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Advent: The golden republic -- delusion and wartime -- The citadel -- Battles of the legend makers -- problems out of the country -- A time of iron and fireplace -- Epilogue
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Extra resources for Battle for the castle : the myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914-1948
Bookish Radicals Unlike Beneš, Tomáš Masaryk already possessed authority and a considerable reputation by 1914. But almost no one would have predicted that his inﬂuence would ever transcend the printed page. As a professor at Prague’s Charles University, his students—many of whom would later take leading positions in Czech letters, art, and, to a lesser extent, in politics—found his persona and ideas mesmerizing. 3 Masaryk was born in 1850 near Hodonín on the Moravian-Slovak border. His father, once a serf, served as a coachman, bailiﬀ, and farmer on a large estate.
In his 1894 treatise The Czech Question, Masaryk joined other nineteenth-century Czech nationalist writers in linking the Czech present to heroic ﬁfteenth-century Bohemia, and arguing that Czechs were most fully “human” when they were nationally aware. 43 Masaryk linked humanita to the writings and actions of Jan Hus; seventeenth-century exile bishop and intellectual Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) and the Czech Brethren, a paciﬁst wing of the Hussite movement; and the nineteenth-century philologists Josef Dobrovský and Ján Kollár.
1 This story—of a few inconsequential professors successfully petitioning the Great Powers, amassing an army, and persuading the world’s leaders to guarantee the existence of a new state—is also the story of the creation of that state’s myth, and its propagation via propaganda. Masaryk, Beneš, and Štefánik devoted an enormous amount of energy and resources I 23 24 Battle for the Castle to propaganda and cultural diplomacy, within and outside governmental circles. They established the equivalent of a propaganda ministry and press agency in several Great Power capitals.