January 6, or Three Kings Day, is often thought of as the end of the Christmas period. It is less well known as one of the anniversaries of Czechoslovak independence – that is more commonly celebrated on October 28. But, on January 6 some 90 years ago, Czech politicians unanimously signed a declaration, calling for a united Czechoslovakia, free from Habsburg rule. While the Habsburg monarchy stepped in and censored the document, some historians credit the so-called Three Kings Declaration with getting the ball rolling towards Czechoslovak independence.
In the last couple of weeks we have looked at the growing tensions in Czechoslovakia in the second half of the 1930s, as pressure from Nazi Germany grew. The period leading up to the Munich Agreement in September 1938, when Britain and France gave Hitler the green light to annex vast areas of Czechoslovakia, is extremely well documented in the Czech Radio archives. The archives also reveal that this was one of the first international diplomatic crises to be played out on the airwaves. Through radio, the Munich crisis became a battle of international
Welcome to Radio Prague’s special New Year’s Day programme dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic. The country now celebrates two foundation days – October 28 in memory of the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and January 1. On that day in 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries – Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The latter anniversary seems to be rather less celebrated, as if it had happened by coincidence. To discuss the achievements and the losses, the victories and the defeats of the 15-year-old
The head of the Czech communist party Vojtech Filip and communist MEP Miloslav Randsorf have contributed financially to a planned memorial to Milada Horakova, a Czech politician executed by the Czechoslovak communist regime in 1950. The corner stone of the monument was laid on Tuesday near Prague’s Pankrac prison where Milada Horakova and other political prisoners were executed.
It was exactly seventy years ago this week, at 11 pm on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve in 1937, that Czechoslovak Radio attempted a fascinating radio experiment. A radio bridge was set up to bind three continents – reaching India in the east, and across the Atlantic to the United States in the west. The Czech writer, Karel Capek and the inventor of the arc-lamp, the 90-year old Frantisek Krizik, exchanged messages of goodwill for the coming year with Albert Einstein in Princeton and with the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore in Bengal. The
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the Archbishop of Prague, is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. Under the previous regime, he clashed repeatedly with the communist authorities, who for many years denied him authorization to exercise his ministry. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who is 75, has led the Czech Catholic Church since 1991, in what has been a period of transition – and coming to terms with its actions under the totalitarian regime. He has engaged in many disputes with the Czech state over a number of problems, most notably the
“Hello, hello! Prague, Czechoslovakia calling. Good evening ladies and gentlemen”: Radio Prague welcomes listeners to its English programmes back in 1937. The tone may be a little more formal, but it is not so different from today. Yet much has changed since the troubled times of the later 1930s. Nazi Germany was breathing down Czechoslovakia’s neck and tensions in the mainly German-speaking Sudetenland were rising rapidly. The young British historian Hugh Seton Watson was in Czechoslovakia in September that year, attending an international summer
At the beginning of this series we heard the voice of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. The Masaryk family included several remarkable women, who were also to play their part in 20th century Czech history. Tomas’s wife Charlotte was American, born in New York in 1850. When the couple married in Brooklyn in 1878, out of respect he took on her surname Garrigue as part of his own name. 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 her husband
They fought against the Nazis but were treated as enemies in Czechoslovakia after the war: that is the starting point for “Forgotten Heroes” a travelling exhibition in the Czech Republic mapping the story of ethnic Sudeten Germans who fought against the Nazis. Despite their resistance to Hitler in World War II, many still suffered persecution in Czechoslovakia after the end of the war.