In the immediate aftermath of the political coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the communists were keen to give the world the impression that it was business as usual and that nothing out of the ordinary had happened. In this respect Radio Prague as the international service of Czechoslovak Radio was expected to play its part, and so the communists asked the handful of British nationals working for one of Czechoslovakia’s biggest companies to make a statement in English for the radio. As a result one of the British staff of the shoe-making
For this week’s Czechs in History I’ve brought you somewhere rather special – one of my favourite places in the Czech Republic – Český Dub. And I’m sitting here at about 10 at night, exhausted after a hard week’s work, just about to go to sleep in the local museum, which is all rather scary and exciting because there are things like suits of armour downstairs, which I am hoping won’t come to life when I switch the lights out. And I owe this visit here to the fact that, tomorrow morning, I have a meeting with museum’s curator, Tomáš Edel, who is
One of the finest pieces of military technology that this country has ever developed is finally being returned to the Czech Republic, after an absence of over sixty years. The LT-35 tank was used by the Nazis during World War II after they invaded Bohemia and Moravia. After the war, the light-weight, heavy-duty vehicle was transported to America, where more of its design secrets were revealed. One of the few remaining examples of the tank could be back on Czech soil by early next month.
The launch has just taken place in Prague of the Czech version of a novel looking at the Munich Agreement of 1938, when the UK and France gave the Nazis free reign to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. Written by Georges-Marc Benamou, The Ghost of Munich tells the story of the Munich conference from the point of view of the then French prime minister. The book looks set to be made into a film, directed by Miloš Forman and written by Václav Havel.
The Maharal Institute, a new Jewish studies centre dedicated to the 16th century rabbi, philosopher and scholar Yehuda Loew, opened in Prague on Thursday. Founded by the Prague Chabad Centre, the Institute aims to spread the legacy and the teaching of the great rabbi Loew, a legendary figure in the history of the Czech capital.
In a tent at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, a month-long project is has just got underway looking at the square both past and future. Prague’s main thoroughfare is set to be developed and changed in the coming years, with planners hoping to do away with the rather shabby image it has developed. The exhibition opened with a display of photographs by the renowned Czech photojournalist Vilém Kropp.
In last week’s programme we heard about the Communist-led government that emerged from Czechoslovakia’s elections in May 1946. Although the number of parties allowed to take part had been limited, Czechoslovakia was still a multi-party democracy. But the governing coalition was an uneasy one, with the non-communist parties pushed into ever greater isolation, while the communists, with the weight of the Soviet Union behind them, gained an ever stronger foothold.
Today the Czech company Tatra is known for making trucks. But in the past it made cars, including some of the all-time classic Czech automobiles. As part of a plan to bring back some of its classic cars, Tatra had the novel idea of allowing the public to vote on which should be revived. The outcome of the poll has just been announced, and the winner is the aerodynamic Tatra T87, as driven by the great Czech explorers Hanzelka and Zikmund.
Since 1884, the Zátka Brothers’s plant in Boršov nad Vltavou, just south of České Budějovice in southern Bohemia, has been producing noodles, spaghetti, macaroni and other types of pasta. The small factory on the bank of the Vltava River, survived two world wars as well as totalitarianism, and is one of the few remaining witnesses to efforts by the first wave of Czech industrialists. In this edition of Panorama, we take a tour of the oldest Czech pasta plant.
A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) was one of the best-known and most influential British historians of the 20th century. He is remembered in particular for his provocative left-wing political views and his conviction that German history made the country uniquely inclined towards aggression and expansionism. This made him an ardent opponent of attempts to rebuild Germany’s economy after the war, and a strong supporter of Czechoslovakia’s growing alliance with the Soviet Union. In July 1946, just after elections which saw the Communists emerge as the strongest single