“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’” The unforgettable words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., delivered on August 28 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The speech, addressed to a crowd of a quarter of a million, was a defining moment in the American civil rights movement, and its echoes reached as far as communist Eastern Europe. In Czechoslovakia the civil rights movement had already aroused
A rare collection of stamps bearing the likeness of French Emperor Napoleon has gone on exhibit at the Slavkov (or Austerlitz) Chateau on the anniversary of the Battle of the Three Emperors. In 1805 Napoleon routed Russian and Austrian forces at Austerlitz, cementing what is regarded as Napoleon’s greatest triumph. The collection, which features some 1,000 stamps from around the world, was bought by the chateau following the death of the collection’s original owner.
Martin Brown is an English historian with a particular interest in twentieth century Czechoslovak history. His mother is Czech and he speaks both languages fluently, enabling him to move effortlessly between sources in both Czech and English. Martin was recently in Prague for the launch of the Czech version of his appraised study of the Czechoslovak government in exile in London during the Second World War. The book “Dealing with Democrats”, published by Peter Lang, is anything but a dry study of diplomatic history. Instead it offers intriguing
The Story of Prague Castle is a permanent exhibition at Prague’s most famous site, covering its magnificent thousand-year history – from its architecture to the lives of the Czech kings. But, this week, a new small exhibit was added, one that will be of most interest to those passionate about jewelry. Around 30 items in gold and silver, dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries, in other words the early medieval period, have been put on display.
The first of some 4,500 remains of German soldiers and several hundred civilians, who died on Czech territory during the Second World War, were buried in the west Bohemian town of Cheb last week. The local cemetery will become the last of several German military burial grounds in the Czech Republic. For some this is a sign of true reconciliation but others feel that the soldiers, who once invaded Czechoslovakia on Hitler’s command, should not be buried in Czech soil.
The early 1960s saw dramatic developments in the Cold War, with the building of the Berlin Wall and then the brinkmanship of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But there were also signs of a greater pragmatism in East-West relations. One channel for dialogue was a series of international gatherings, where scholars and public figures discussed how to reduce the risk of armed conflict. These were known as the Pugwash Conferences, named after the town in Canada where the idea was first launched back in 1957. In September 1964, one such conference was held
Czechs on Monday marked 19 years since the fall of communism and the return of freedom and democracy to their country. It was a day of remembrance but more than ever before it was overshadowed by present-day concerns such as the Communists’ return to power in regional government and the siting of a US radar on Czech territory.
Czech-born British author and journalist Benjamin Kuras was one of many expatriates who witnessed the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia from abroad. Ahead of autumn 1989, he and colleagues at the BBC’s Czech section regularly speculated over when change would finally come. But when it happened in the days and months after November 17, the developments presented a new dilemma for those who had left in 1968 or earlier. New questions came to the fore such as when to visit, whether to go back at all, and if so, how to tackle one’s “ghosts”. In this