1948 – 31st Segment: “We’re Building”


We continue with the year 1948. The year 1948 went down in the history of Czechoslovakia. In February there was a Communist coup, which came to be reflected in the music of that period. Propaganda songs were released by the dozen.

On February 25th, the Communist coup was completed after the resignation of non-Communist ministers.
The Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Masaryk, died on March 10th in suspicious circumstances.
Klement Gottwald became president of Czechoslovakia on June 14th.
The only Czechoslovak cosmonaut, Vladimír Remek, was born on September 26th.

Starting in the spring of 1946, the Publishing House Melantrich, which was closely linked to the Czech National Socialist Party, released the results of their contest to find the new song “for the masses.” Four hundred songs were entered in the contest, including one composition by Václav Dobiáš, accompanied by lyrics written by the poet František Halas culminating in the refrain,

“Let’s roll up our sleeves, when the wheel stops; hey rup, hola hey, get to work!” The song only got third place in the contest, but thanks to its good-natured words and melody, it soon grew in popularity and after February 1948 it became the main hit of the victorious communists.

We will now listen to a later recording of the song “We’re Building,” which shows an interesting paradox. Who knows why the first stanza was left out. Perhaps someone felt that it was too close to reality. So today we will repeat the words that are well known by the older generation without the musical accompaniment. “Now that we have what we wanted, roaring with cheer, let no one shame those who died for us!” The words of František Halas are accompanied by Dobiáš’s music.

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