Česká Zbrojovka Strakonice is a Czech firearms manufacturer also known for making ČZ motorcycles. ČZ was established as a branch of the Škoda Works Armament in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia in September 1919.
With the downturn in weapons sales after World War I, the company acquired a bicycle parts manufacturing plant in Kralupy nad Vltavou on the Vltava River. Bicycle exports destined for several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America started to expand. Production of motor-driven bicycles started in 1932. Three years later the first motorcycles made in Strakonice entered the market.
This marked the beginning of an era of great success for the ČZ brand. In a short time the company became the biggest manufacturer of motorcycles in Czechoslovakia. Consequently, business success resulted in a further extension of production activities by introducing chain and machine tool production. During the Second World War the factory came under German occupation and was converted to the manufacture of war materials.
Like most large industrial enterprises this stock company was nationalized in 1946. Due to the post-war political situation, arms production in the Strakonice plant was ended. In 1948 ČZ Motorcycles merged with its main rival, Jawa.