Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální, ČSNS) is a civic nationalist political party established in 1898 within the Young Czech Party (National Liberal Party) as a nominally socialist group with a stress on achieving Czech independence from Austria–Hungary (as opposed to the international revolution of the Social Democratic Party, which was the largest Czech socialist group at that time). Its best-known member was Edvard Beneš, a co-founder of Czechoslovakia and the country's second President.
Despite the similar name, the ČSNS was not affiliated with the German Nazi Party and was never antisemitic; the Nazis formally suppressed the party and persecuted party members. Party representatives in majority supported Israeli Zionism and highly supported German Jewish refugees in the 1930s.
Leadership of the Czech National Social Party was soon assumed by Václav Klofáč. An important role was played by Jiří Stříbrný and Emil Franke as well. The party platform rested on the recalled social traditions of Hussitism and Taboritism, but it was also a programme of "collectivizing by means of development, surmounting of class struggle by national discipline, moral rebirth and democracy as the conditions of socialism, a powerful popular army, etc."
In 1918 the party changed its name from Czech National Social Party to the Czech Socialist Party, in 1919 to Czechoslovak Socialist Party and then in 1926 to the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party. Edvard Beneš took actual party leadership, although nominally it was his ally Václav Klofáč. Jiří Stříbrný and his supporters were expelled for disagreement with Václav Klofáč and Edvard Beneš. Later they cooperated with fascist movement and National Democratic Party.
From 1921, the party was part of most Czechoslovak government coalitions. Its newspaper was the České slovo. After German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, most of the Czech membership joined left-wing National Labour Party, minority joined right-wing Party of National Unity led by Rudolf Beran, while few of its Slovak members joined the Hlinka's Slovak People's Party led by Jozef Tiso.
Under German occupation, the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party functioned in exile and most of its members were active in the resistance movement. After 1945, the party resurfaced, under the leadership of Petr Zenkl, as one of the parties in the National Front. When Czechoslovakia became a Communist state in 1948, the party was again renamed the Czechoslovak Socialist Party, and anti-communist elements were expelled for alleged fascist sympathies. In exile Petr Zenkl led Council of Free Czechoslovakia in London.
After the return to democracy in 1989, the National Front was abolished. The party renamed itself the Liberal National Social Party (Liberální strana národně sociální), but failed to gather any significant support and was reduced to minor party status. It was shut out of the federal parliament in both elections held before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, but did manage to enter the Czech National Council in the 1992 elections. With its support hovering below the five-percent threshold, it merged with the Free Democrats, to form the Free Democrats – Liberal National Social Party. However, in the 1996 elections, its support tumbled to 2.1 percent and it was shut out of the legislature, never to return.
After the 1996 elections, the party split and was renamed again in 1997 to the Czech National Social Party. Having fallen well short of returning to parliament and crippled by financial debts, the party has almost disappeared. Karel Schwarzenberg and Mirek Topolánek mentioned that the Civic Democratic Party can be considered a spiritual successor to the pre-war Czechoslovak National Social Party.
|Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální)||1898 - 1918|
|Czech Socialist Party (Czech: Česká strana socialistická)||1918 - 1919|
|Czechoslovak Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana socialistická)||1919 - 1926|
|Czechoslovak National Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana národně socialistická)||1926 - 1948|
|Czechoslovak Socialist Party (Czech: Československá strana socialistická)||1948 - 1993|
|Liberal National Social Party (Czech: Liberální strana národně sociální)||1993 - 1995|
|Free Democrats - Liberal National Social Party (Czech: Svobodní demokraté - Liberální strana národně sociální)||1995 - 1997|
|Czech National Social Party (Czech: Česká strana národně sociální)||From 1997|
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