President Miloš Zeman marked the anniversary of the end of World War II
with a wreath-laying ceremony on Wednesday at the National Monument on
Vítkov hill in Prague attended by Czech veterans.
Among the state officials and politicians in attendance were Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Senate chairman Jaroslav Kubera and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, along with military figures such as Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar and Chief of General Staff Aleš Opata.
A pair of Gripen fighter jets flew over Vítkov ahead of the ceremony. The commemorative act was followed by a minute of silence for the fallen.
Paris, Lviv and Prague, over a thousand miles apart yet connected by the fact that they all initiated successful uprisings against their German occupiers during World War II. The Czech capital was the last of the three to do so, but the action arguably preserved the city’s beauty and led to a battle the Czech nation, previously starved of an opportunity to fight, needed. On the date famously named by Winston Churchill as Victory in Europe day, we take the opportunity to explore the story behind the Prague Uprising.
Celebrations marking the liberation of Plzeň by General Patton’s Army on May 6th 1945 took place in the West Bohemian city at the weekend. Despite the cold, thousands of people lined the streets of the city to greet the war veterans who rode at the head of the Convoy of Liberty organized in remembrance of the event.
Political leaders as well as members of the public gathered outside Czech
Radio’s Prague headquarter on Sunday to mark the 74th anniversary of the
Prague Uprising against Nazi rule at the end of WWII.
The radio station was the focal point of the uprising and the site of one of the biggest clashes with Nazi forces as citizens came to defend the building against German attempts to retake it.
Around 170 people died defending the radio building and hundreds of others fell at the barricades that went up around Prague. Altogether, over ten thousand people were killed around the country. The commemorative ceremony outside Czech Radio was attended by the Speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, members of the Union of Freedom Fighters and others.
In 1946 a secret American operation in Czechoslovakia led to major diplomatic protests. The US authorities had organized a mission aimed at obtaining hidden Nazi documents from a cache in a forest near Prague. However, they had not alerted the Czechoslovak authorities or sought permission – and that led to a real propaganda coup for the country’s pro-Soviet Communist politicians and press.
With the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement coming soon, Tom McEnchroe focused on the Czech side of Munich. Talking to the deputy director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Ondřej Matějka, about what it was like to live in the region that lay at the heart of the conflict, as well as how Munich is remembered in the Czech Republic today.
In the late summer of 1938, the fate of the Czechoslovak Republic was being decided. The Sudeten German-speaking minority wanted to split from the country and join Nazi Germany. Hitler threatened war on Czechoslovakia if their demands were not met. Britain and France were bound by treaties to help the Czechs but wanted desperately to avoid the war. So, they sent a special envoy to the country – Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount of Doxford, in short, Lord Runciman. Vít Pohanka found an episodic but fascinating story connected with Lord Runciman’s historic
The razing to the ground of the village of Ležáky in Eastern Bohemia and
the murder of the local community by the Nazis was remembered on Sunday, 76
years after those terrible events took place. Hundreds of people attended a
memorial at the spot where the atrocities occurred.
Among those who spoke at the ceremony was Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who highlighted the importance of the EU and NATO in safeguarding peace in Europe.
Some 33 residents of Ležáky were executed by the Nazis on 24 June 1942 as part of reprisals for the assassination of governor Reinhard Hedyrich. A similar fate had earlier befallen the village of Lidice near Prague.