1918 – The Thirty-fivers

Karel Hašler, photo: Public DomainKarel Hašler, photo: Public Domain We start with 1918, the year marking the birth of the Czechoslovak Republic. That, however, was not until October. In January, people were experiencing the last, but for many of them endless months of World War I.

At home, in the shadow of the fighting, there is hunger. People stand in endless queues for bread, milk or at least a small bit of meat – saddened by the news of those who have fallen somewhere on the Russian or Italian fronts. And far away in the trenches is the same hunger, cold and dull despair. Some units and individuals have managed to make it to the other side, and thus emerged the already famous Czechoslovak legions.

On January 6th, the Czech members of the Austrian Imperial Council released the Three Kings Declaration calling for the joint autonomy of Czechs and Slovaks within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On October 18th, the Washington Declaration was issued in Paris, in which members of the exiled government, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Edvard Beneš, proclaimed the independence of the Czechoslovak nation. On October 28th, the Czechoslovak National Committee announced the establishment of Czechoslovakia. This day marks the creation of a separate Czechoslovak state.

From in this atmosphere comes one of the legends of Czech culture Karel Hašler, at that time an extremely popular actor and director, but mainly known as a singer and songwriter for his military song "Pětatřicátníci" or "Thirty-fivers". It is dedicated to the famous 35th Pilsen marching regiment, which always brought honor to the Czech military, and after 1918 significantly helped to defend the independence and borders of the newly emerging Czechoslovakia. The regimental flag read – WE WILL ENDURE, UNTIL WE ARE VICTORIOUS. It led the soldiers not only away from the Czechoslovak lands, but also in battles back at home. However, it was not always successful, and during the fighting on the Russian and Italian fronts many "thirty-fivers have lost their lives". It is even mentioned in the third verse of Hašler's song: "The Pilsen Regiment, heaven, god, sacrament, to the north, where the water runs, laying buried in the ground, the wind murmuring a song over their heads…"

A song about boys like flowers who know no fear, composed and sung in 1918 by Karel Hašler. Since then it has been re-done many times. It even became the anthem of Pilsen hockey team.

 

This year marks the centenary of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak Republic. It was a period of great historical upheaval, breakthroughs and economic changes. However, over the past decades the Czechs, or the Czechoslovaks, have also had fun dancing, singing and enjoying entertainment. Even this will be recalled in our broadcast. And to make it fun for you, our supporters, we come to you with a poll. Vote for the hit of the century! Choose the nicest Czech song from the past one hundred years.

Each weekday, on our website and in our broadcast, we will gradually introduce you to a total of one hundred songs that made a mark in the history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. They became popular and played an important role in some key moments, becoming protest songs or topping the hit parade. In our weekend music specials we will offer you a summary of the songs played that week and vote for the best one.

 

Hit of the Century – Voting Rules

Each Sunday, participants will be able to vote in our new series Hit of the Century, covering 100 years of music in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Each episode will feature five hit songs, by decade, beginning with 1918 – 1928. After 100 songs are broadcast, two semi-finals will decide the top hits from the period of 1918 – 1968 and from 1968 – 2018.

Six songs will reach the final, in which listeners will choose a single winner: the most popular Czech song of the century,

Ten participants will receive CDs of the most successful songs recorded in a new musical arrangement on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia in October of 1918.

Each Sunday, participants will be able to vote in our new series Hit of the Century, covering 100 years of music in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. (More)