Archive: History | First republic First republic

The occupation of 1939: could it have been avoided?

19-03-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Earlier this week we remembered the 72nd anniversary of the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15 1939. Much has been written about the years that led up to the occupation: the growing tensions with Czechoslovakia’s German speaking minority, Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and then the Munich Agreement of September 1938 that ceded a quarter of Czechoslovakia’s territory to the German Reich. There is a sense of inevitability about the events, but could things have been different and could Czechoslovakia’s President Edvard Beneš have played his cards differently?  More

The death of Czechoslovakia's "philosopher-king"

12-02-2011 02:01 | David Vaughan

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Lany, 1937 The first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk is remembered as the founding father of the country. It was he who from his exile in Britain and then America in the First World War negotiated the terms for an independent Czechoslovakia. When he died on 14th September 1937 at the grand old age of 87, the whole nation went into mourning. In sombre tones, Czechoslovak Radio broadcast the entire funeral. The five-hour event was the radio's first major outside broadcast, using a whole team of the star presenters of the time.  More

President Masaryk takes inspiration from George Washington

05-02-2011 | David Vaughan

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk Over the next six months we'll be looking at some of the most fascinating recordings to be found down in the Czech Radio basement. Czech - and previously Czechoslovak - Radio has been archiving its material since way back in the 1920s, and has built up one of the richest radio archives in the world, surviving war, invasion and even a German aerial torpedo in May 1945. We start the series with our very earliest recording, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, talking 79 years ago, on 28th October 1928. President Masaryk was born as far back as 1850, so the recording really is a bridge to another era.   More

Town marks 150th anniversary of birth of Czechoslovakia’s first prime minister

29-12-2010 16:04 | Jan Velinger

Karel Kramář The town of Vysoké nad Jizerou this week marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of notable Czech politician Karel Kramář. As an MP within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kramář fought for Czech national interests, leading to his arrest for treason by the Austrian authorities during World War I. He was tried and sentenced to death, galvanising Czech public opinion, and although the sentence was reduced to imprisonment, Kramář became a national hero. Eventually he was released as part of a general political amnesty in 1917. The flood of support pushed him further into the spotlight and he was named the first prime minister of the newly-founded Czechoslovakia a year later, on November 28, 1918.  More

Executing justice in the retributions after WWII

07-11-2010 02:01 | Chris Johnstone

Czechoslovakia was one of the first victims of the Nazis, with the march into the Sudetenland in I938 followed by the occupation of the rest of the country in March 1939 and an increasingly oppressive regime for most of the population. The backlash at the end of WWII was harsh and violent. And that backlash against the Nazi occupiers, Sudeten Germans and Czechs believed to have collaborated in some way is the subject of US historian Benjamin Frommer’s book “National Cleansing: Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia.”  More

The Czechoslovak legions: myth, reality, gold and glory

18-08-2010 11:28 | Chris Johnstone

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

Jaroslav Preiss: banking and business colossus of inter-war Czechoslovakia

21-07-2010 13:20 | Chris Johnstone

Jaroslav Preiss The name Jaroslav Preiss does not create many ripples when it is thrown out today. Perhaps one Czech in a hundred could identify who he was. But at the birth of Czechoslovakia and in the 1920s and 1930s, Preiss was an economic and business colossus and contributed to making the country into a major industrial player between the wars. Chris Johnstone looks at the life of the controversial figure.   More

Is a president allowed to slouch?

14-03-2010 02:01 | Daniela Lazarová

Last weekend Czechs marked the 160th anniversary of the birth of the co-founder of Czechoslovakia and the country’s first president T.G. Masaryk. Although Czechs fondly refer to him as “tatíček Masaryk” or papa Masaryk, there is no doubt at all that they have enormous respect for the statesman and philosopher who in 1918 laid the founding stone of a new state and gave Czechs and Slovaks their first lessons in democracy.   More

Hodonín preparing to celebrate 160th anniversary of birth of TG Masaryk

05-03-2010 15:41 | Ian Willoughby

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk This Sunday, March 7, marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of one of the absolute giants of Czech history, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The founder of Czechoslovakia and the state’s first president was born in Hodonín, and the south Moravian town is currently gearing up to celebrate the anniversary. To find out exactly how Hodonín will be honouring Masaryk on Sunday, I spoke to town hall spokesperson Petra Kotásková.   More

Exhibition at Prague Castle offers rare look into T.G. Masaryk’s private life

03-03-2010 16:42 | Jan Velinger

Photo: CTK A new exhibition which opened at Prague Castle on Tuesday is offering a rare glimpse into the private life of Czechoslovakia’s first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The display is part of a series of events marking the 160th anniversary of Masaryk’s birth on March 7, 1850.  More

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