At the beginning of this series we heard the voice of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The Masaryk family included several remarkable women, who were also to play their part in 20th century Czech history. Tomáš’s wife Charlotte was American, born in New York in 1850. When the couple married in Brooklyn in 1878, he took on her surname Garrigue as part of his own name, as a gesture of respect. Charlotte went on to devote her life to all things Czech, and she was every bit as energetic in her defence of women’s rights, winning
Earlier this week we remembered the 72nd anniversary of the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15 1939. Much has been written about the years that led up to the occupation: the growing tensions with Czechoslovakia’s German speaking minority, Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and then the Munich Agreement of September 1938 that ceded a quarter of Czechoslovakia’s territory to the German Reich. There is a sense of inevitability about the events, but could things have been different and could Czechoslovakia’s President Edvard Beneš have
The first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk is remembered as the founding father of the country. It was he who from his exile in Britain and then America in the First World War negotiated the terms for an independent Czechoslovakia. When he died on 14th September 1937 at the grand old age of 87, the whole nation went into mourning. In sombre tones, Czechoslovak Radio broadcast the entire funeral. The five-hour event was the radio's first major outside broadcast, using a whole team of the star presenters of the time.
Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born
The town of Vysoké nad Jizerou this week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of notable Czech politician Karel Kramář. As an MP within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kramář fought for Czech national interests, leading to his arrest for treason by the Austrian authorities during World War I. He was tried and sentenced to death, galvanising Czech public opinion, and although the sentence was reduced to imprisonment, Kramář became a national hero. Eventually he was released as part of a general political amnesty in 1917. The flood of support pushed
Czechoslovakia was one of the first victims of the Nazis, with the march into the Sudetenland in I938 followed by the occupation of the rest of the country in March 1939 and an increasingly oppressive regime for most of the population. The backlash at the end of WWII was harsh and violent. And that backlash against the Nazi occupiers, Sudeten Germans and Czechs believed to have collaborated in some way is the subject of US historian Benjamin Frommer’s book “National Cleansing: Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia.”
The Czechoslovak legions occupy an almost legendary place in Czech history. They comprise the armed forces that fought during and after World War I on the allied side in pursuit of an independent Czechoslovakia. The biggest force, and most potent myths, centre on the Russian force, which became embroiled in the civil war, spending three years and travelling thousands of miles before returning home. We look at the myths and facts about their exploits.
Sixty-five years ago on August 2, the Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš published the Beneš decrees, one of the most important and most controversial chapters in Czech history. The Beneš decrees declared that German and Hungarian minorities living in Czechoslovakia were to be stripped of their Czechoslovak citizenship if they had acquired German or Hungarian citizenship. Historians believe that those decrees furnished the basis for the expulsion of some three million Germans and 80,000 Hungarians from Czechoslovak lands in the 1940s. After the Velvet Revolution, the Beneš decrees became a frequent topic of discussion in Czech-German and Czech-Austrian relations. In 1997, the Czech Republic and Germany signed the Czech-German declaration of mutual relations. Both countries apologized for the wrong they had done and pledged to respect each others’ legitimacy.
The name Jaroslav Preiss does not create many ripples when it is thrown out today. Perhaps one Czech in a hundred could identify who he was. But at the birth of Czechoslovakia and in the 1920s and 1930s, Preiss was an economic and business colossus and contributed to making the country into a major industrial player between the wars. Chris Johnstone looks at the life of the controversial figure.
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Wide range of events in store for Czechs this weekend as 30-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution reaches climax
Hundreds of thousands again gather in Prague to voice their opposition to prime minister
Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia ahead of model’s 60th anniversary
Shabby pub profits from nostalgia