Retired US astronaut Eugene Cernan is one of only three people to have landed on the moon twice. In fact, he is the last human being to have walked on the moon: as commander of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, he was the last astronaut to re-enter the Apollo Lunar Module before the crew returned to Earth. As the name might suggest, Mr Cernan is of Czechoslovak descent. Indeed, he carried Czechoslovakia’s flag with him on his final space flight. He told me why:
You might not recognise the name straight away, but Antonín Josef Čermák - a miner’s son from Kladno, Central Bohemia - is one of the most famous Czech-Americans to have ever lived. Anton (or Tony) Cermak became mayor of Chicago at the height of prohibition, overhauled Democratic Party politics in the city, and was then assassinated in the most mysterious of circumstances. All quite dramatic for someone who started his career selling firewood…
The Czech Republic currently, for the first time ever, has good relations with all of its neighbours – with perhaps one exception. Relations between Czechs and Austrians, hampered by a feud over the Temelín nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia, sank to a historic low in the 1990s, and are only slowly improving. In this edition of One on One, we speak to Přemysl Janýr, the Vienna-based chairman of the Forum for Czech-Austrian Dialogue.
When Nazi Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, many Czech and Slovak professional soldiers and airmen decided to escape from the country, rather than hand over arms to the Germans. Six months later war broke out and many of them joined the French armed forces. When France was occupied, they escaped to Britain. This was how the Royal Air Force’s 310 and 312 Czechoslovak Fighter Squadrons came to be set up in July and August 1940, and they went on to play an important role in the Battle of Britain. They were also joined by the 311
Today we will finally reveal the name (or rather names) of May’s mystery person(s) and announce the names of the four of you who will get Radio Prague goodies for their correct answers. We quote from entries sent by: Panha Pen, Colin Law, David Eldridge, Mani Sankar Chhatri, Mogire Machuki, Elder S J Agboola, Anne Faust, Hans Verner Lollike, Krzysztof Borski, Li Ming, Charles Konecny, Brian Kendall.
We ended the last series of From the Archives at one of the darkest moments in Czech history, when on June 10 1942 the Nazis destroyed the village of Lidice. This was a cruel and arbitrary retribution for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the so-called Reichsprotektor of occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Many people had given shelter to the Czechoslovak patriots parachuted from London to carry out the assassination, and the Nazis took extreme measures to cow the Czech nation into submission.
Veterans, military personnel and politicians turned out on Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination. After 66 years, the two British-trained Czechoslovak paratroopers who carried out the killing were dedicated a monument at the site where the daring assassination took place. But what took so long?
Czechoslovakia was the last communist country of Central and Eastern Europe to host Soviet troops during the Cold War. They arrived in 1968 as “brotherly assistance” to help keep the communist hardliners in power, and they stayed until the fall of communism 19 years later. One of the top secrets of the military command was the fact that the Soviets deployed nuclear warheads on Czechoslovak territory.