National Defence Guard

During the First Republic, the Ministry of National Defence put pressure on the leading state authorities to strengthen the protection of the state border. This need became more intense with the coming to power of Adolf Hitler in neighbouring Germany. In 1930, Government Decree No. 230/1930 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations of the Czechoslovak Republic was adopted to incorporate the Financial Guard ( originally subordinated to the Ministry of Finance ) into the military protection of the state border.

The Ministry of the Interior put forward a proposal to create a State Defence Guard in which the armed forces would be activated as a unit in the event of a threat to the state. Command and responsibility would be assumed by the Ministry of National Defence and the relevant military commands. The proposal was approved on 15 June 1936 by the ministries concerned and Government Decree No. 270/1936 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations was issued, and so with effect from 31 October 1936 the Guard of National Defence came into being.

It was based on Law No. 131/1936 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations on the Defence of the State. The regulation stipulated which units would form the State Defence Guard (SOS), what tasks they would have in peacetime and in war, as well as their subordination to the political and military authorities and to the Ministry of the Interior as the supreme authority in peacetime.

Members of the gendarmerie, the financial guard, the police guard force, the municipal security guard, persons having a status other than that of public guard, other employees of the State, State or State-managed institutions, enterprises and funds, and employees of public corporations, whether in public or private service, were designated as part of the National Defence Guard, provided that they were designated by their service to perform guard, police or similar service.

Příslušníi SOS na cvičení 1937.jpg

( Members of the National Defense Guard on a training exercise in 1937 )

For the purpose of its creation, the broadly conceived National Defence Guard included gendarmerie, state police, financial guards and military reinforcements. In other cases, it was possible to use CSD personnel and their armed units – the Armed Railway Guard ( OSOŽ ), and to a limited extent the communal police, the Sokol and other units, especially the gymnastic ones. In terms of the possible use of weapons or other measures, these units were subject to the relevant government decree on the National Defence Guard and other legal provisions and regulations. Following the issue of Government Decree No. 270/1936 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations, a decree was subsequently issued on the main organisational principles and tasks for SOS units, containing three basic tasks:

  1. protection of the inviolability of the state border and the inviolability of the state territory

a) To carry out permanent guarding of the State border and form the first line defending the State border in the event of enemy raids and ambushes.

b) It performs intelligence and reporting services (here the SOS became intensively active after the occupation of Austria in March 1938, when an order was issued to intensify intelligence services in cooperation with the army intelligence officers, directed by the intelligence department of the General Staff headed by Colonel of the General Staff František Moravec).

(c) Guard military installations and other objects designated by the appropriate military command, special orders to impede traffic on roads or in the field.

(d) Prepares the military defence of the state border, in particular cooperates in preparations for the destruction and blocking of roads.

(e) Cooperates in conscription education.

  1. Cooperates in the protection of public order, peace and security.
  2. Cooperates in the performance of customs administration tasks.
Stráž obrany státu na Podkarpatské Rusy.jpg

( Guarding the defence of the state in Subcarpathian Russia )

The battalions of the State Defence Guard ( SOS ) in peacetime were in the highest instance subject to the Ministry of the Interior, in the case of the announcement of border security and mobilisation they were subject to the individual higher military commands. The lower authority in peacetime compared to the Ministry of the Interior were the relevant political authorities, namely the district authorities where SOS battalion headquarters were established.


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