People's Militias (Czechoslovakia)

People's Militias (in Slovak Ľudové milície, in Czech Lidové milice), also called The Armed Fist of the Working Class (in Slovak Ozbrojená päsť robotníckej triedy, in Czech Ozbrojená pěst dělnické třídy) was a militia organisation of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989.[1]

People's Militias
Ľudové milície (Slovak)
Lidové milice (Czech)
Lidove milice logo.svg
Insignia of the People's Militias
Organization overview
Formed21 February 1948
Dissolved21 December 1989
Jurisdiction Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Organization executive
Parent organizationEmblem of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.svg Communist Party of Czechoslovakia


The predecessor of militias were armed groups of factory workers (Závodní milice, factory militias) formed in June 1945 to protect the factories during the post-war chaos. In 1946 they were renamed Závodní stráže (factory guards) and their equipment reduced to pistols.

In the middle of February 1948, the central committee of the Communist Party decided to form armed units from Communist Party members and supporters. On February 21, 1948, these units were renamed Dělnické milice (Worker's Militias). The militias were hastily equipped and set on alert during the communist takeover of power at the end of February. The name was soon changed to People's Militias.


The task of the militias was to protect against guerrillas expected to appear after the takeover, against undercover agents sent to Czechoslovakia and to cooperate with the police and the army. About 3,000 militiamen joined police forces. Non-communists were slowly removed from the militias. The control over the militias went to the Ministry of the Interior.

In 1952 the official status of the militias changed to being the armed part of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and control passed to the Communist Party (to the newly established departments at the central committee); also the organisational structure was changed. In 1959 a grey uniform was introduced.

Toward the end of the 1980s, political tensions in Czechoslovakia increased and the militias, equipped with batons, were frequently deployed to disperse demonstrations against the regime. In 1989, 38,985 militiamen participated in this activity.[2]

After the communist party's fall from power at the end of 1989, the militias were dissolved on 21 December 1989.

Numbers and armamentEdit

During February 1948 the militias obtained 10,000 rifles and 2,000 submachine guns from the armament factory Zbrojovka Brno. The equipment was continually modernized with sniper rifles, machine guns, mortars, anti-aircraft machine guns and transport vehicles. The ammunition was kept in army stores. During the 1970s recoilless guns and RPG-7 were added among the armament. After dissolution of the militias their equipment was handed over to the army.

Military personnelEdit

Date Number
1948 almost 2,000 (Slovakia)
1949 around 10,000 (Slovakia), 6,000 - 7,000 in Prague
1954 18,290 (Slovakia, planned)
1955 13,050 (Slovakia, planned)
1959 14,978 (Slovakia, planned)
1967 16,580 (Slovakia, planned)
1988 86,494 (actual number in the whole Czechoslovakia)
planned 63,200 in ČSR and 18,600 in SSR

Military equipment at 1989Edit

20,067 pistols (with over 4 million rounds)
71,054 submachine guns (with over 62 million rounds)
6,890 machine guns (with over 16 million rounds)
130 anti-aircraft machine guns (over one million rounds)
358 mortars
149 recoilless guns
2,177 trucks and motorcycles
2,031 hand grenades

Rank insignia 1970-1989Edit

Level Main National Regional
People's Militias
Hlavní velitel Lidových milicí ČSSR
Commander-in-Chief of the People's Militia of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Náčelník hlavního štábu LM
Chief of the Main Staff
Příslušník hlavního štábu LM
Member of the Main Staff
Národní velitel LM
National Commander
Náčelník národního štábu
Chief of the National Staff
Příslušník národního štábu
Member of the National Staff
Krajský velitel
Regional commander
Náčelník krajského štábu
Chief of the Regional Staff
Příslušník krajského štábu
Member of the Regional Staff
Level District Battalion Company
People's Militias
Okresní velitel
District commander
Náčelník okresního štábu
Chief of the District Staff
Příslušník okresního štábu
Member of the District Staff
Velitel praporu
Battalion Commander
Zástupce velitele praporu
Deputy Battalion Commander
Příslušník štábu praporu
Member of the Battalion Staff
Velitel roty
Company Commander
Zástupce velitele roty
Deputy Company Commander
Staršina roty
Company Starshina
Level Platoon Squad
People's Militias
Velitel čety
Platoon Commander
Zástupce velitele čety
Deputy Platoon Commander
Velitel družstva
Squad Commander

See alsoEdit

Similar formations:


  1. ^ People's Mlitias, 21 February coup d'etat (Czech), Moderní dě (6 March 2012)
  2. ^ Mlitias, called People's (Czech TV), (3 February 2010)


  • Jiří Bílek, Vladimír Pilát: "Závodní, Dělnické a Lidové milice v Československu" in journal "Historie a vojenství", 1995, vol. 3, p. 79 - 106.
  • Jan Štaigl: "Ľudové milície na Slovensku - ich vznik a organizačný vývoj do polovice šesťdesiatych rokov" in journal "Vojenská história", 1999, vol 2., p. 41 - 70.

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit