Sunday, October 28, 2007

Czechoslovakia born 89 years ago

Czechoslovakia was born 89 years ago. The country that we call "The First Republic" (1918-1938), an island of democracy, music, and prosperity in the sea of emerging totalitarian regimes was created on the recycled material of the beloved Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, k.u.k.

Figure 1: Yes, this 1928 map also includes Ruthenia in the East, an underdeveloped multinational territory that chose to join the Soviet Union in a referendum after the war (not a smart move). I remember a small demonstration on the Prague's Wenceslaus Square of people from Ruthenia back in 1992. They wanted to join Czechoslovakia again. Because it was a few months before the Velvet Divorce, they were not able to explain us what they wanted to do with Slovakia in between us. ;-)

Incidentally, we use the term "The Second Republic" for the period with the reduced territory after the Sudetenland was merged with the Third Reich following the Munich Betrayal, 1938-1939. "The Third Republic" was restored after the war; a short democratic period, 1945-1948, was stopped by the communist coup in February 1948, the so-called "victorious February" as we learned it at school. ;-)

The only other three additional political events you should know are the Prague Spring of 1968, a period of democracy killed by foreign communist tanks, the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and the Velvet Divorce at the end of 1992.

To summarize, the Czech Republic celebrates its national holiday. We played some floorball and saw ice-hockey. HC Lasselsberger Pilsen defeated HC Slav Ústí Lions, 5:2.

You may see what I wrote one year ago.

Incidentally, let me mention a story that shows what real Nazism looks like. Czech neo-Nazis wanted to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht, the night of broken glass, a major pogrom against the Jews in Greater Germany, November 1938. How did they want to celebrate it? Well, they probably wanted nothing less than to repeat it. They planned to march through the Jewish Quarter of Prague! It's kind of amazing what they find appropriate. Some authorities are hopefully going to make the event illegal. Some people have forgotten what the actual Nazism looks like; Watson's pessimism about the future of Africa is surely not an example.

Nevertheless, most Czechs find events such as the planned neo-Nazi march irrelevant. Unhinged teenegers are behind these plans and pretty much everyone seems to think that they are not a real threat to anyone.

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