1945 - 1960 AFTER THE WAR

After the war
The protectorate license plates were to be seen as late as at the beginning of 1946. They were rid of the symbols of the Reich and of all stickers and stamps, and their regional codes were often repainted. The after-war chaos in the evidence system was slowly reduced by the distribution of new Czechoslovak registration plates. Their plates were white with black rim, the historic lands had the same codes as in inter-war Czechoslovakia, that is, Č for Bohemia, M for Moravia and Silesia, and P for Prague. New codes were assigned to institutions and nationalised businesses (A=state bus transport, B=police, C=railways and post, D=ministry of interior). The regional codes Č or M were followed by a dash, a set of two letters denoting region (such as KT for the Klatovy region), ensued by a block of order numerals 1-9 999, without division dots. Prague, same as institutions (A, B, C, D) had a larger block of numerals, 1-99 999. Trade plates issued by National Security Directorate in Prague had different colours (starting in 1947, they were red and white, featured the letter P and also a stamp of the issuing institution and year of issue). Dealer vehicles also had different plates (red and white, standard registration code, block of numerals starting with zero), as well as trailers (standard black and white plate, but lowercase letters) and the armed forces (white and black plates, only numbers in blocks of 9 999, 99 999, 999 999, with no division dots). Series for diplomats are known only with Prague regional code and red and yellow plates. The manufacture itself was by no means improved or unified, the opposite was true in fact. Hand manufacture including painting of characters prevailed, some regions used their own templates or templates previously made by the Germans. Vehicles traveling abroad had the international code CS.

After the communist takeover
At the beginning, the communist takeover of February 1948 did not have much visible effect on road transport and the appearance of vehicle license plates. Yet, rationed economy increasingly influenced the transport industry, too: new vehicles were rare, fuel was scarce, spare parts and tyres were difficult to obtain. The beginning of the cold war also had a dumbing effect on the developing industry of passenger cars, which was redirected to produce machinery for military use. Instead of manufacturing technologically advanced cars with high-quality design, the car making industry was forcibly transformed to produce technology useful in war, especially utility vehicles. Directive, centralised management of economy however soon led to its decline, the government was indebted and the totalitarian regime went practically bankrupt. The solution was a “monetary reform” in May 1953 and the abolition of the ration system. Overnight, most people lost all of their life savings, and the commodities which briefly appeared in the shop windows soon disappeared again. However, the 1953 was a crucial year for the evolution of Czechoslovak license plates. The preparations for the possible third world war included the reform of the whole evidence system of vehicles. The reform was carried out completely by the ministry of interior, including the design of new license plates, their manufacture and their distribution.

Author: Petr Marinov, Translate: Olga Neumanová
Published by TYPO (typography · graphic design · visual communication)
TYPO.28 - August 2007