The 100th anniversary of the revolution bringing the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin to power in Russia is being marked with discussions and exhibitions in the Czech Republic. Although the events preceded the creation of a separate and independent Czechoslovakia around a year later, Czechs and Slovaks were very much caught up in what was happening.
A Czech delegation is in Ukraine to pay homage to the Czechoslovak legionaries who fought in the Battle of Zborov in WWI a century ago. The battle, where Czechoslovak legionaries joined the Kerensky Offensive, was a minor episode in the Great War, however it was a crucial moment for the future of the Czechoslovak legionaries, the Czechoslovak resistance and the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. The commemorative ceremony at Zborov is attended by representatives of the Czech Defense Ministry, the Union of Czechoslovak Legionaries and war veterans.
Czechs are marking the centenary of the Battle of Zborov, where Czechoslovak legionaries joined the Kerensky Offensive, the last Russian offensive in WW I. From a global point of view this battle was a minor episode in the Great War and one in which the Russian forces were beaten. However it was a crucial moment for the future of the Czechoslovak legionaries, the Czechoslovak resistance and the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.
In our last edition of Czech History we showcased the recently published book of US author Kevin J McNamara “Dreams of a Great Small Nation.” The book traces the emergence of an independent Czechoslovakia at the end of WWI and in particular the role played by the Czechoslovak legion fighting along the Siberian railway against the new and fragile Bolshevik regime. In this second part of an interview with the author, we examine how far the fighting helped to seal the creation of the new Czechoslovak nation and Mr. McNamara’s further research and involvement
‘Dreams of a Great Small Nation’ is a book by US scholar and historian Kevin J McNamara. It traces the circumstances surrounding the exploits of the Czechoslovak legion during WWI and in particular their takeover of the Trans-Siberian railway and most of Siberia in 1918. McNamara characterises the legion as “a mutinous army that Threatened a revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe.”
A Czech delegation led by the Deputy Speaker of the lower house of Parliament Petr Gazdik was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for over four hours on Thursday morning for no obvious reason, the ctk news agency reports. The delegation which arrived on a government plane and was not allowed to re-board the aircraft included defense ministry officials and members of the Czechoslovak Association of Legionaries. It was bound for Ulyanovsk where they were to unveil a memorial to Czechoslovak legionaries. Mr. Gazdik said they had been given no explanation for why they were being held up and described it as a serious diplomatic incident. The Czech embassy in Moscow has sent the Russian authorities a protest note. The delegation was allowed to continue on its way shortly after mid-day.
A unique exhibition of photographs of Czechoslovak legionnaires returning from Russia in 1919 has opened at the YMCA Palace in central Prague. The 50 or so pictures are the work of legionnaire Václav Balcar, who was among the soldiers as they crossed Asia and America. The exhibition The Path from War, which was prepared by the photographer’s grandson Vladimír Balcar, runs until July 15.
An event to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Czechoslovak Legions is held at the gardens of Prague’s Czernin Palace, the seat of the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry, on Sunday. Visitors can see several exhibitions on the history of the legions and hear a concert performed by the Castle Guard and Czech Police Band.
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.