The predecessor of militias were armed groups of factory workers (Závodní milice, Factory Militias) formed in June 1945 to protect the factories during post-war chaos. In 1946 they were renamed to Závodní stráže (Factory Guards) and their equipment reduced to pistols.
In the middle of February 1948 the central committee of communist party decided to form armed units from communist party members and supporters. In February 21 1948 these units were renamed to Dělnické milice (Worker's Militias). The militias were hastily equipped and set on alert during communist takeover of power at the end of February. The name was soon changed to People's Militias.
The task of the militas was to protect against guerillas 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 Ministry of Interior.
In 1952 the official status of the militias changed to be the armed part of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the control was moved to communist party (to the newly established departments at the central committee); also the organisational structure was changed. In 1959 grey uniform was introduced.
Toward the end of 1980s political tensions in Czechoslovakia grew up and the militias, equipped with batons, were frequently deployed to disperse demonstrations against the regime. In 1989 38,985 militiamen participated in this activity.
|early 1948||almost 2,000 (Slovakia)|
|February 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)|
|January 1988|| 86.494 (actual number in the whole Czechoslovakia)|
planned 63,200 in ČSR and 18,600 in SSR
|20,067 pistols (with over 4 millions rounds)|
|6,890 machine guns (with over 16 million rounds)|
|130 anti-aircraft machine guns (over one million rounds)|
|149 recoilless guns|
|2,177 trucks and motorcycles|
|2,031 hand grenades|