At the beginning of this series we heard the voice of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The Masaryk family included several remarkable women, who were also to play their part in 20th century Czech history. Tomáš’s wife Charlotte was American, born in New York in 1850. When the couple married in Brooklyn in 1878, he took on her surname Garrigue as part of his own name, as a gesture of respect. Charlotte went on to devote her life to all things Czech, and she was every bit as energetic in her defence of women’s rights, winning
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
How did communist propaganda brainwash people? What were the most frequent words used in the communist press? And was it at all possible to learn any real news from the censored newspapers? These are some of the questions a team of Czech linguists is trying to answer in their Dictionary of Communist Totalitarianism.
Many countries have had famous war animals, one remembered in Great Britain this year was Antis, an Alsatian belonging to Czech airman Václav Robert Bozděch. 60 years ago, in 1949, the animal was awarded the PDSA Dickin medal, the animals’ Victoria Cross, for bravery and outstanding service during World War II. The dog and his owner, part of a six-man crew, flew more than 30 bombing missions over occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, evading formidable German defences, always lucky to make it back. As his and his owner’s fame grew, Antis went from being
It was an unforgettable moment in the history of Czech sport. In the 49th minute Petr Svoboda scored the winning goal against Russia in the ice hockey final of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan. The game was commentated live by Czech Radio’s Aleš Procházka, and his ecstatic cry of “Goal!” is probably the best known sports recording in our archive. The Czechs had won gold in what some had dubbed the “tournament of the century”, packed as it was with top NHL players.
Each of Prague’s quarters contributes to its famous diversity in its own way and offers a completely different experience. In today’s Spotlight we want to introduce you to a part of Prague that is a keystone for modern Czech cultural life, aptly dubbed by its inhabitants the “Independent Republic of Žižkov”.
The Hittites Empire dominated a swath of the Near East for some 600 years in ancient times. It was a vastly precocious civilisation with better tools, more modern methods of warfare, and the newfangled commodity of iron. As is the way with empires however, the Hittites collapsed and all that the great trading civilisation had recorded of its world was left in oblivion until a Czech orientalist deciphered their forgotten language and became the first to hear their words in 3000 years. This week’s Czechs in History by Christian Falvey is devoted to
Internationally the Czech writer Karel Čapek is best known as the inventor of the term “robot” in his 1920 play R.U.R. With his novels, stories and plays combining humour, satire and a strong humanist vision, Karel Čapek was hugely popular in pre-war Czechoslovakia. But this was a time when Hitler’s Germany was casting a dark shadow over Central Europe and it is hardly surprising that one of the few recordings of Čapek in our archives - speaking on Christmas Eve 1937 - does not bear a cheerful message.
Today in Mailbox: Some more reactions to the end of shortwave broadcasts, "propaganda" on Radio Prague, last month's mystery Czech and a brand new quiz question. Listeners quoted: Mohamed Elsayed Abd Elraheim, Jim Mickeal, Richard Howard, Mogire Machuki, David Eldridge, Michael A. Daley, Bob Boundy, Hiroyuki Okada, Hans Verner Lollike, Colin Law, Charles Konecny.