The six months leading up to the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939 were a strange period. After Germany, Poland and Hungary had annexed over a quarter of the country’s territory as a result of the Munich Agreement in September 1938, it was hard to see how the rump Czechoslovakia – the so-called “Second Republic” - could keep going. But Radio Prague’s shortwave broadcasts continued, and not surprisingly they focused on sustaining the much shaken international confidence in the country. Here is the famous Czech professor and scholar
We have heard plenty in recent weeks from the two candidates in this year’s Czech presidential elections. But what about their predecessors? The Czech Republic and previously Czechoslovakia have had ten presidents since 1918 when Czechoslovakia was founded, and in this programme we let some of them speak for themselves through Czech Radio’s archives.
In recent weeks, I’ve tried to capture something of the tense atmosphere of the time leading up to the Munich Agreement of September 30 1938, when the British and French Prime Ministers Chamberlain and Daladier allowed Hitler to carve up Czechoslovakia and march unopposed into the Sudetenland. The agreement left the country as a fragment of its former self; not only Germany, but also Hungary and Poland, claimed large chunks of Czechoslovakia’s borderlands. Here is how Radio Prague reported on the final border agreement, reached some weeks after
We quite often hear it said that in the run-up to World War Two, no-one quite realized the scale of the threat that Nazi Germany posed in Europe. When Hitler set his eyes on Czechoslovakia, there were plenty of politicians in Western Europe who really seemed to believe him, when he said that the Czech borderlands, the so-called Sudetenland, were his “last territorial claim”. But Czech Radio’s archives show clearly that here in Prague there were also plenty of people who were only too aware of the worldwide menace that Hitler posed. As Britain and
Years before becoming one of the worst mass murderers of all time, Adolf Hitler struggled to make ends meet as an artist. Paradoxically, while the exact whereabouts of the German dictator's remains are uncertain, there is a busy trade today in the paintings he made in the early 1900s, which nobody was interested in buying at the time. Recently a watercolor purported to be by Adolf Hitler went on the auction block on a Czech website.
As the Second World War came to an end in 1945, numerous atrocities were committed in towns across Czechoslovakia, as the Czech people rose up against Nazi occupation. Investigations into the Nazi massacre which occurred in the final days of the war in Leskovice have revealed that those responsible for several of these crimes are still living in Germany today. Now, police have made a number of discoveries about another such slaughter in Velke Mezirici, which have brought detectives closer than ever before to finding out the truth about
Rob Cameron's guest on this week's One on One is the writer, film-maker and chairman of the Czech PEN club Jiri Stransky. Jiri Stransky's family was persecuted by both the Nazis and the Communists - Jiri himself was imprisoned by the Communists on two occasions for speaking out against the totalitarian regime. He's now involved in a project to teach schoolchildren about the injustices of Communism.
On the 28th of October, 1939, Czechoslovak Independence day, Czech students took to the streets to demonstrate against the Nazi occupation. The protest was brutally suppressed - with shots fired at random into the crowd. One student leader, Jan Opletal, was seriously wounded, and later succumbed to his injuries. Thousands turned out for his funeral procession, and protests again turned violent. Hitler ordered a swift and brutal clampdown. On the 17th of November, nine students, seen as the ringleaders, were executed and over a thousand were sent