By Andrea Orzoff
After global warfare I, diplomats and leaders on the Paris Peace Talks redrew the map of Europe, carving up historic empires and reworking Europe's japanese part into new geographical regions. Drawing seriously at the previous, the leaders of those younger nations crafted nationwide mythologies and deployed them at domestic and in a foreign country. locally, myths have been a device for legitimating the recent country with fractious electorates. In nice energy capitals, they have been used to curry prefer and to compete with the mythologies and propaganda of alternative insecure postwar states. the recent postwar country of Czechoslovakia solid a name as Europe's democratic outpost within the East, an island of enlightened tolerance amid an more and more fascist critical and japanese Europe. In conflict for the fortress, Andrea Orzoff strains the parable of Czechoslovakia as an incredible democracy. The architects of the parable have been teachers who had fled Austria-Hungary within the nice War's early years. Tom?as Garrigue Masaryk, who turned Czechoslovakia's first president, and Edvard Benes, its longtime international minister and later president, propagated the belief of the Czechs as a tolerant, filthy rich, and cosmopolitan humans, dedicated to eu beliefs, and Czechoslovakia as a Western best friend able to containing either German aggression and Bolshevik radicalism. Deeply distrustful of Czech political events and Parliamentary leaders, Benes and Masaryk created a casual political association often called the Hrad or "Castle." This robust coalition of intellectuals, reporters, businessmen, non secular leaders, and nice conflict veterans struggled with Parliamentary leaders to set the country's political schedule and strengthen the parable. in a foreign country, the citadel wielded the nationwide fantasy to assert the eye and security of the West opposed to its more and more hungry buddies. while Hitler occupied the rustic, the mythic Czechoslovakia won strength as its leaders went into wartime exile. as soon as Czechoslovakia regained its independence after 1945, the citadel fable reappeared. After the Communist coup of 1948, many fort politicians went into exile in the United States, the place they wrote the fortress fable of an idealized Czechoslovakia into educational and political discourse. conflict for the citadel demonstrates how this founding fable turned enshrined in Czechoslovak and ecu background. It powerfully articulates the centrality of propaganda and the mass media to interwar ecu cultural international relations and politics, and the annoying, combative surroundings of ecu diplomacy from the start of the 1st global conflict way past the tip of the second one.
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Extra resources for Battle for the Castle: The Myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914-1948
His heroes were the proto-Reformation preacher and activist Jan Hus and his followers, known as the Hussites. Hus rejected corruption within the Catholic Church, such as the sale of indulgences; he insisted on each individual’s equality in the eyes of God and advocated that both clergy and laity be granted communion “in two kinds” (both wine and wafer). He was mainly supported by Czech speakers; Bohemian Germans tended to support the Vatican and its ally, the Holy Roman Emperor. 12 Hus was burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1415, but Czech resistance to the Vatican continued until the seventeenth century, when— according to Palacký—Czech Protestantism was defeated at the Battle of Bilá hora (White Mountain) in 1620, the ﬁrst engagement of the Thirty Years’ War, and Bohemia and Moravia were subsumed into the Habsburg Empire.
Also, wartime activity would legitimate, or discredit, postwar leadership. In Czechoslovakia as elsewhere in Europe, the ideas and experiences of the First World War inﬂuenced political and cultural elites and their actions for the next twenty years. In particular, the outcome of the war granted credence to Masaryk and Beneš’s unconventional interpretation of Czech nationalism—to their modernization of the Czech nationalist myth. Their triumphant wartime experience became an important card to play within the political shuﬄing and dealing of the First Czechoslovak Republic.
55 These prejudices—the French and British as somehow both civilized and passionately revolutionary (only in the name of the right cause, of course), the Germans as a faceless, countless army of Prussians, and the rest of Europe as a disorganized, excessively nationalized, overzealous mess in need of correction and a proper model for future development—would linger in Beneš’s postwar politics. Masaryk had read and liked Beneš’s journalistic dispatches from France and Germany. When Beneš returned, the two men met, and Masaryk oﬀered to help him obtain a university post.