Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Priest, Politician, CollaboratorJozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia$

James Mace Ward

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449888

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449888.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use (for details see www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy/privacy-policy-and-legal-notice). Subscriber: null; date: 23 October 2018

“For God and Nation,” 1919–25

“For God and Nation,” 1919–25

Chapter Three “For God and Nation,” 1919–25
Priest, Politician, Collaborator

James Mace Ward

Cornell University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Tito's turn to resistance from 1919 to 1925. Tiso began to see “true prudence” in resistance, marking another transformation for him: from a pillar of cooperation to a thorn of opposition, especially over the role of Catholicism in schools and youth movements. He fought this battle mainly as a local notable: Nitra's foremost L'udák and, from 1921, Bishop Kmet'ko's secretary, a position that resurrected his hierarchical career. Unfortunately, these renewed prospects collided with his political career, leading Kmet'ko to fire him in 1923. Blocked from rising higher within the church, Tiso turned to national politics, recasting himself as a party man and moderate Slovak nationalist. Ironically, by this time his opponents understood him only as a radical opponent of the republic itself.

Keywords:   Jozef Tiso, resistance, opposition, Catholicism, Nitra, Bishop Kmet'ko, natioanl politics, Slovak nationalist

  • He that is not with me is against me;
  • and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

—Matthew, 12:30

“Today there is a struggle in all of Europe: either democracy, progress, and socialism, or else reaction, bolshevism, and clericalism.”1 Thus Ivan Dérer, the leading Slovak Social Democrat, characterized the choices facing Czechoslovak citizens in 1924. Just months earlier, Jozef Tiso had evoked the same sense of polarization by paraphrasing Christ: “Who is not with us is against us.”2 Czechoslovak politics, it seems, was a barren field in which cooperation could never sprout.

Dérer and Tiso were hardly alone in imagining their polity as hopelessly divided. As the state consolidated, the need for Czechoslovak unity grew less urgent. The gravest danger for many people was no longer an external nightmare such as Soviet Hungary but rather the internal specter that the republic might harden in a form hostile to their interests. Especially for the Ľudáks, 1919–24 was a time of sharp conflict with a left-leaning central government.

In this struggle, Tiso’s dual missions were at stake. Rather than becoming a state in which Catholics could roll back liberalism, Czechoslovakia enabled progressives to drive secularization forward. Tiso’s old political vehicle, Christian socialism, failed to capitalize on the revolutionary promise of social justice, letting Social Democrats reap an electoral harvest. Tiso’s new political vehicle, Slovak nationalism, was cleft between Catholic, Protestant, and progressive wings. Even if Tiso could mobilize the “entire Slovak nation,” his side would still be dominated by Czechs, who were more numerous, better educated, more prosperous, and more experienced in democracy. Building alliances with Catholics in the historic lands of the Bohemian crown (mainly Bohemia and Moravia) could offset the imbalance, but Slovak nationalism ran poorly on such appeals for Catholic solidarity.

(p.65) Given this unfavorable context, Tiso had two basic strategies available for shaping Czechoslovakia. Either he could collaborate more intensively with the government and try to inspire change from within, or he could opt for resistance and try to force it from without. This dilemma was familiar to Catholics, trapped as they often were in subordinate relationships to liberal states. As Leo XIII advised the Hungarian faithful in 1893: “In all matters, certainly, be prudent and moderate; the Church itself in defense of the truth intends to follow a responsible mode of action. Nothing, however, is so contradictory to the laws of true prudence than to allow religion to be harassed with impunity and to endanger the moral welfare of the people.”3

Between 1919 and 1924, Tiso tended to see “true prudence” in resistance. It was another transformation for him: from a pillar of cooperation to a thorn of opposition, especially over the role of Catholicism (lesser so, of Slovak nationalism) in schools and youth movements. Tiso fought this battle mainly as a local notable: Nitra’s foremost Ľudák and, from 1921, Bishop Kmeťko’s secretary, a position that resurrected his hierarchical career. Unfortunately for Tiso, these renewed prospects collided with his political career, leading Kmeťko to fire him in 1923. Blocked from rising higher within the church, Tiso turned to national politics, recasting himself as a party man and moderate Slovak nationalist. Ironically, by this time his opponents understood him only as a radical opponent of the republic itself.

The Move into Opposition

Tiso’s turn to resistance sprang in part from his deeper involvement in the Nitra school system. As noted before, in June 1919 he was in charge of local crash courses in Slovak language. Among his staff were two women who were part of a wave of imported Czech teachers. Because Slovakia was regarded as a hardship post, these teachers often drew higher pay than their indigenous colleagues. Slovakia was also a land of opportunity for some Czechs. They could compete for administrative jobs better than self-declared Slovaks, who tended to be undereducated. Czech immigration quickly raised tensions in Slovakia. Even Czechoslovak centralists criticized the newcomers for such things as disrespecting Slovak religious traditions. Tiso was certainly displeased with the female teachers that he had drawn, complaining of their behavior that he “was ashamed to present them to the children.”4

This local conflict merged with Tiso’s fear that God would be driven from the nation’s schools. In July 1919, he and other notable Nitra Catholics appealed to Masaryk to halt such secularization as the state’s provisional takeover of the local Piarist high school, Tiso’s alma mater. Tiso and his colleagues complained (p.66) that Slovakization weeded out teachers from religious orders and introduced a “Czechoslovak” language regime.5 The alarmed petitioners largely felt powerless to contest this development. They were, after all, disenfranchised. The Kun invasion had derailed communal elections in Slovakia. Parliamentary representatives were still appointed, with the representation of Catholics still disproportionately low.

In July as well, Social Democrats won control of the Czechoslovak government, giving the Ľudáks and Tiso a reason to agitate for Slovak and Catholic autonomy. At roughly the same time, the Ľudáks gained a copy of the May 1918 Pittsburgh Agreement, a document that would define them. Concluded between Czech and Slovak émigrés in America, the pact promised Slovakia an independent administration, judiciary, and diet while privileging the Slovak language. The agreement also provided a legal claim to autonomy, as Masaryk himself conceived of and signed the document. He did so, however, as a “witness,” a distinction that arguably released him from honoring it. For Masaryk, the compact was merely a wartime play for Allied support.6 He and other centralists had no interest in granting autonomy to Slovakia, as to do so would legitimate similar claims from Sudeten Germans, who substantially outnumbered the Slovaks and who generally preferred union with Germany.

The Ľudák initiative for autonomy was badly timed. The Béla Kun invasion was barely over while Czechoslovakia’s borders were not yet confirmed by treaties. The Hungarian government meanwhile claimed that Slovaks wanted no truck with Czechs. Czechoslovak centralists consequently viewed Ľudák agitation as a threat to the state and even as a ploy for reattaching Slovakia to Hungary. Šrobár clamped down on the party, repression that Tiso experienced firsthand. In August 1919, for example, soldiers dispersed a reportedly unruly Ľudák rally. Tiso and other witnesses swore that Czech soldiers had beaten participants and even threatened to kill Hlinka. That same month, an Allied military spokesman declared that the easternmost province of the country, Subcarpathian Rus’ would be autonomous—a move that inspired Hlinka to demand equal status for Slovakia. The government just ignored the proposal.7

Fed up, Hlinka took his case to the Paris Peace Conference. He fancied that he would be received there as the tribune of his nation, revealing through a memorandum the true nature of the administration of Slovakia. But in Paris he met mainly closed doors, achieving nothing more than to call his loyalty into question. He had traveled on a false passport supplied by the Polish government, which contested Czechoslovakia’s claim to the coal-rich duchy of Těšín. His tendentious memorandum also mirrored Hungarian propaganda, a similarity made more ominous by the defection to Budapest of his main advisor on the trip, the “old” Ľudák František Jehlička. Hlinka was not a Hungarian agent. But he had certainly made himself look like one. Two days after his return to Slovakia, Czechoslovak authorities jailed him on suspicion of treason.

(p.67) In Nitra, Tiso and his clerical allies found themselves under fire. Šrobár put pulpits under surveillance as nests of “anti-Czech agitation,” while his administration shut down Ľudák papers. The Ministry of Education transferred clerics such as Filkorn out of town.8 The Little Seminary, lacking funds, temporarily closed its doors. The Grand Seminary was scheduled to be replaced by a central institution in Bratislava. Catholic News stressed that professors there would need to be “tested Slovak nationalists.” The paper did not mean Tiso, as it also groused that the Nitra seminarians (who were under his supervision) spoke only Hungarian among themselves.9 In short, the future of Tiso’s clerical jobs and political party were up in the air.

With Hlinka in jail, Tiso and his associates struggled to stay on the offensive. Fr. Jozef Buday, an “old” Ľudák from Nitra, took command of the party, while other local priests (probably including Tiso) resolved on a village-to-village “battle for the autonomy of Slovakia.”10 In September, Tiso and Buday led a foundational congress of a short-lived Union of Catholic Theologians. According to Buday’s keynote address, “We want … to defend our material, class, even spiritual interests. Today it is written in the liberal press that the greatest enemy of the Slovak people is the Jew and the Catholic priest…. The Church’s rights are trampled on. It is necessary for us to unify as a single man and defend the rights of our homeland, altar, and Church.”11 Tiso, as the union’s secretary, proposed a resolution protesting government interference in church affairs and the dissemination of the cult of Jan Hus, the proto-Protestant Czech hero who burned at the stake as a heretic. The resolution, which the union passed, also suggested that priests who were county governors should resign over the sacking of religious teachers—a demand that Buday and Tiso then delivered to their governor, Fr. Okánik. Unimpressed, Okánik replied that the takeover of the Nitra high school was “in the interests of the nation.”12 Tiso also kept on the offensive by founding a Nitra chapter of Orol (Eagle), physical fitness clubs sponsored by the Catholic Church and the Ľudáks. A counterpart to Sokol (Falcon), a vanguard of Czech nationalism, Orol emerged after Sokol split with the church in the 1890s over the veneration of Hus. The Nitra Orols held weekly exercise sessions and sponsored entertainments à la Tiso’s earlier Catholic youth circles. Although the Nitra chapter’s minutes offer little proof of his eloquence, they recorded Tiso delivering a “beautiful speech” at the branch’s inaugural session:

He described … how we have waited for the moment when we could begin our proper Slovak life. He referred to the past struggle of the Nitra Slovaks against Magyars, Magyarones, and Bolsheviks. He protested against those [presumably progressive Czechs or Czechoslovaks] who came only to take advantage of what the Nitra Slovaks had accomplished. [The newcomers] abuse their power. They want to intern leading Slovaks only because they are Christians and Slovaks.

(p.68) … Our Orol organization … is inspired by idealism [i.e., not materialism]. It wants to work for this land, which has been conquered with so much effort. As an idealist, the Slovak cannot concede that education means to read and write without God.13

A half-year earlier, Tiso would not have described Nitra Slovaks as pitted against Magyarones and Magyars but rather against Jews and Magyar lords. The change was a reaction to the Kun invasion and charges that Ľudáks such as himself were Magyarones.

Tiso’s activities with Orol sparked an acrimonious dispute with Fr. Jozef Rozím, the new director of the Nitra high school. In fall 1919, Tiso mobilized students behind Orol. Posters appeared all over the school: “CATHOLIC STUDENTS!/DEFEND YOUR FAITH! … WHOEVER IS A SLOVAK IS ALSO AN OROL!” According to Rozím, some posters also read “Czechs Out,” offending teachers whom the director had labored to transplant to Nitra. Determined to unmask the culprit behind the signs, Rozím hid under a lectern until he caught one of Tiso’s protégés red-handed, eventually coercing out of him Tiso’s role. Tiso supposedly vowed in response that “he would teach” Rozím.14 The feud that ensued was political, personal, and mutually aggressive. Okánik, not surprisingly, sided with Rozím. The governor was a sponsor of the Sokols and—like Rozím—a leading representative of the pro-Šrobár Agrarian Party, the Ľudáks’ main Czechoslovak competition in Nitra.15

In late 1919, a Moravian Catholic paper published articles attacking Rozím and Okánik, which both men attributed to Tiso. The first article appeared under the pseudonym Roháč (Pinching Bug). To judge also from similarly signed articles in Slovák, Tiso and Roháč shared profiles: both were well versed in the conflict with Rozím, apparently from Nitra, and had connections to Veľká Bytča.16 Roháč’s attack against Rozím focused on “unreliables” who called themselves “true, patriotic Slovaks while honoring others with the name of Magyarone or Octoberist” (a “new” Slovak). The director was apparently “the slime that rises to the top during revolutionary, tumultuous times.” Malicious and dictatorial, he banned students from Orol and “threatened Hlinka’s followers with internment.” A fortnight later, it was Okánik’s turn to be pilloried on the Moravian paper’s front page. Replying to Roháč, a “Zobod” attacked the governor as a coward, a lazy priest who ridiculed celibacy, and an economic collaborator with Jews.17 Yet Zobod’s style and profile evoked neither Roháč nor Tiso, making them both unlikely authors.

Czechoslovak authorities now seemed to go after Tiso. Catholic News implied that he had written the articles: “This particular priest-professor up until now faithfully served his Hungarian master—the bishop—as a loyal little dog. He never wrote anything against him, but now he spews filth and poison against … Dr. Okánik…. And this man [Tiso] educates our future … priests!”18 Around (p.69) the same time, the army cancelled Austro-Hungarian exemptions from military service and called up Tiso, giving him two weeks to report for duty in Bratislava. Until then, he was to be under surveillance and his “activities confined.” A few days later, Šrobár asked for a report on Tiso, which Rozím got the pleasure of writing. The director portrayed Tiso as a uniquely divisive force in Nitra. In addition to setting students to battling each other, Tiso supposedly insulted Czech teachers, “unjustly denounce[d] them as anti-Christian at the Ministry of Education,” and behaved as though each teacher was accountable only to him. He “assembl[ed] around himself all the unreliable elements, that is, all of the Magyarones and rebels who still perform Hungarian theater and so on.” Deleting only Rozím’s claim that Tiso was “the real Beelzebub of Nitra,” Okánik’s office passed the report on to Šrobár, who forwarded it to the Czechoslovak prime minister.19

Whether this storm was a coordinated assault or a set of coincidences, Tiso rode it out. The Ministry of Defense rescinded its order to draft him, while the prime minister’s office merely filed Rozím’s report.20 If Czechoslovak authorities were indeed pressuring Tiso, they may have relented because of his high standing among Slovak clergy. The day before Šrobár asked for his report, the first seven appointees to the Bratislava theological faculty recommended to Masaryk that Tiso join them.21 Moreover, Tiso had already given the central authorities less reason to distrust him—supporting, for example, a Nitra City Council condemnation of anti-Czech agitation. At the time, relations between the Ľudáks and the central government were on the mend. The party declared its commitment not only to a common Czech-Slovak state but even to a unified “Czechoslovak people.” Šrobár, in turn, let up on the party.22

In winter 1919–20, Tiso and the Ľudáks turned their attention to Czechoslovakia’s first parliamentary election. Their program emphasized defense of the Catholic Church over Slovak nationalism. In addition to wooing Catholics, the Ľudáks especially courted farmers, offering incentives ranging from protection against cartels to developmental schemes such as electrification. The party also appealed to craftsmen, workers, and women, promising this last group equal rights and pay, expanded educational opportunities, and protection against divorce (which the Ľudáks tied to female impoverishment). In terms of opponents, the program attacked Social Democrats (treated generically) and Jews, “the greatest parasites and the enemy of our nation” before 1918. The Ľudáks even called for the expropriation of Jewish shops, taverns, and inns. As another remedy for national ills, the Populists proposed to build an independent administration staffed by Slovaks. (Despite the autonomist, nationalist, and antisemitic tenor of this program, the party ratified the February 1920 Czechoslovak constitution. It confirmed the centralized structure of the government, institutionalized “Czechoslovak” as a nationality and language, and guaranteed minorities substantial language and civil rights.)23 As the 1920 campaign played out, Tiso’s party felt no need to go after the (p.70) Social Democrats, who were expected to place third. The Ľudáks instead pitted themselves against the frontrunner Agrarians, with whom they also competed for the same voters: farmers and Slovak nationalists. To improve their chances, Tiso’s party cut two deals. In exchange for a similar advantage elsewhere, the Ľudáks agreed not to compete in a district favored by Hungarian Christian Socialists.24 Tiso’s party also formed a bloc with a Czech Catholic people’s party. Known as the Lidáks (the Czech equivalent of Ľudák), these Populists were led by Fr. Jan Šrámek. As a consequence of the bloc, both the Lidáks and the Ľudáks appeared on the ballot as the Czechoslovak People’s Party.

By this time, Hlinka had regained control over the party despite his confinement. He and Buday, for example, cut the deal with Šrámek in Hlinka’s “cell,” a Prague sanitarium to which the Ľudák chairman was transferred in March 1920. The central government had rethought the treason charge. Hlinka, after all, was pursuing autonomy, not separatism. The only laws that he had clearly violated were passport regulations. Once the constitution was settled, the authorities released him but restricted him to Prague during the elections. He could run the party through Buday and stand for office, but nothing more.25

Tiso gave his all to the Ľudák campaign, speaking at rallies, serving in important party positions, and putting his organizational skills to the test. Buday later characterized these efforts as “superhuman,” a debt that won Tiso the third slot on the Ľudák candidate list for his district.26 Police agents and journalists, however, paid scant attention to him, leaving little record of the content of his politicking. What reportage as survives shows him focused on familiar Christian Social and Slovak national themes, such as protecting the youth, which he described as a vital organ in the national body.27

Better documented in the 1920 election is criticism of Tiso and his struggle with the “dirty tricks” embedded in Slovak politics. It was common, for example, to send hecklers to opposition rallies, a practice that sometimes led to deadly riots. Tiso himself reportedly once faced “a well-aimed stone.”28 More often, his critics preferred to hurl the Magyarone charge. The day before the election, for example, Catholic News described him as

raised in the Magyarone spirit…. As a priest, he wrote for Hungarian newspapers but never for Slovak ones. If he had been a reliable, public Slovak, then Magyar Bishop Batthyány never would have named him as spiritual director…. In Nitra, not even one Magyar knew that Tiso was Slovak…. As the spiritual director, he kept quiet when the seminary threw out Slovak clerics…. Why … did he not care about abandoned Slovaks in Nitra? Why did he not found for them some sort of society? Why did he not hold lectures in Slovak? …

Hungarian is still spoken with his colleagues in the seminary, even though they all know Slovak…. Yet from the revolution on, he boasts that he is such a great Slovak, the likes of which has never been seen before.29

(p.71) This attack is noteworthy not only for its spleen but also its relative veracity. One can argue about the meaning of the term “Magyarone,” but there is no denying that Tiso was schooled as a Magyar, succeeded marvelously as such, and kept a low Slovak profile before 1918. It is even plausible that, in 1920, he still spoke Hungarian with his seminary colleagues, few of whom had mastered Slovak. Compared to the above attack, Ľudák spin on Tiso as an “old” Slovak rang hollow.30

Neither Tiso nor the Ľudáks fared well in the election, which Social Democrats won by surprise landslides throughout Czechoslovakia. Tiso’s party, with 17 percent of the vote in Slovakia, placed third behind the Agrarians. Although the Ľudáks gained a few new parliamentary deputies, their total of twelve (including Hlinka) fell far short of the expectations of a party that claimed to speak exclusively for the Slovak nation. In Tiso’s district, Trnava, the Ľudáks won only two seats in the first round of counting. For the second round, the party compiled its leftover votes throughout Slovakia to elect three more deputies. To judge from returns, Tiso should have been one of them.31 Yet his seat went instead to the top candidate from the Nové Zámky district, Fr. Ferdiš Juriga, a ranking “old” Slovak who wanted party “Magyarones” like Tiso locked out of power.32 There was a certain symbolic justice to this decision, as the poor showing in Juriga’s district was partly Tiso’s responsibility. Because Czechoslovakia gerrymandered to keep minority votes out of “Slovak” areas, the “Hungarian” Nové Zámky district claimed multicultural Nitra. The Ľudáks polled an abysmal 368 votes there.33 As the city’s chief Ľudák, Tiso had been trounced.

After the elections, the Ľudáks switched to emphasizing Slovak nationalism over Catholicism. Hlinka, in effect amnestied, triumphantly returned home, vowing to turn “red Slovakia … white.”34 What this slogan meant in practice became apparent in the 1920 campaign for local elections, during which the Ľudáks ruthlessly played the antisemitic Jewish card.35 Party meetings, resolutions, and demands grew more demagogic and anti-Czech. After an October rally in northern Slovakia erupted into a battle with Czechoslovak soldiers, leaving two Ľudáks dead, the party called for Czech troops to quit Slovakia. Even though Ľudáks were mainly at fault, they predictably blamed the tragedy on Czech aggression.36 This claim was by now a Ľudák trope: Czech and Slovak relations as a series of painful encounters in which peaceful, polite, and reasonable Slovaks ran afoul of arrogant, uncultured, and even homicidal Czechs.

Despite being excluded from parliament, Tiso soldiered on for the Ľudáks. He worked to maintain the party’s organizational momentum, attributing the party’s poor showing in the general election to the votes of Czech soldiers. In Slovák, he hammered away at alleged national injustices and corruption in the railway system. In an Orol annual, he used the party slogan “For God and Nation” for the first time. The article trumpeted the Slovaks’ special mission of spirituality within a Herderian garden of nations, urging Slovak youth to embrace idealism and activism.37 In late 1920, Tiso became vice chairman of the Ľudák club of clerics, a (p.72) shadow presidium.38 On the party’s executive council, meanwhile, he functioned as an important negotiator and an expert on both the press and the association movement. He argued that the latter, which he hoped would help Slovaks to develop an entrepreneurial spirit, needed to be defended against “the undermining work of Jews.”39 But generally he abandoned political antisemitism. By 1921, he could even explain at length the difference between social democracy and Christian socialism without once mentioning Jews.40

Why did Tiso drop political antisemitism? One possibility is that he recognized that Jews in Slovakia supported the republic. They, for example, overwhelmingly eschewed Hungarian identities on the 1919 and 1921 censuses, helping Czechoslovakia solidify its ethnic claim to land by statistically shrinking the Hungarian share of its population.41 In Nitra, the newly formed Jewish Party also offered Tiso a significant non-Socialist ally, no doubt weakening his tendency to associate Jews with revolution. A 1925 lead article from The Spiritual Shepherd, most likely written by Tiso, offers another explanation. Titled “Suaviter in modo …” (half of a phrase meaning “gentle in manner, resolute in execution”), the article stressed moderation and tactics in the priesthood’s struggle with “the forces of darkness”: “Our battle is not a battle of destruction, but rather a constructive battle. We don’t want to destroy, we only want to remove obstacles. Therefore, we do not excessively persecute the enemy, and we especially do not do so uselessly. We give him instead a rest from time to time, so that he can think about the wisdom of fighting on and perhaps even admit that further resistance is unacceptable.”42 In a similar vein, the article advised the clergy to build bridges so that enemies need not “jump” far once they realize their error. Priests who failed to be “gentle in manner” provided “hard examples” of the damage wrought to the priesthood by too aggressive an approach. Although the article did not address the Jewish Question, its emphasis on moderate tactics suggests that Tiso drew lessons from his 1918–19 experience as the most antisemitic journalist in Nitra. By 1921, he evidently had concluded that a reputation as a Jew baiter served neither his political nor pastoral purposes.

Prelate or Politician?

Between 1921 and 1923, Tiso’s sacerdotal and political careers collided, and the political won. In 1921, Bishop Kmeťko hired Tiso as his secretary, a step up in the hierarchy. But within a year the two men had parted ways. Preferring Czechoslovak parties, the bishop quit the Ľudáks and built a nonpartisan reputation. Tiso, in contrast, grew more confrontational over educational policy and Slovak nationalism. In 1923, his outspokenness earned him a month in jail for the equivalent of hate speech, prompting Kmeťko to fire him as secretary. Soon after, however, Tiso won a breakthrough election that vindicated him as a politician.

(p.73) In early 1921, Tiso had climbed higher on the hierarchical ladder again by organizing the consecration of three Slovak bishops in Nitra. Prague and Rome had taken two years to agree on the new prelates. In addition to being cause for Slovak Catholics to rejoice, the pact was occasion for Ľudáks to celebrate: all of the bishops were from the party, Kmeťko even holding a parliamentary seat. The Ľudák press had speculated that Tiso might also receive a miter, but he instead drew the task of managing the mammoth ceremonies. He strove to make the celebration “all-Slovak” (i.e., Ľudák), spotlighting Hlinka and Juriga as speakers, locking Sokols out, and allegedly failing to invite Czech and Protestant dignitaries in a timely manner.43 Although the Ľudák press lauded the festivities, Czech papers tended to denounce them as a disgrace. Several journals attacked Tiso personally, the first time that he was the target of national criticism. A Prague daily, for example, characterized him as “an anti-Republican and sickly biased enemy of Czechs.” The paper also implausibly charged that he had threatened to send massed followers against government troops to block a performance of the Slovak National Theater, which featured Czech actors.44

For his part, Bishop Kmeťko was won over by Tiso’s industry, élan, and loyalty. Feeling shunned by Nitra’s priests, Kmeťko was “very surprised” that Tiso “gave himself completely to the service of Slovak things…. When I saw that he committed himself to me, to a Slovak bishop, I paid him back and hired him as my secretary.”45 Tiso functioned as Kmeťko’s chief of staff, wielding considerable power within the diocese. In practical terms, he was training to be a bishop himself, as secretaries often received their own miters with time. To compensate for the additional workload, he cut back on teaching and party tasks.46

Soon after becoming Kmeťko’s secretary, Tiso’s rejuvenated prospects in the hierarchy hit a snag. In June 1921, Orol rallied in Bánovce nad Bebravou (Bán) in response to a triumphant Sokol exhibition in Nitra featuring Czech guests. As the key speaker in Bánovce, Tiso denounced the Sokols as “red devils,” a reference to their uniforms and progressive values, which he felt lured youth away from God. Although Tiso may have aimed his barbs at the Sokols, witnesses understood his quarry as Czechs. “Czechs take our faith,” they quoted him, also attributing to him criticism of Czech officials in Slovakia and the use of Czech in Slovak schools.47 Tiso’s speech reportedly stirred up his audience to the point of violence, prompting the authorities to charge him with incitement.

Ironically, Tiso’s controversial agitation for Orol marked a shift in his public persona away from the party. The priest was, of course, still deeply involved with the Ľudáks. He belonged to the editorial board of Slovák, for example, and in 1921 helped to found a Ľudák weekly in Nitra, Populist Politics (Ľudová politika). But he was most active outside the strict confines of the party. In fall 1921, he joined the board of the St. Vojtech Society, a Catholic publisher, around the same time translating a Czech religious textbook for another Catholic press. While Hlinka (p.74) headed both organizations, they were understood as serving first religious rather than political missions. Both organizations were also backed by Kmeťko.48 In early 1922, Tiso became the editor of The Spiritual Shepherd, through which he immediately urged priests “to dedicate all of [their] free time to the education of youth.”49 A few weeks later, he stole a march on Nitra’s Czechoslovak progressives by helping to open an attractive local social club: a Catholic circle that also welcomed Hungarian Christian Socials.50 Finally, most of Tiso’s appearances and publications in 1921–22 were for Catholic organizations that were legally independent of the Ľudáks, such as Orol. Such distinctions no doubt mattered to Kmeťko. In 1947, the bishop characterized Sokol versus Orol as antireligious versus pro-Church. He considered Orol to be a Czechoslovak Catholic organization rather than a Ľudák youth circle.51

During this shift toward a more Catholic public persona, Tiso won and then curiously lost a clerical honor. In late 1921, the Vatican named him monsignor. The tribute reflected both Tiso’s accomplishments and Kmeťko’s sponsorship of him. Two months later, the death of Benedict XV invalidated the title. Canon law of that time required Tiso to reapply for it through Kmeťko, a process that should have been pro forma. Yet neither Tiso nor Kmeťko undertook it. This double failure probably stemmed from tensions between the two men. First, Tiso’s legal predicament was an embarrassment for Kmeťko. Although Tiso won an acquittal in early 1922 on the charge of incitement, a higher court overturned the decision.52 Second, Kmeťko had cooled on the Ľudáks. Soon after Benedict made Tiso a monsignor, the party split with their Czech counterparts, the Lidáks, over school policy. The government had reneged on a deal to return to the Catholic Church three high schools, including Nitra’s. The Ľudáks wanted their Czech allies to join them in militant opposition, but the Lidáks were more interested in building bridges to the government, which now included party chairman Šrámek. Kmeťko apparently sided with the Czechs. Also under pressure from the Vatican to be apolitical, he resigned as a Ľudák parliamentary deputy in early 1922. He, however, continued to back the party as a defender of Catholicism and Slovak nationalism.53 He also never denied Tiso permission to stand as a party candidate.

Kmeťko’s disenchantment with the Ľudáks stemmed in part from the rise of party radicals, led by Vojtech (Béla) Tuka. A “new” Slovak who had lost his position as a law professor in Bratislava, Tuka’s loyalty to Czechoslovakia was constantly in doubt, in part because he spoke Slovak with a Hungarian accent. Like Tiso, Tuka was a devout Catholic with a Christian Social and Jesuit background who dreamed of uniting Catholics and expanding the influence of the church. He became the editor of Slovák in 1922 on Hlinka’s recommendation. The endorsement confirmed again Hlinka’s atrocious judgment of character, for Tuka was in fact a Hungarian agent.54 An admirer of Italian fascism, he strengthened the ideology’s influence within the party while sharpening the Ľudák drive for autonomy. (p.75) Weak as the party was (claiming 4 percent of the Czechoslovak electorate), the Ľudáks had no hope of reaching this goal legally. Their first proposal for autonomy, from 1922, died in parliamentary committee.55

In the meantime, Tiso considered quitting politics (as he had also done in 1919). His legal troubles, the loss of his title as monsignor, and Kmeťko’s disputes with the Ľudáks all cast a shadow on his career in the hierarchy. When Kmeťko left the party, Tiso supposedly asked if he should leave politics as well, but the bishop said no. Soon after, Filkorn—who now managed the financially troubled Slovák but had yet to hire Tuka as editor—offered Tiso the position. Tiso turned him down cold: “Do you think there’s much future in that for me, as a priest? Slovák’s here today, but what about tomorrow?”56

Tiso would have served his hierarchical ambitions best by steering clear of controversy, but he instead chose to provoke his opponents. In mid-1922, he returned to Bánovce as the star of another Orol rally. He reportedly wanted to speak on schools, but the authorities objected. Annoyed, he began his revised speech by reflecting on his recent conviction. The year before, he claimed, he had spoken against only Sokols, yet he had been denounced by traitors as if he had spoken against Czechs. Today, in contrast, he would indeed speak about Czechs. After a dramatic pause, he then proclaimed “with scornful derision” that “all Czechs in Slovakia are respectable.”57 The line predictably drew denials from the stirred-up crowd. In response, a local Czech teacher jumped onto the stage and had a heated, mildly physical confrontation with Tiso. In what may have been a coincidence, Tiso had pointed toward him when complaining of “traitors.” Spectators soon hauled the Czech off the stage and beat him, giving him a concussion. The state again indicted Tiso for incitement. Yet victory was momentarily his. He had gotten the authorities to censure him for, of all things, calling Czechs “respectable.”

Such defiance was unusual for Tiso when compared with his record on the Nitra City Council. By winter 1919–20, the council had evolved from an instrument of Czechoslovak revolution into a semiconstitutional body that not only included Hungarians and Jews but also allowed Hungarian as a language of discussion. Tiso apparently accepted these changes with few qualms, quickly winning the trust of his colleagues, who unanimously elected him chairman of a powerful committee on finances.58 Tiso’s success on the council reflected his flexibility. Despite his reputation as a fanatic nationalist, he could value civic over national agendas. In 1920, for example, he opposed downgrading the administrative status of Nitra, even though the change facilitated Slovak control over the city’s Hungarians. He also could join forces with his enemies the Social Democrats, as when he opposed a “National House” in Nitra, probably because it would encourage Czechoslovak consciousness. Except for an unexplained streak of absences from council (but not finance committee) sessions in 1921, Tiso was a dedicated, reliable, and cooperative participant in local government.59

(p.76) By mid-1922, however, the frustration that Tiso and other Catholics felt over secularization had reached a boiling point. A pastoral letter by the republic’s bishops warned that “unbelievers and enemies of the Church” had driven God out of so many schools that the faith now faced a “life and death struggle.”60 Earlier, the state had assumed administration of twenty-one Catholic high schools, which the government distrusted as infected with a Magyar spirit. The takeover ostensibly provided Slovak leadership to the schools while the bishops’ chairs were still vacant. Even though the state had been more permissive with Lutheran schools, Catholic Slovak nationalists such as Tiso accepted the situation in order to consolidate the republic. But now that Slovak bishops were in place, they and the Ľudáks wanted the balance redressed. Rather than return schools to the church, however, the government pressed on with nationalization. The conflict was especially intense in Nitra, as local Magyars (many of whom liked confessional schools) were constitutionally guaranteed instruction in Hungarian. Such concessions agitated many Slovak and Czechoslovak nationalists. Was it not rolling back the clock? The local Agrarian press also equated returning the high school to the church with handing it over to the Ľudáks, thus creating a “nest” of anti-Czechoslovak agitators.61

The month after his defiant speech in Bánovce, the school issue led Tiso to adopt confrontational tactics in the Nitra City Council. In July 1922, the council voted on the nationalization of a local Catholic boys’ school. The question had divided residents, inflaming tempers and prompting charges of dirty tricks. On the occasion of the vote, both the Ľudáks and the local Communist Party—formed the year before—packed the council chamber with followers (in the Ľudák case, mothers). In an even more unusual step, Okánik’s successor as governor (the poet Janko Jesenský, the leader of the Bán Slovak nationalists during Tiso’s ministry there) chose this session to add a councilmember: “A. Klaus,” a progressive school director. The governor clearly wanted to ensure that the school measure passed. Despite shining in debate, Tiso failed to block Klaus’s entry onto the council. According to Nyitra County, Tiso also debunked the alleged financial benefits of the nationalization, “shaking out the sawdust from inside the glistening cover.” His passion was inspirational compared to the high-handed, anticlerical, and anti-Hungarian Klaus, who “spattered around vitriol.” Yet Tiso did not sway the majority. As defeat loomed, he turned to obstructionism, accusing a local Czech administrator of using the nationalization to avert being disciplined by the Ministry of Education.62 The claim sparked a furor but did not keep the measure from passing. Tiso then stalked out of the hall, the rest of the opposition in tow.

Although he kept working on the finance committee, Tiso did not return to city council sessions until late 1922, when he again employed obstructionism, this time over a national issue: the selection of a new mayor. At the time, Nitra had yet to hold local elections. Parties and the government appointed councilmen, the relative proportion between parties determined by national election results. (p.77) The council’s majority bloc picked mayors, the minority bloc, vice mayors. In preparation for this, the Ľudáks formed a “civic” (meaning non-Socialist) bloc with the Hungarian Christian Socials and the Jewish Party, upper-middle-class Zionists. Opposing them was a majority bloc of Agrarians, Social Democrats, and Communists. According to their later joint declaration, Tiso and the minority had learned beforehand of the majority’s candidate: an “entirely unobjectionable individual” except that he was Czech. Tiso and the civic bloc took the choice as a “slap in the face.”63 The majority could not find a single Slovak from Nitra capable of running the city? Angry, Tiso and his allies went into the election session primed for action. Shortly after it began, Tiso announced the opposition’s wish that the mayor be a Slovak from Nitra. The majority instead stuck to the Czech. Tiso again led the civic bloc out of the hall in protest, dumping all responsibility for government onto the majority and starting another virtual boycott of the council.

With Nitra’s first communal elections coming in August 1923, one might expect Tiso to take this confrontational politics to the next level. But rather than beating the Ľudák drum, he avoided a higher party profile while letting his nationalism mellow. A lecture for Orol, published in 1923, showed Tiso still basing “love of nation” on “love your neighbor.” Yet now he was careful to insist that

love of nation is not hatred toward another nation…. Rather, it is enthusiastic work for lifting up one’s own nation; it is fulfilling our responsibilities in the national interest; it is a conscientious and honorable life, so that we do not bring shame … on our nation…. The nation lives from the sacrifices of individuals [not vice versa]…. Only religion can awaken [this] love without contempt for and hatred of other nations, because this love is … founded on God’s command.64

Typically, this article did not appear in a formal Ľudák venue. Indeed, Tiso’s major publication for spring 1923 was in a pedagogical journal: an anonymous series in which he strove to refute Enlightenment arguments that morality derived from man rather than God.65 Tiso’s only known article in a formal party venue during this time was a May column for Slovák, his first in over two years. Although initially antisemitic, the column surprisingly then looked to Orthodox Judaism as a model for Slovak nationalism. Reminiscing about his youth, Tiso wrote of how he and his friends would visit the synagogue on Friday—“more out of curiosity than anything else”—to watch their “peaceful fellow citizens” worship. He was moved by the Jewish ritual of touching the covered Torah and then one’s lips. He was also impressed by a corollary ritual, in which Jews similarly paid obeisance to a miniature Torah nailed to their front doors. For Tiso, it was as if Jews thus literally transferred the strength of their faith and identity to their souls. He proposed that Slovaks do likewise by treating the Pittsburgh Agreement as their Torah, calling on the Ľudáks to distribute a reproduction of the document “to every Slovak (p.78) home. Let [the agreement] hang in a beautiful frame in every Slovak’s dwelling, so that he can have it before his eyes in good times and bad…. Every Slovak will be strengthened by this law in the struggle for the distinct Slovak character. In front of this agreement, Slovaks will teach their children love of nation. From this agreement, Slovaks will draw a sense of common belonging.”66

By reshaping his politics as less Ľudák and more moderate, Tiso hoped to balance the demands of his career as a priest with his political needs. The lower party profile was no doubt a concession to Kmeťko, who wanted his office (which Tiso ran) to be nonpartisan. Tiso accordingly avoided trumpeting the Ľudák cause, campaigning instead through “quiet agitation,” as a later observer characterized it.67 By professing more tolerance toward Jews, Tiso also helped to strengthen his alliance with the Jewish Party, important non-Socialist votes on the city council. Finally, his more tolerant nationalism also countered complaints that he sowed hatred.

Such criticism of Tiso was harsh at the time, for he was due to go to jail. In early 1923, the Czechoslovak Supreme Court upheld his conviction on the 1921 incitement charge. The court took a dim moral view of Tiso: “[He] is a highly educated person and has a respectable position as the bishop’s secretary. Considering his age, he also must have extensive life experience. As a priest, he has a professional responsibility to promulgate peace and brotherly relations among people. Neither education nor position nor age nor responsibility, however, restrained the defendant from systematically inciting … the Slovak branch of the Czechoslovak nation to hatred against the Czech branch.”68 The Agrarians’ National Sentinel had a field day. “Tiszó,” the paper argued, exploited Slovak nationalism for his own earthly concerns, “caring more about politics than about the religious education of [his] faithful.” He was not fit to be the bishop’s secretary or to train priests. He was instead “the main obstacle to consolidating Czech and Slovak elements” in Nitra.69

A few months later, Tiso faced a worse charge: that he had driven a colleague to suicide. In July 1923, Josef Zdrálek, a popular Czech infantry chaplain, shot himself in Nitra. The progressive press blamed the Ľudáks, naming Tiso (who “hates everything Czech”) as an éminence grise.70 Through intrigues, the party supposedly had convinced the army to replace Zdrálek with a party agitator, thus pushing the Czech into despair. The main evidence for these charges was the cozy relationship between Kmeťko, Tiso, and Zdrálek’s commanding officer, who lived in the bishop’s castle. Zdrálek’s replacement, “an obstinate Ľudák,” was also said to have lunched with Hlinka on arriving in Nitra.71 Buday, in the Ľudák response, failed to exonerate or even mention Tiso. Zdrálek allegedly had been a “nonentity” for the Ľudáks and suicidal for months. The lunch between Hlinka and the replacement happened by chance. The Ľudáks, moreover, had no pull with the army.72 Judging from all accounts, it seems that the unfortunate Zdrálek had problems besides Ľudák antipathy. He was reportedly a progressive cleric at (p.79) odds with both his religious superiors and military commanders.73 The case for Ľudák intrigue was weak and served as campaign fodder. Yet the Ľudák defense also was unconvincing, employing familiar stratagems: a proclamation of absolute innocence, a denial of relations with the victim, and the explaining away of harder evidence as coincidence.

Days after Buday’s response to the Zdrálek scandal, Tiso went to jail, his legal alternatives exhausted. Brno’s progressive daily Lidové noviny (The People’s News) reported his incarceration with satisfaction. The Hungarian Christian Socials, in contrast, decried it as “entirely political” while praising his “unimpeachable” character.74 Slovák began a vigil for him as a martyr, running a repeating notice that “Dr. Jozef Tiso, professor of theology, [monsignor, and] bishop’s secretary sits in Trenčín in jail.”75 But jail for Tiso was not so different from seminary. He had no trouble celebrating Mass or working on projects such as translating a favorite ascetic text. Thanks to permissive visiting hours, he presumably also directed the Ľudák campaign in Nitra. As he and Slovák admitted, he was treated “very humanely.”76

Strained relations with his bishop probably caused Tiso more pain than did incarceration. When Tiso went to jail, Nyitra County reported that he was to be transferred away.77 But Kmeťko held off formally firing him. The delay suggests that Tiso might have kept his job if yet another scandal had not enveloped him. In July, Kmeťko and the Ľudák radical Tuka attended a Paris Eucharistic congress. The Slovak bishops had endorsed Tuka as a representative of a Marian association.78 He used the trip to shop for international patrons with a Ľudák memorandum.79 The document (not so subtly titled “The Voice of the Slovak Nation, Condemned to Death, to the Civilized World”) supported Hungarian claims that Slovaks were an oppressed minority. The party had adopted the memorandum, which was penned in part by Tuka, and the party leadership had approved his mission to Paris. Tiso was not only a member of the presidium but also had earlier proposed “inform[ing] foreign countries about our autonomist cause.”80 In short, he must have known what Tuka was up to. The Paris incident prompted accusations that Kmeťko was in league with Tuka, charges that the bishop indignantly denied. In response, Lidové noviny suggested that he “turn against the Ľudák priests who so indecently and maliciously abused [your] benevolence and added a political agent to [your] trip.”81 Two weeks later, Czechoslovak president Masaryk visited Nitra, chatting briefly with Kmeťko about the Paris trip. The bishop apparently fired the prisoner soon after.82 In 1947, Kmeťko explained his motives: Tiso had “begun to do politics by methods that were incompatible with my political and Church convictions.” At the same time, Kmeťko downplayed discord between the pair, characterizing the decision as semimutual. Tiso certainly accepted his firing quietly. But his personal relations with the bishop foundered. In Kmeťko’s estimation, Tiso believed that “in political matters, the bishop does not order me.”83

(p.80) The week after being fired, Tiso was out of jail and on the campaign trail. The Nitra seminary petitioned Masaryk for his early release, claiming (probably falsely) that Tiso was needed in the classroom. Tiso instead went on leave. His first stop was Bratislava, where a Slovák reporter “accidentally” bumped into him. “How is it that you go about … without guards?” Tiso played dumb: “As far as he knew, neither his legal representative, nor his bishop, nor the party made a plea.” Perhaps the high point of Tiso’s subsequent campaign tour was a massive rally in Veľká Bytča, where he was introduced as wearing “the order of the thorny crown.”84

The fall elections were a vindication for Tiso. The Ľudáks unexpectedly won over a fifth of the vote in Nitra, finishing just behind the Hungarian Christian Socials. The district and county results tasted even sweeter, as the Ľudáks dominated the field.85 Tiso’s successes in Nitra were doubly impressive considering that the local Ľudák paper, Populist Politics, had closed in June. The jail time, in contrast, probably helped more than hurt Tiso. In general, the elections voiced voter anger over the economy. Competition with Czech firms and a disproportionate tax burden had devastated Slovak industry, a crisis that had spread to agriculture.86 As Nyitra County reported, everyone understood the local triumph to be Tiso’s:

The real point of the Nitra elections was without a doubt the surprising victory of the Hlinka party…. Nearly underground, the party expanded with feverish, subdued, quiet agitation, growing larger before our amazed eyes almost in a matter of minutes. It is an open secret that the work of a single individual—Dr. Jozef Tiso, the bishop’s secretary—fertilized the seed of this organizing. The fanatical, passionate soul of Dr. Tiso inspired his followers…. Whoever follows [history] remembers that it was he who, in fall 1918, celebrated the revolution with such rising enthusiasm. Noting now the new aims of Dr. Tiso, this observer reflects on how the very first publisher of a Slovak paper in Nitra [recently] sat in prison because of antistate incitement…. Now he will lead an embittered, passionate opposition. Individual men make not only national but also civic history. Will the chisel of Dr. Tiso shape Nitra’s next period?87

Leaving Nitra

Theoretically, Tiso could have salvaged his sacerdotal career. His prospects within the church, although crippled, were hardly dead; he was demoted to professor of theology, a still respectable post. But rather than try to return to grace by leaving politics, he instead dove into the party, becoming the “main collaborator” (a cross between coeditor and featured columnist) for the weekly version of Slovák.88 Over the next year, he remade himself as a career Ľudák politician. Controversy meanwhile dogged him, ultimately driving him from Nitra.

(p.81) Right after the 1923 elections, Tiso signaled his commitment to a political life through The Spiritual Shepherd. A series on “The Priest and Politics,” most probably by him, urged Catholic priests to defend their church politically against secular enemies. The series served as an apology for Tiso’s political activism, implicitly criticizing Kmeťko’s less partisan approach. One installment, for example, linked an old archbishop in Chile to the “Freemason” proposition that “the priesthood [should] behave neutrally toward politics, because their mission is of love and peace. (In a recent judgment, which condemned one of our priests to jail, it is strange that this same justification was given. …)” A youthful bishop then ostensibly corrected the archbishop’s error by calling for “the fervent participation of Catholics and priests in politics.”89 The passage, which clearly alluded to Tiso, symbolically cast him both as Kmeťko’s victim and as his wiser and more moral subordinate.

Freed from the binds that he had felt as Kmeťko’s secretary, Tiso gave his partisan agenda full rein. Through regular front-page articles in Slovák, he again sought to capture the masses, to unify them into a disciplined camp, and to mobilize them behind a program. As a journalist, Tiso especially labored to build party morale and to guard against partisan raids on membership. In one column, he argued that the party had to be big enough to overcome Czech divide-and-rule tactics. In another, he linked the size of the party with the chances of winning a Great Power patron, the “only [way] we will gain autonomy.” More generally, he conflated the party with the nation, presenting their fates as fused: “Whatever is Slovak is also Ľudák. Let us persevere!”90

Compared to his organizational concerns, Tiso paid less attention to the party’s program. Autonomy, of course, was the supreme Ľudák demand. He wrote of it often, yet more as a motivational object than as policy. It was simply something that the nation must have.91 Tiso’s other programmatic concerns mixed Christian “white” socialism (improved conditions for workers and defense of Christian values) with Czechoslovak agendas (land reform and jobs for Slovaks).92 He characterized the Ľudáks as “a party of truth, harmony, the general good, and social justice.”93 He also followed an antimilitaristic line, proposing, for example, that conscripts trade field exercises for vocational schooling.94

Tiso portrayed his party as squeaky clean, a sharp contrast to the governing parties with their corruption scandals. For him, the Ľudák should be a selfless servant of the nation: “With proudly raised heads, let us bear our sacrifices on the altar of the freedom of the Slovak nation, and cherish the sacred fire of love of nation in our souls, as it gives us strength to bear these sacrifices with pleasure. We should preserve this sacred fire for ourselves and our offspring, to whom we should hand over as a sacred inheritance this vital credo: ‘Love your nation. Work for your nation. Raise up your nation and make it noble. This is our sacred duty!’”95 (Characteristically, this affirmation of his own sacrificing spirit followed an attack on (p.82) him as a Magyarone.) Beyond such dramatics, Tiso pushed the Ľudáks to prove their managerial skills in city governments and thus to demonstrate their worthiness for autonomy. As a prime example, Tiso pointed to Nitra, where the Ľudákled council had slashed its own salaries.96

The Slovak nation for whom Tiso labored had changed from the one he saw in 1918–19. The Slovak was still Christian, hard working, conscientious, and well wishing, but he had also become a pacifist: “He doesn’t want other people’s property and would rather renounce his own for the sake of peace. For this reason, the Slovak is the darling of the nations and has no enemy.”97 He was also poor. “We don’t have capitalists,” Tiso claimed. They were instead “Czechoslovaks, who are not organized in the People’s Party.”98 Tiso tempered his pride over the supposed ancient pedigree of the Slovaks with an admission that they suffered, so to speak, from arrested development. They had not spoken their first “infantile” words until the 1918 Martin Declaration, which committed the nation to Czechoslovakia. Tiso accordingly criticized the declaration as “phonetically and grammatically” imperfect. It was the Ľudáks’ mission to rear the nation, whereupon it could demand its natural right to autonomy, a mark of nationhood.99

Tiso packaged these concerns in his Catholic worldview, lacing his arguments with fundamentalist rhetoric. The “enemy” was always pounding at the gates, be they of Christianity, the nation, or the party. The “sodomite” Socialists, “Hussites,” and other progressives typically worked in variations of “diabolical calculation.”100 In a favorite motif, Tiso warned against “false prophets” who wanted to subvert Slovaks and to tear “this Catholic nation” away from its “natural leader,” the priest. He meanwhile attributed 1,700,000 executions to Russia’s “Bolshevik hell”—persuasive reasons for Slovakia to stay “on the Right.”101 Tiso saw the “truth of Christ” as essential for all aspects of human life, including state and national development. Accordingly, it was the Slovak’s duty to bring about a “Catholic and Christian” state.102

Given Tiso’s religious certainties, it is striking how tolerant he had become. The admonition “Love your nation, but not to the detriment of others” had replaced the edict “Don’t be a traitor to your blood and kin.” “The enemy always remain[ed] the enemy,” of course, and instruments such as boycotts still filled his political toolbox. But now Tiso applied them to opponents of autonomy rather than to Jews. Indeed, other than for occasional swipes at “the Jew Marx” or brief portrayals of Jews as deicides, he had purged antisemitism from his rhetoric.103

In the meantime, legal problems continued to plague Tiso. Despite being twice acquitted on his 1922 indictment, the Czechoslovak Supreme Court convicted him of incitement in June 1924. According to the judgment, his “All Czechs in Slovakia are respectable” line had clearly been ironic, keeping with the anti-Czech tone of the speech. Treating his clerical status as an aggravating circumstance, the court (p.83) gave him two weeks’ jail time. This term was on top of a month that he had left to serve on his 1923 sentence.104 Two other run-ins with the authorities in 1924 failed to produce indictments. First, police units tried to disperse a Ľudák meeting that they argued had not been registered. Tiso defied them, claiming that the meeting was not a party rally but rather a confidential party conference, which did not require registration. Second, a different police unit wanted Tiso indicted for religious incitement for urging Catholics to belong only to Catholic organizations.105 The episodes illustrate both Tiso’s willingness to contest state authority and the degree of police harassment with which he often had to contend.

Tiso was by now a polarizing figure. Two reports from his court cases capture the debate. In late 1923, the County and District Offices in Nitra issued opinions on granting Tiso clemency for his remaining jail time. According to the District Office, “Under the old government, [Tiso] was a quiet Slovak./[His] earlier life is immaculate. During the revolution, he was a member of the Nitra Slovak National Council, and he worked very effectively … in the interest of Slovakia and Czechoslovakia, respectively. He published the first Slovak journal, Nitra, in which he spread the idea of the Czechoslovak state and of Czechoslovak reciprocity. He awakened and taught the Slovak people throughout the environs. During this time, he was really a tireless Slovak national worker.” Attributing Tiso’s involvement with the Ľudáks to personality conflicts with local teachers, the District Office recommended clemency on the basis of his revolutionary record. The County Office’s report told a different story: “Before the revolution, Tiso was Magyarized both in his thinking and sentiment. After the revolution, he became a Ľudák Slovak—that is to say, he [behaved] toward the Czechoslovak Republic … not only as a foreigner but also as a resolute and aggressive enemy. His whole life is a manifest protest against all things Czech, state, government, official…. He is a priest, Ľudák, and a sower of discord. This has made him popular with enemy elements, of which there are a lot in denationalized Nitra and its surroundings.”106

These contradictory understandings of Tiso were matched in the press. Nitra’s Social Democrats saw him as “the great friend of darkness and backwardness.”107 Nitra’s Agrarians warned that Tiso would “burn in hell for his deeds.”108 The governing parties occasionally accused him of corruption or implied that he had a dissolute private life. In fall 1924, for example, the Social Democrats charged that he had gotten public apartments for his friends, including a woman who “must have given [this] distinguished and holy [man] much pleasure.”109 More commonly, he was simply “Tiszó,” a Magyarone and a religious hypocrite. A 1924 Agrarian preelection attack accusing him of treason and corruption can only be described as character assassination. Tiso sued and had the satisfaction of seeing the article retracted.110 Normally, he had to content himself with rebuttals from the Ľudák press. The Hungarian Christian Socials and even Jews, however, also praised his integrity and sympathized with his troubles. For example, when Tiso (p.84) was physically assaulted in 1923—in a bizarre, minor altercation in which he was apparently blameless—The Nyitra Journal condemned the attack.111

In his 1947 testimony, Kmeťko suggested that Nitra ultimately rejected Tiso: “He was a very [politically] committed man. As a consequence of this, he lost the trust of the citizens of Nitra.”112 Certainly, he lost Kmeťko’s trust. Yet a police report from fall 1923 claimed that Tiso still “enjoy[ed] a good reputation,” a sentiment echoed by the District Office.113 The County Office, in contrast, thought Tiso was a traitor, while the local progovernment press wanted him gone. In August 1924, Czechoslovak courts confirmed that they intended to jail Tiso for two weeks. The National Sentinel commented: “We are curious whether this professor … will continue to instruct young priests. We know that the bishop presents himself as a representative of Czechoslovak unity, [yet] his theology professor must be condemned for incitement twice. We think that the bishop … will pass his own judgment on [Tiso] and remove him from a position for which he … is in no way suited.”114

The Sentinel got its wish. In September 1924, Bánovce needed a priest. The parish was generously endowed, and Tiso had ties to it. He easily won the post.115 In November, he received a well-attended send-off. In the words of a local official, “the spirit of the Ľudák movement [thus] goes away from Nitra.”116

As Tiso prepared to leave for Bánovce, The Spiritual Shepherd published an anonymous lead article entitled Vir desideriorum, “a man of holy desires.”

Vir desideriorum is a kind of modern priest. A priest who has concepts and plans; a priest who is not satisfied with himself or his work…. He does not lay down the sword merely to enjoy his already harvested fruits. Vir desideriorum is a priest of constant action…. He is a priest enthused by idealism …, a strong motor for tireless work…. Vir desideriorum [is never] a quiet man, an apathetic man, or a depressed man. He embraces only the victorious worldview, which flows from internal harmony and is expressed in incessant, manifold blessed work. And therefore Vir desideriorum is our model.117

Tiso probably wrote this passage, which perfectly sums up his self-image and ambition. Although he might have been leaving Nitra as an exile, he was not going into the wilderness. He had plans.


Between 1919 and 1925, Jozef Tiso made a series of trades. Displeased with how the republic intended to educate its young, he switched from collaborating with his Czechoslovak partners to resisting them. Failing to strike a sustainable balance (p.85) between his sacerdotal and political roles, he turned to climbing party rather than church hierarchies. Rethinking the wisdom of pursuing his missions too radically, he made moderation his political trademark. These changes, of course, were not cut and dried, as Tiso was always given to pragmatic compromise. He might stalk out of city council meetings, for example, but he kept busy on its finance committee. Yet, in general, these changes marked the crystallization of his Slovak political personality.

Tiso’s shift to resistance grew out of the conflict between Christian socialism, the Ľudák version of Slovak nationalism, and Czechoslovak state building. Christian Social agendas inspired Tiso to maintain ties with Hungarians, but his support for Ľudák autonomy worked against strengthening ties with Czechs. Czechoslovak centralists equated autonomy with Magyar subversion. Czechoslovak progressives equated the Catholic Church with Magyar oppression. Partly as a result, building the republic meant secularization, Tiso’s greatest fear. Since he had always constructed Slovak identity around Catholicism, it is not surprising that he rejected a Czechoslovak identity that celebrated the progressive Masaryk, the anticlerical Sokol, and the heretic Hus. In response, his Czechoslovak opponents took his Magyar and autonomist connections as proof of his national unreliability. In such an environment, Tiso had little to gain through collaboration or to lose through resistance.

Tiso’s personality exacerbated these conflicts. “An outspoken young priest” who was “fanatical about his opinions,” he clashed easily with other strong personalities.118 When he felt insecure or wronged, his religious fervor and self-righteousness could burst into aggression. In pursuit of his Christian Social and Slovak nationalist aims, he sought to kindle religious and national sentiment in his audience, bringing crowds to a boil. When they slipped over into violence, his main concern was to avoid personal and partisan responsibility, blaming instead his enemies or coincidence. In line with Ignatius of Loyola’s dictums on Catholic defense, Tiso was loath to admit mistakes, preferring to retreat silently or under cover. His critics habitually accused him of intrigues, opportunism, and hatred. To be sure, between 1918 and 1925, he was a sly tactician and careerist who contributed more than his share of animosity toward Jews, Social Democrats, and progressive Czechs. Yet he operated within a political culture in which dirty tricks were standard, and at a time when failing to master the new national vocabulary could leave one impoverished—as it did many Magyar state workers. Despite the dictates of Slovak nationalism, he was also tolerant toward Magyars and, after 1921, even Jews.

Nitra was pivotal for Tiso’s journey into conflict with the Czechoslovaks. The Magyars had seen the city as an outpost on a linguistic border, making a cultural stand there. Adopting an analogous approach, the Czechoslovaks resolved on taking Nitra “back”: nationalizing schools, importing cultural organizations, and promoting Czechoslovakism among the clergy. All three tactics favored (p.86) progressivism. Catholic teachers with Slovak identity were rare in Nitra, while Orol remained a pale competitor to Sokol, the “Czech army.” Prominent Czechoslovak clerics such as Okánik and Rozím promoted Catholic Church reforms that repelled the orthodox Tiso. In challenging both the secularization of schools and the clerical reform movement, Tiso’s best allies were Hungarian Christian Socials. But working with Magyars opened him up for attack as a Magyarone, a sensitive issue for him. Czechoslovaks were just as sensitive to his attacks on Sokols and Czechoslovak progressivism, seeing him as Hungarian irredentist and anti-Czech.

Although Slovak nationalism moved forward in Tiso’s thinking between 1919 and 1925, Catholic politics still drove him.119 His overriding concerns before 1923 were maintaining religious instruction for youths, saving souls from materialist doctrines like social democracy, and restoring prestige to the church and its clergy. His corporatist understanding of politics inspired him to seek the largest Catholic party possible to push through his program. The Ľudáks best fulfilled this need. The party’s poor showing in the 1920 election, however, demonstrated the weakness of Catholic politics within Czechoslovakia. The solution for the Ľudáks (and ultimately for Tiso) lay in playing more to nationalism through autonomy politics. Tiso, of course, increasingly cared about issues of Slovak identity and did desire autonomy. But in 1918–24, Slovak nationalism for him tended more often to be a vehicle for achieving religious ends rather than an end in itself.

Tiso’s use of Slovak nationalism to advance his sacerdotal career, in contrast, backfired. In 1921, it was above all Slovak nationalism that won Tiso the post of Kmeťko’s secretary. With his clerical career restored, Tiso muted his party politics, reshaping his public persona more as Slovak Catholic than Ľudák. Given different circumstances, he could have remained Kmeťko’s secretary and even succeeded him as bishop. Three contingencies stymied this result: a Czechoslovak political culture that read Tiso’s antisecularism as subversion, Kmeťko’s abandonment of the Ľudáks, and Tiso’s failure to do likewise. While Tiso considered leaving politics in winter 1921–22, by summer 1923 he led the Ľudáks to victory in Nitra. He had forged bonds to the party that he could not or would not break. To compensate, he apparently concealed aspects of his political activism from Kmeťko in the same way as he claimed to have hidden his alleged pan-Slavism from Batthyány. This subterfuge would explain both Kmeťko’s anger at being linked to Tuka’s Paris mission and the underground nature of Tiso’s party work in Nitra.

Instead of rising higher in the hierarchy, Tiso became the consummate Ľudák insider. His skills as an organizer, journalist, and speaker served him well in the party. He had charisma, intelligence, conviction, and endless energy. He knew how to mobilize the masses, whether through demagogy or reasoned argument.120 He was less successful at forcing political change, even though he used a similarly wide range of tactics, from cooperation to obstructionism. By present-day (p.87) standards of democracy, he and the party had many legitimate complaints about the Czechoslovak regime. For the first few years of the republic, he lived under dictatorship or close to it. Šrobár’s administration often censored the Ľudák press, interned its members, and labeled the party as antistate. The governmenťs pursuit of secularization meanwhile infuriated Tiso. These complaints merged with his developing self-conception as a Slovak, with his political and personal need to prove that he was not a Magyarone, and with his antipathy to a progressive Czechoslovak identity. Through the party, he could satisfy his Catholic activism, exercise his Slovak nationalism, and oppose the developments that troubled him so much. Grand irony was at work here, the problem of balancing “For God and Nation.” Tiso entered national politics to defend the church; by 1924 he was left to the nation, cut off to an extent by the church.

Along the way to this unexpected destination, Tiso became a moderate, a shift that is most evident in his treatment of Jews. How is one to understand his switch from Jew baiting to a seeming indifference to antisemitism? Opportunism, of course, is again one answer. In 1918–19, Tiso opposed local Social Democrats and Bolshevik Hungary, both of which were closely associated with Jews. In 1922–24, in contrast, Jewish nationalists in Nitra constituted non-Socialist swing votes. In 1918–19, as well, Tiso had been radicalized by revolution, occupation, and invasion. By 1924, Czechoslovakia had stabilized. The time of great uncertainty and radical change had passed. Tiso felt secure in both his identity and position.

But opportunism and a change of political climate cannot fully explain Tiso’s abandonment of antisemitic politics. Although his party energetically played the “Jewish card” in the summer of 1920, Tiso did not follow suit. Nor did he bait Jews much thereafter, even though it was a staple among his Czechoslovak opponents.121 He had learned something from his 1918–19 experience. At that time, he was implicitly if not directly accused of inspiring murder. In 1923, he endured a similar round of accusations in the Zdrálek scandal before being jailed for inciting hatred against Czechs. Such episodes gave his opponents ammunition with which to attack his person, his profession, and his party. As the National Sentinel argued in 1923: “The principal command of Christ is ‘to love your neighbor as yourself.’ [The Ľudáks] reject this, and they teach people hatred and rancor. They drive them to battles, bloodletting, even to murder.”122 Tiso did not like such talk about Catholic priests. For him, “the greatest treasure” of the clergy was its “immaculate” reputation.123 Although his immediate response to such attacks was often to return the insult, to accuse others of the same deed, or to adopt sanctimonious outrage, his long-term response was to give opponents less grounds for such claims. In short, he listened to their complaints. Whereas in 1919 he had justified his campaign against Jews as self-defense derived from love of nation, by 1924 he stressed that love of nation could not be to the detriment of others. While there is (p.88) no compelling reason to assume that his inner convictions profoundly changed, it is clear that by 1924 he styled himself as a moderate.

His opponents meanwhile had grown to understand him only as a radical. There was a moral logic at work here that defied reality. From 1918 on, Tiso firmly supported Czechoslovakia. Until 1922, there is no evidence that he had turned against the Czechs as a whole. He worked well with Moravian Catholics, saved his harshest criticism for Slovaks such as Okánik and Rozím, and overall sought to improve (rather than to reject) the union of Czechs and Slovaks. Yet, by 1922, Czechoslovaks (usually progressives) generally regarded him as a Magyarone traitor. They refused to recognize that he was committed to a common state-building project or even that he had been one of their best collaborators. Many times, this refusal was a deliberate attempt to make political hay. Tiso, after all, belonged to a party that was in many eyes antistate. The Ľudáks allied themselves with irredentists such as the Magyar Christian Socialists and even harbored Hungarian agents such as Tuka. Tiso’s party also had a bad habit of courting international patrons who were hostile to the republic. But, at other times, the Czechoslovaks’ failure to perceive Tiso accurately was discursive. They were building a state for Czechoslovaks, and progress for them usually included secularization. Tiso was instead building a state for Czechs and Slovaks, and progress for him could never be secularization. For many Czechoslovaks, this meant that Tiso neither understood progress nor its appropriate object. He was consequently “Tiszó,” a reactionary relic. But if one understood progress as excluding secularization and defined its object as the Slovak nation, Tiso was an admirable Slovak patriot. His Hungarian past and his decisive turn to Czechoslovakia provided ample evidence for both sides of this interpretive divide.

Overall, Tiso’s move into resistance strengthened the priest politically but failed to effect the most important changes that he had sought. True, the Czech mayor of Nitra stepped down shortly after the 1923 election. But the state did not return the Nitra school to the Catholic Church. Nor did the Sokols decamp from the city; instead, the club thrived.124 For Tiso, resistance had turned out to be more useful for building moral credit among Slovak nationalists than for redressing the balance between church and state. The personal cost of this strategy also had been high: his brilliant clerical career was stunted, while the scandal-free reputation that he had enjoyed before 1918 was but a wistful memory. As compensation, he wore a Ľudák “thorny crown.” (p.89)


(1.) Robotnícke noviny (hereafter RN), 28 October 1924, 1.

(2.) Slovák týždenník (hereafter SlT), 27 April 1924, 1.

(4.) MarAff 140/43. See also KN, 16 August 1919, 1.

(5.) KN, 2 August 1919, 1.

(6.) Felak, “At the Price,” 14, 41–42. On the interwar contest between centralists and autonomists, see also Elisabeth Bakke, Doomed to Failure?: The Czechoslovak Nation Project and the Slovak Autonomist Reaction, 1918–38 (PhD diss., University of Oslo, 1999).

(7.) Royal Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hungarian Peace Negotiations: An Account of the Work of the Hungarian Peace Delegation at Neuilly s/S from January to March 1920 (Budapest: Victor Hornyánszky, 1921), 1:427; Občanské noviny, 23 August 1919, 2–3; Alena Bartlová, Andrej Hlinka (Bratislava: Obzor, 1991), 65; and Sidor, Andrej Hlinka, 371–72.

(8.) ŠAvN, NŽ I prez, c. 5, fd. 987, MČSRsPMpS 5490, 19 September 1919; KN, 29 November 1919, 3; and Filkorn, Verný svojmu svedomiu, 229.

(9.) KN, 6 September 1919, 1; 20 September 1919, 3; 18 October 1919, 2; and 25 October 1919, 1.

(10.) ŠAvN, NŽ I, fd. 1919/78 prez., Okánik zpráva, 5 September 1919. See also Sidor, Andrej Hlinka, 380.

(11.) ASsV, 276 fol. A, “Jednota duchovenstva na Slovensku.”

(12.) ŠAvN, NŽ I prez., c. 5, fd. 981, Tiso and Buday to Okánik, 10 September 1919, and Okánik reply, 20 October 1919.

(13.) NDK, Jednateľská kniha, Telocvičná jednota “Orol” v Nitre (hereafter Orol Minutes), 28 September 1919. See also Claire E. Nolte, The Sokol in the Czech Lands to 1914: Training for the Nation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 154; and NySz, 21 December 1919, 2.

(14.) SNA, NS 6/46, c. 53, poster, f. 6/45, Rozím aff., 1 February 1946, f. 3/45. See also MarAff 136/43.

(15.) The party was the Republikánska strana zemedelského a maloroľníckeho ľudu.

(16.) SL, 13 September 1919, 2, and 3 October 1919, 3.

(17.) Občanské noviny, 14 November 1919, 1–2, and 30 November 1919, 1.

(18.) KN, 13 December 1919, 4.

(19.) ŠAvN, NŽ I prez., c. 6, fd. 1147, Min. poradca vojenský telegram 699, perhaps 11 December 1919 (date unclear), and “Zkazonosná činnosť dr. Tisa Jozefa,” 21 December 1919; ČNA, PMR, c. 1340, sig. 94/581, MČSRsPMpS 72/res., 14 January 1920. See also Úradné noviny, 15 December 1919, 8.

(20.) NySz, 28 December 1919, 2.

(21.) The decision may explain Šrobár’s sudden desire for a report. Tiso never received an appointment, while the central seminary plan failed. SL, 30 March 1930, 3; and Emilia Hrabovec, Der Heilige Stuhl und die Slowakei, 1918–1922 (Habil.-Schr., University of Vienna, 2001), 395–96.

(22.) ŠAvN-pN, MMN, Zápisnice správnej komisie mesta Nitry od 19. júla 1919–28. júna 1920 (henceforth NCC Minutes 1919–20), 29 November 1919; and KN, 29 November 1919, 3, and 13 December 1919, 2.

(23.) Naša Slovenská ľudová strana: Čo ona chce? A za čo bojuje? (Ružomberok: Leo, 1919), 15. See also SL, 4 April 1920, 3; and Natália Krajčovičová, “Začleňovanie Slovenska do Československej republiky (1918–1920),” in Slovensko v Československu (1918–1939), ed. Milan Zemko and Valerián Bystrický (Bratislava: Veda, 2004), 87, 89–90.

(24.) KN, 24 April 1920, 1; and Karol Sidor, Slovenská politika na pôde pražského snemu (1918–1938) (Bratislava: Andrej, 1943), 1:123–25, 131–32. The Hungarian party is Az Országos Keresztény Szocialista Párt.

(25.) Sidor, Andrej Hlinka, 425, 429; and Václav L. Beneš, “Czechoslovak Democracy and Its Problems,” in A History of the Czechoslovak Republic, 1918–1948, ed. Victor S. Mamatey and Radomír Luža (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), 86.

(26.) SL, 28 September 1935, 1 (see also 8 April 1920, 3).

(27.) Ibid., 27 February 1920, 3.

(28.) SĽN, 14 May 1920, 2.

(29.) KN, 17 April 1920, 4.

(30.) SL, 28 March 1920, 2.

(31.) SĽN, 30 April 1920, 1; and Volby do Národního shromáždění v dubnu roku 1920 … (Prague: Státní úřad statistický, 1922), tab. 5, p. 20*.

(32.) SL, 28 September 1935, 1; and ASsV, 10/c. 3, Gažík et al. to Hlinka, 9 December 1926.

(33.) Milan Zemko, “Voličstvo strán národnostných menšín a komunistickej strany na Slovensku v parlamentných voľbách za predmníchovskej republiky,” in Zemko and Bystrický, Slovensko v Československu, 179; and Volby do Národního shromáždění v dubnu roku 1920, tab. 2, p. 28.

(35.) See, for example, SL, 10 June 1920, 1–2.

(36.) Ibid., 13 October 1920, 1–2, and 22 October 1920, 1.

(37.) Ibid., 6 May 1920, 2–3, and 15 May 1920, 2; and Pa Č, 1:100–102, 104–6.

(38.) Bartlová, “Jozef Tiso–funkcionár HSĽS a poslanec Národného zhromaždenia (1918–1938),” in Bystrický and Fano, Pokus o politický a osobný profil, 78.

(39.) SL, 24 October 1920, 1; 10 November 1920, 1–2; and 15 December 1920, 2.

(41.) Rebekah Klein-Pejšová, Among the Nationalities: Jewish Refugees, Jewish Nationality, and Czechoslovak Statebuilding (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2007). As Tatjana Lichtenstein has pointed out, however, the decision to declare a pro-Czechoslovak identity involved many calculations beyond just loyalty. See her “Racializing Jewishness: Zionist Responses to National Indifference in Interwar Czechoslovakia,” Austrian History Yearbook 43 (2012): 78.

(42.) DP, 1 September 1925, 1–2. As with Nitra, Tiso would have habitually written lead articles for Duchovný pastier, which at this point he edited.

(43.) MarAff 137/43. See also SL, 26 September 1920, 2, and 18 February 1921, 1–2.

(44.) České slovo, 20 February 1921, 2. Cf. NVM, 18 February 1921, 1–3.

(45.) SNA, NS 6/48, c. 54, Kmeťko test., 6 January 1947, f. 694–95/45.

(47.) ŠAvB, KST, fd. 3421/21, zápisnica of Sedria v Trenčíne, 4 January 1922. See also Lidové noviny (hereafter LN), 12 June 1921, ráno, 4.

(48.) SL, 1 September 1921, 2–3; Jozef Kašpar, Apologia katolíckeho náboženstva, trans. Jozef Tiso (Trnava: Lev, 1921); and Filkorn, Verný svojmu svedomiu, 236–39.

(49.) DP, 15 February 1922, 27.

(50.) Ľudová politika, 12 March 1922, 2; and Lipták, Changes of Changes, 46.

(51.) SNA, NS 8/46, c. 95, Kmeťko test., 6 January 1947, f. 251/83.

(52.) Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 5 January 1922, 31; Kamenec, Tragédia politika, kňaza a človeka, 39; and SL, 26 April 1922, 3.

(53.) James Ramon Felak, “Priests in East Central European Politics: Ignaz Seipel, Jan Šrámek, and Andrej Hlinka,” in Render unto Caesar: The Religious Sphere in World Politics, ed. Sabrina P. Ramet and Donald W. Treadgold (Washington: American University Press, 1995), 277–78; SL, 22 January 1922, 2; and Letz, “Karol Kmeťko,” 343.

(54.) Maroš Hertel, “Činnosť profesora Vojtecha Tuku pred jeho vstupom do Slovenskej ľudovej strany roku 1922,” 50 (2002): 257–79.

(56.) Filkorn, Verný svojmu svedomiu, 265. See also MarAff 139/43; and Pa Č, 3:115.

(57.) ŠAvB, KST, c. 79, fd. B2823/23, Č etnictvo v Bánovciach-12 1033, 12 June 1922. See also same fd., zápisnica of Sedria v Trenčíne, 12 September 1922; and SL, 15 June 1922, 3.

(58.) NCC Minutes 1919–20, 27 December 1919; NVM, 2 July 1920, 2; and ŠAvN-pN, MÚ Nitra, kn. 67, Zápisnica finančnej odbornej komisie mesta Nitry 1920–1923.22.IX, 10 September 1920.

(59.) NCC Minutes 1919–20, 31 March 1920; and NVM, 3 March 1922, 1–2.

(60.) DP, 1 February 1922, 3.

(61.) Národná stráž (hereafter NSt), 7 August 1921, 1. See also Ferdinand Peroutka, Budování státu (Praha: Academia, 2003), 3–4:669.

(62.) NVM, 14 July 1922, 2 (see also 5 May 1922, 1–3, and 7 July 1922, 1–3). Populist Politics relentlessly harassed the Czech until he left Nitra. He later unsuccessfully sued Tiso for slander. Ľudová politika, 8 October 1922, 1–2; and NySz, 4 February 1923, 2.

(63.) NVM, 1 December 1922, 2. See also Lipták, Changes of Changes, 23.

(65.) Ibid., 1:127–36.

(66.) SL, 31 May 1923, 5.

(67.) NVM, 28 September 1923, 4.

(68.) ŠAvB, KST, fd. 3421/21, Nejvyšší soud v Brne KR III 442/22/5, 21 February 1923.

(69.) NSt, 4 March 1923, 1–2.

(70.) Č eskoslovenské noviny, 14 July 1923, 5. See also LN, 17 July 1923, ráno, 2–3; and NSt, 15 July 1923, 1–2.

(71.) RN, 12 July 1923, 3.

(72.) SL, 19 July 1923, 1.

(73.) NySz, 15 July 1923, 3; and RN, 15 July 1923, 2.

(74.) NySz, 29 July 1923, 2. See also LN, 15 July 1923, ráno, 2.

(75.) SL, 26 July 1923, 3. Bartlová reports that Slovák was ordered to treat Tiso as “a future chairman of the party.” A 1935 party exposé, attributed to the Ľudák MP Viktor Ravasz, similarly claims that the presidium confirmed Tiso as Hlinka’s successor in 1923. Bartlová’s evidence, however, does not mention orders. The furious response of leading “old” Ľudáks to Tiso’s appointment as Hlinka’s deputy in 1926, in turn, suggests that Ravasz’s claim is exaggerated. Bartlová, “Jozef Tiso–funkcionár HSĽS,” 79; and Voláme pred súd národa kliku, ktorá diktuje v ľudovej strane (1935), 11.

(76.) SL, 27 July 1923, 4, and 29 July 1923, 2. The translation was P. M. Avancini, Život a učenie Ježiša Krista: Rozjímanie na všetky dni celého roku (Trnava: Spolok sv. Vojtecha, 1924).

(77.) NVM, 27 July 1923, 5.

(78.) SL, 1 July 1923, 4.

(79.) Maroš Hertel, “Dr. Vojtech Tuka–šéfredaktor Slováka,” in Tisk a politické strany…, ed. Pavel Marek (Olomouc: Katedra politologie a evropských studií FF UP, 2001), 176–77.

(80.) SL, 1 January 1922, 5.

(81.) LN, 28 July 1923, ráno, 3.

(82.) Ibid., 13 August 1923, ráno, 2; NSt, 19 August 1923, 2; and DAvN, RKBÚ, Cathalogus 1923–24, 14 August 1923, entry 1609.

(83.) SNA, NS 6/46, c. 54, Kmeťko test., 6 January 1947, f. 695–99/45.

(84.) SL, 29 August 1923, 1, and 12 September 1923, 1. See also ŠAvB, KST, fd. 3421/21, Beňo and Bartoššík to Masaryk, 22 August 1923; and DAvN, RKBÚ, Cathalogus 1923–24, 28 August 1923, entry 1711.

(85.) ŠAvN-pN, OkÚ Nitra, c. 65, fd. Nitra mesto, Zápis o voľbe obecného zastupiteľstva v Nitre, 16 September 1923, and c. 66, fd. 11720/23, zápisnice on 30 September 1923 election, 2 October 1923; and Ladislav Lipscher, K vývinu politickej správy na Slovensku v rokoch 1918–1938 (Bratislava: SAV, 1966), 111.

(86.) LN, 29 August 1923, ráno, 2; and James A. Rogerson, Slovak Republicans and Slovak Populists, 1923–1925 (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1980), 17–46.

(87.) NVM, 28 September 1923, 4.

(88.) DAvN, RKBÚ, Personalia, c. 69, fd. Tiso, Jozef; and SlT, 13 January 1924, 1.

(89.) DP, 1 December 1923, 265. See also Nataša Krajčovičová, “Publicistika Jozefa Tisu v rokoch 1918–1938,” in Bystrický and Fano, Pokus o politický a osobný profil, 91.

(90.) SlT, 27 April 1924, 1; and Pa Č, 1:164.

(91.) See, for example, SlT, 20 April 1924, 1.

(92.) See, for example, SL, 2 April 1924, 1; and SlT, 1 June 1924, 1.

(93.) SlT, 1 January 1924, 2.

(94.) ČNA, PMV, fd. 225-1163-1, ŽÚ Lipt. Sv. Mikuláš 8171, 29 September 1924, f. 55.

(95.) SL, 12 April 1924, 1. See also SlT, 10 February 1924, 1.

(96.) SlT, 1 January 1924, 2; SL, 1 April 1924, 1–2.

(97.) SlT, 28 September 1924, 1.

(98.) Ibid., 27 January 1924, 1.

(99.) Ibid., 2 November 1924, 1.

(100.) Ibid., 13 January 1924, 1, and 9 November 1924, 2; and SL, 2 April 1924, 1.

(101.) SlT, 29 June 1924, 2; 13 July 1924, 1; 21 September 1924, 1; and 16 November 1924, 1.

(102.) Ibid., 20 April 1924, 1; and ŠAvBra, Bratislava župa II., fd. 5457/24 prez., OkÚ Bratislava 6266, 7 July 1924.

(103.) SlT, 17 February 1924, 1; 2 March 1924, 1–2; 1 June 1924, 1; and 28 September 1924, 1; and Tatranský orol 6 (1925): 4, 62–65.

(104.) ŠAvB, KST, c. 79, fd. B2823/23, Nejvyšší soud v Brne Zm III 386/24/1, 17 June 1924.

(105.) SNA, PR, c. 225, fd. 225/1168, ČS. stráž bezpečnosti Hlohovec 31 dův., 29 January 1924, and c. 1094, fd. 213-96-45, Dr. Jozef Tiso, copy of ZČVpS Bratislava/Stupava-3 1386, 13 September 1924, f. 6.

(106.) ŠAvB, KST, fd. 3421/21, OkÚ Nitra 1204, 14 November 1923, and ŽÚ Nitra 11149, 19 November 1923.

(107.) Nitra, 17 November 1923, 3.

(108.) NSt, 24 August 1924, 2.

(109.) RN, 22 October 1924, 3.

(110.) SlD, 5 April 1924, 3, and 5 March 1926, 3; and ŠAvBra, KSB Tl, fd. 111/24.

(111.) SL, 4 February 1923, 4; and NL, 10 February 1923, 1.

(112.) SNA, NS 6/28, c. 54, Kmeťko test., 6 January 1947, f. 695/45.

(113.) ŠAvB, KST, fd. 3421/21, ZČVpS Nitra/Nitra-1 4022, 25 October 1923.

(114.) NSt, 7 September [misdated August] 1924, 2.

(115.) DAvN, RKBÚ, 23/10.1924/2165, Protocollum, Cathalogus 1923–24, 8 November 1924, entry 2283.

(116.) ŠAvN, NŽ II prez., c. 41, fd. 600/24, OkÚ Nitra 1846, 24 November 1924.

(117.) DP, 1 December 1924, 326. The title quoted the Archangel Gabrieľs words to the prophet Daniel.

(118.) NL, 3 February 1923, 1; and NVM, 14 July 1922, 2.

(119.) See also Thomas Anselm Lorman, “The Christian Social Roots of Jozef Tiso’s Radicalism, 1887–1939,” in In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Rebecca Haynes and Martyn Rady (London: I. B. Tauris, 2011), 245–60.

(121.) Indeed, the Nitra Agrarians’ Katolícke noviny and Národná stráž strongly followed the antisemitic tradition of Tiso’s Nitra.

(122.) NSt, 30 September 1923, 2.

(123.) Čech, 25 December 1925, 5.

(124.) NSt, 14 October 1923, 2; and Lipták, Changes of Changes, 42.