Andrej Hlinka

Andrej Hlinka

Catholic priest and Slovak patriot
Date of Birth: 27.09.1864
Country: Slovakia

  1. Biography of Andrej Hlinka
  2. Political Activism and Imprisonment
  3. Opposition to the Prague Government
  4. Patriotism and Exploitation

Biography of Andrej Hlinka

Andrej Hlinka, a Catholic priest and Slovak patriot, was born on September 27, 1864, and passed away on August 16, 1938. He became a priest in 1905 in the small Slovak industrial town of Ružomberok. At that time, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were part of Austria-Hungary.

Political Activism and Imprisonment

In the 1906 elections to the Hungarian Parliament, Hlinka passionately supported candidates advocating for the separation of Slovakia. In November of the same year, he attempted to incite Slovaks to disobedience against Hungary in his sermons, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison. Additionally, he received an additional one and a half years of imprisonment for his farewell address to his parishioners.

On May 24, 1918, the Slovak National Party took a position against Hungary. As the leader of the clerical Slovak People's Party, Hlinka also supported this movement, aimed at forming an alliance with Czechoslovakia against the empire. However, the following year, he began to have doubts about the necessity of a Czechoslovakian-Slovak union and compiled a memorandum for the peace conference in Paris, demanding a plebiscite in Slovakia regarding self-determination.

Opposition to the Prague Government

By August 1922, Hlinka had placed his party in opposition to the Prague government of unified Czechoslovakia. In his "Žilina Memorandum," he stated that the Czechs had taken away the Slovaks' right to self-determination and autonomy. Later administrative reforms carried out by the Prague government softened Hlinka's position, and he even allowed his deputy in the party, Jozef Tiso, to take a position in the government. However, in 1929, Hlinka's party once again found itself in opposition when Andrej refused to renounce his other deputy, Béla Tuka, who was accused of being a Hungarian agent. As a result, in the early 1930s, Hlinka's party became associated with Sudeten Germans and Hungarian opposition within Czechoslovakia.

Patriotism and Exploitation

Hlinka was undoubtedly a fervent patriot of Slovakia, but he failed to understand that his fanatical hostility towards the Czechs was mercilessly exploited by the Germans and Hungarians to foster division within Czechoslovakia.