Set up in 1936 primarily as a tool to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Radio Prague itself long served as a mouthpiece for communist propaganda. Since the 1990s however, the station is the only Czech public news service, providing information about the Czech Republic in six languages to audiences around the world. Marking Radio Prague’s 75th anniversary, the Czech-born, UK-based writer, and former Radio Prague reporter Benjamin Kuras and Radio Prague’s own David Vaughan discuss the most interesting moments in the station’s
Of course, Radio Prague would not have turned 75 if it wasn’t for our loyal listeners. We would like to thank you for your support and interest over the years, and for the many anniversary emails you have sent in. On the occasion of our 75th anniversary, we did something we usually don’t do – we called some of our listeners from around the world. Here’s one of them, Stan Schmidt. He listens to Radio Prague from Evansville, Indiana, in the United States.
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
Without question the town of Kutná Hora in central Bohemia is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Czech Republic, a town with a long and fascinating history. In the 13th and 14th centuries the site became increasingly famous for silver deposits which drew miners and production that would eventually account for as much as a third of all the silver production in Europe.
In November 1945, six months after the end of World War II, the units that had taken part in liberating Czechoslovakia began their official withdrawal. Various ceremonies were held, first on November 15, to say farewell to the Red Army troops, who had fought their way in bitter fighting through Slovakia all the way to Prague. Then a few days later, on November 20, the withdrawal began of the American units that had liberated Western Bohemia.
In the last few weeks Veronika Hyks has been reading from the memoirs of Jaroslava Skleničková, an extraordinary story of survival in war. We have now reached May 1945. After nearly three years in Ravensbrück, the women of Lidice are now free, although they still face the trauma of returning home to find that the village has been wiped off the map and that all their menfolk and nearly all their children are dead. David Vaughan introduces the eighth episode.
In last week’s From the Archives we heard about radio’s central role in the Prague Uprising against the German occupation at the end of World War II. Not only did the signal for the uprising to begin come over the air, but the radio also helped to co-ordinate the fighting. It also played a third role. At the time the Red Army was already approaching Prague from the east, and General Patton’s Third Army was in Plzeň just a few dozen kilometres to the west. Many of those fighting in the streets of Prague were untrained and had few weapons, and the
Ahead of the 43-year anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s invasion by the Soviet Union and her main allies on August 21, a new book offers a hitherto little explored perspective on this traumatic chapter of Czech history. Titled “Invasion 1968. The Russian View”, it explores Russians’ attitudes towards the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the trauma that some of the Soviet soldiers involved in it experienced in its wake. Sarah Borufka spoke to the editor, former Russian correspondent for Czech TV Josef Pazderka, about the Russian experience
On the edge of Prague’s Letná plain, overlooking the Vltava and the Old Town, stand several remarkable buildings from the Belle Époque when Prague was hoping to become the Paris of the East. One of these structures is the Hanau Pavilion, a church-like edifice of cast iron and bricks built to demonstrate the dynamic development of Bohemian industry. Today as in the past, its restaurant offers amazing views of the capital.
The death of Ctirad Mašín in the US on Saturday at the age of 81 has reignited debate in the Czech Republic over whether he and fellow anti-Communist fighters, who shot their way out of Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, were heroes or cold-blooded killers. While some see their escape as one of the most daring in Cold War history, others say they tarnished their moral integrity through their actions.