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The Sbor Národní Bezpečnosti (SNB, in Slovak: Zbor národnej bezpečnosti, ZNB), or National Security Corps, was the national police in Czechoslovakia from 1945 to 1991.
At the end of World War II, on April 4, 1945, Edvard Beneš headed the first postwar government at Košice, dominated by the three socialist parties, in including the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The SNB was established by the coalition government as part of the Ministry of the Interior during a meeting in Košice on April 17, replacing the traditional police and gendarmes. Control of the Ministry of Interior was sought and obtained by the KSČ, whose Václav Nosek was appointed minister and began converting the security forces into arms of the party. Between 1945 and 1948, anti-Communist police officials and officers were fired, non-Communist personnel were encouraged to join the KSČ, and all were subjected to Communist indoctrination. Nosek's replacement of the upper police hierarchy with Communists caused the protest resignation of anti-Communist government ministers in February 1948, leading to the Czechoslovak coup d'etat of 1948. When the coup took place, Nosek's Communist-dominated security forces ensured an easy takeover. The SNB then consisted of two separate organizations - the VB (Veřejná bezpečnost) or Public Security, and the StB (Státní bezpečnost), or State Security.
Public Security was a uniformed force, patterned on the Czech army, that performed traditional police duties throughout the country, including both criminal investigations and public safety duties such as traffic enforcement. State Security, the former Secret Police, was a plainclothes force, also nationwide, that acted in investigative, intelligence, and counterintelligence roles. Any activity that could possibly be considered anti-state fell under the purview of the State Security.
The SNB was abolished and replaced by the Czech Police on July 15, 1991, after the changes that followed the Velvet Revolution of 1989 in which the SNB attempted to suppress the demonstrating students.
A very popular crime series, based mostly on true stories (presented with a political spin), was made in the 1970s, called Thirty Cases of Major Zeman („Třicet případů majora Zemana“). The TV series is still popular to this day and even has its own fanclub. Other series were made in Czechoslovakia, e.g. Malý pitaval z velkého města.
Cases of significance during the existence of the SNB:
- Franz Nowotny (Kilian) - the "King of Sumava", a CIC agent, shot but escaped to Bavaria in 1950
- Hubert Pilčík - committed suicide in a prison
- Václav Mrázek - mass murderer
- Olga Hepnarová - mass murderer, convicted of public endangerment and hanged in 1975.