Economic and political crisis during the reign of Wenceslas IV, the successor of Charles IV led to the creation of the Hussite reform movement. This crisis was exacerbated by the criticism of the Church in Europe. The Hussite movement was inspired by the ideas of Master Jan Hus, a preacher who was burnt at the stake in 1415 at Constance for his critism of the Church. Despite his death, his supporters successfully continued in their efforts to reform the Church. Heir to the crown of Bohemia, the Roman Emperor Sigismund, tried to defeat the growing revolution with force, but the Hussites defeated his five consecutive crusades. Only the victory of 1434, when the moderates defeated the radicals, opened the way for a temporary agreement between Hussite Bohemia and Catholic Europe. This agreement, The Compacts of Basle was proclaimed in 1436 and confirmed the Hussite denomination, and would later be paralleled by the Reformation of the 16th century.
The Hussite movement changed the structure of society in many ways. It created religious dualism for the first time in Christian Europe. There was a decline in the power and prosperity of the Church from which the nobility and towns were able to profit. The Czech nation and Czech culture came to the forefront of social life. In the years of unrest, a Czech noble – George of Podebrady, a skillful diplomat and a man of outstanding personality, became the leader of Czech political life. He was elected King of Bohemia in 1458. His diplomatic activities – notably his effort to establish a peace confederation of the European sovereigns – even reached beyond the horizon of central Europe.