World War I (1914-1918)

This year marks the centenary of the start of World War I, which claimed the lives of 17 million soldiers and civilians. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914 triggered a diplomatic crisis. Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia and international alliances formed in previous decades came into play. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict later spread around the world. We examine some of the events played out in Bohemia and Moravia ahead of the war and the role of the Czechs who fought on the side of the monarchy and those who formed national units to fight on the Allied side. We look at a war that shook the world at the start of the 20th century and led to the birth of independent Czechoslovakia.

 

Clam-Gallas family correspondence provides moving testimony of the two world wars – Part I

Chris Kelly is the granddaughter of Edina Winkelbauer, nee Clam-Gallas (1889-1970), a member of the old nobility who was a nurse with the Knights of Malta on the Italian front in WW I. On her mother's death Chris Kelly inherited a collection of more than 500 letters – correspondence between members of her family during World War I and World War II. The letters her grandmother sent from the front and others exchanged by family members during World War II are a moving document of the times and reveal how the wars changed her family’s fortunes and impacted the lives of her ancestors. In an interview for Czech Radio Chris Kelly explains how much insight she gained through this precious family legacy. More...

 

One hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War marked

July 28th marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War which later came to be known as World War I. On this date in 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia – exactly a month the Austrian heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, and his Czech wife Sofie Chotek were assassinated in Sarajevo. The conflict would eventually draw in Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain and other nations. More...

 

Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s Czech Connections: Part 2

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek before the assassinationArchduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek before the assassination In the second of our series looking at the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, we follow the continuing Bohemian connections on the eve of the fateful Sarajevo assassination and afterwards. These include the fateful wrong turn in the city by the archduke’s driver, the sentence served by the assassin, and the bullet that soon caused so many deaths and injuries. More...

 

Many Czech WWI graves neglected, says member of history buffs’ group

Photo: archive of Štěpánka BudkováPhoto: archive of Štěpánka Budková A hundred years ago, the world was about to be plunged into a conflict whose impact can still be felt today in many parts of the globe. Indeed, the creation of independent Czechoslovakia was only made possible by the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, around one million Czechs fought in World War I in Austro-Hungarian uniforms, and tens of thousands died on a broad stretch of territory from northern Italy to Ukraine and Poland. One of the country’s leading experts in this field is Radim Kapavík of Signum Belli 1914, a Brno-based military history club which researches and documents the graves of Czech soldiers killed in the Great War. More...

 

Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s Czech connections

Photo: CTPhoto: CT Heir to the imperial throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand is best known for his assassination in Sarajevo which set in train the events which led to the First World War. Lesser known are his special connections with Bohemia and Moravia and his plans for shaking up the whole empire which might have forestalled Czechoslovak independence. More...

 

Czechs on the decks of their Majesty’s navy – exhibit sheds light on Czech sailors’ life at sea

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country, and as such, life at sea is not the first thing that comes to mind. But before and during World War I, many sailors from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia served for the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the Imperial and Royal War Navy. An exhibition currently on in the Roudnice nad Labem town museum explores this relatively obscure chapter of Czech history. More...

 

The Czechoslovak legions: myth, reality, gold and glory

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. More...

 

You will find more interesting reports relating to the World War I anniversary on Radio Prague’s website in:

Czech: První světová válka
French: Première Guerre mondiale
German: Erster Weltkrieg
Russian: Первая мировая война
Spanish: Primera Guerra Mundial

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)