One of the most dramatic - but least known - events in Czechoslovak Radio’s history dates back to September 21 1938. This was the day that the government announced that it was willing to succumb to German pressure, and would give up large areas of the country’s borderlands to Nazi Germany. By this time it was clear that Britain and France would not be willing to fight for Czechoslovakia’s territorial integrity, and that to say no would mean invasion. The announcement sent a shockwave through Czech society, and immediately thousands took to the
Jiří Josef Kamel was a botanist and missionary born in Brno in 1661. When he was 26, he was sent to the Philippines by the Jesuits to spread God’s word, but it seems that he spent most of his time rooting-out and documenting the islands’ weird and wonderful flora. To commemorate all that he did for botany, one of the prettiest and best-known species of flower has been named in his honour…
It’s twenty years since a group of anti-communist dissidents took the brave decision to revive the newspaper Lidové Noviny, once the spiritual home of the Czech nation’s most eminent journalists and essayists. The dissidents were searching for a way of getting uncensored news and views to a wider audience. For two years, from January 1988 until December 1989, they distributed a monthly “samizdat” version of Lidové Noviny, until the paper was revived as a regular daily in January 1990. An archive of those samizdat editions has now been put
This week we continue our look into the dramatic events in Czechoslovakia just before World War Two. By the summer of 1938, Hitler’s Germany was demanding nothing less than the immediate annexation of the entire Sudetenland – all parts of Bohemia and Moravia with a German speaking majority. The Sudeten German Party had made big gains among German speakers in local elections earlier that year, and the Nazi rhetoric of their leaders was unambiguous.
April 26th, 1986, is a day that will live in infamy. When Reactor Number Four at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, the resulting fire left a cloud of radiation hanging over Europe. Chernobyl was the world’s worst nuclear disaster, but ten years earlier, there was an accident at a similar Soviet-built reactor – this time in Czechoslovakia - that could have been equally devastating, had it not been for the actions of two men. For years the case was shrouded in secrecy. Only now has the story come to light.
It’s not everyday that archaeologists can boast a discovery such as this one: the finding of a fully-intact archaeological site dating back 4,500 years. That is exactly what happened in the pyramid fields of Abusir, Egypt, where Czech experts recently opened a tomb belonging to an Egyptian dignitary. Czech experts revealed the news just a few days ago, having first thoroughly documented the state of the chamber back in November. According to experts, such a find has not been seen in 50 years.
January 6, or Three Kings Day, is often thought of as the end of the Christmas period. It is less well known as one of the anniversaries of Czechoslovak independence – that is more commonly celebrated on October 28. But, on January 6 some 90 years ago, Czech politicians unanimously signed a declaration, calling for a united Czechoslovakia, free from Habsburg rule. While the Habsburg monarchy stepped in and censored the document, some historians credit the so-called Three Kings Declaration with getting the ball rolling towards Czechoslovak independence.
In the last couple of weeks we have looked at the growing tensions in Czechoslovakia in the second half of the 1930s, as pressure from Nazi Germany grew. The period leading up to the Munich Agreement in September 1938, when Britain and France gave Hitler the green light to annex vast areas of Czechoslovakia, is extremely well documented in the Czech Radio archives. The archives also reveal that this was one of the first international diplomatic crises to be played out on the airwaves. Through radio, the Munich crisis became a battle of international
Welcome to Radio Prague’s special New Year’s Day programme dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic. The country now celebrates two foundation days – October 28 in memory of the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and January 1. On that day in 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries – Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The latter anniversary seems to be rather less celebrated, as if it had happened by coincidence. To discuss the achievements and the losses, the victories and the defeats of the 15-year-old