slovak politicians demanded to write the name of the country with intra-word dash, i.e. "Czecho-Slovakia", while the Czech politicians insisted on maintaining the traditional writing together. The quarrels did not come to the war: as a civilized and polite people, Czechs and Slovaks took a compromise solution, and on March 29, 1990 the official name of the country has become "The Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR), and the Slovaks could use the variant on spelling with a hyphen, while the Czechs could omit the hyphen, as it used to be in the past.

At this all one can not say that the Slovaks were oppressed or somehow discriminated. For example, such communist rulers of the country as Gustav Husak and Alexander Dubcek, as well as the Prime Minister of the pre-war Czechoslovakia Milan Hodza were ethnic Slovaks.

After the adoption of the "Declaration of Sovereignty of Slovakia" by the Slovakian parliament in July 1992 and the resignation of Vaclav Havel, the President of Czechoslovakia, who advocated the preservation of the single united country, these two republics of the former Czechoslovakia headed for independence. On the night from December 31, 1992 to January 1, 1993 the Czech Republic (CR) and the Slovak Republic (SR) were created.

Accordingly, the single Armed Forces of Czechoslovakia were divided into two parts. In 1987, only in the Czechoslovakian Land Forces there served 145,000 people, one hundred thousand of which were conscripts. At the beginning of its existence, in 1993, the Army of the Slovak Republic, had about 53,000 of soldiers, a year later their number was reduced to 47,000. In 2001 the Slovak Republic had about 33 thousand military men and women, while in 2012, after a series of reforms and cuts, the country's Armed Forces numbered 13,360 military and 7011 civilian personnel, having the population of 5.5 million people in Slovakia. From 1 August 2005, the Armed Forces of Slovakia became fully professional.

The Slovak Armed Forces took an active part in the UN and NATO peacekeeping and stabilization missions abroad, starting with the first year of its existence, at first in Croatia, then in Angola, on the Golan Heights, in Kosovo and Metohija, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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