A relationship starting up between a married woman in her mid-forties and a widower approaching 80 might still raise eyebrows even in these modern Viagra times. But in 1920’s Czechoslovakia when the man was the iconic president of the country, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (TGM) it would clearly have done much more than that.
Czechs abroad have always been an integral part of the nation’s identity, but in the years of communism this bond was broken. The cultural and political life of Czech emigrés and exiles, especially in the West, came to be seen as a threat. Nearly three decades after the fall of communism, something of this suspicion still remains, and in the Czech Republic it is surprising how little we know about the Czech diaspora and their contribution both to their host countries and to the idea of what it means to be Czech. The historian and political scientist
Eighty years ago this week, Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk died at the age of eighty-seven. He had led the country from its independence in 1918 for the next seventeen years, enjoying immense popularity throughout that time. Masaryk was known widely as the “President Liberator” and “Father of the Nation”, but although this popularity often slipped into hero-worship, he remained a lifelong democrat and humanist, in stark contrast with many of the world leaders emerging in the 1920s and 1930s. His values are reflected in several
Czechs are marking 80 years since the death of Czechoslovakia’s first
president T. G. Masaryk.
Masaryk had great merit in bringing about the establishment of an independent state of Czechs and Slovaks after WWI and as the country’s first president laid down the foundations of democracy.
Dubbed the Father of the Nation, Masaryk was a much loved and respected politician and is revered to this day.
Events are being held around the country to mark the anniversary of his death.
The main commemorative event will take place on Hradčany Square in Prague beneath the statue of Czechoslovakia’s first president.
The National Museum has opened an exhibition titled The phenomenon Masaryk and a remembrance act will also take place at Lány Chateau where the president spent much of his time.
Czechs are marking the centenary of the Battle of Zborov, where Czechoslovak legionaries joined the Kerensky Offensive, the last Russian offensive in WW I. From a global point of view this battle was a minor episode in the Great War and one in which the Russian forces were beaten. However it was a crucial moment for the future of the Czechoslovak legionaries, the Czechoslovak resistance and the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
When the Nazis razed the Czech village of Lidice to the ground and murdered its inhabitants in June 1942, it sparked horror and anger across the globe. One place where the atrocity struck a particularly deep cord was Stoke-on-Trent, an industrial city in England’s West Midlands. Within months, the local Labour politician Barnett Stross had founded Lidice Shall Live, an international campaign to raise money to rebuild the Czech village. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of Lidice’s obliteration, I discussed the powerful story of solidarity with
On the occasion of the anniversary of the end of WW II, I speak with well-known historian Matěj Spurný about the Sudeten Germans whose future in post-war Czechoslovakia was sealed when many lined up with Nazi Germany ahead of the Munich Agreement. Most of the ethnic German population was forced to leave – spelling the end of what had been a largely peaceful coexistence going all the way back to the 13th century.
The Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek as well as key public figures such as the Academy of Sciences’ Pavel Baran or sociologist Tereza Stöckelová presented a new project on Thursday entitled “Česko na cestě”, marking key dates in the country’s history next year. It will be 100 years, for example, since the founding of Czechoslovakia and 50 since the Soviet-led invasion in 1968. The aim is to discuss key moments that changed the country, in good times and bad.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia will unite next year to celebrate two major anniversaries: 100 years since the foundation of Czechoslovakia and the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Prague Spring and its subsequent crushing by Soviet-led forces. The celebrations are set to be bigger than ever, with nearly 200 events scheduled to take place over the course of the year.
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