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Eine per „lid“ gedeckelte Würdigung

Das exzessive offizielle Schreiben zum 100. Geburtstag T. G. Masaryks vor der Löschung seines Namens aus der tschechoslowakischen Öffentlichkeit

Holt Meyer


Pages 137 - 160



Hommage with a “lid”: Excessive Czechoslovak Official Writing on the Occasion of T. G. Masaryk’s 100th Birthday (Before the Erasure of His Name from the Public Sphere)

The general topic of the contribution is the legacy of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk during the first five years of official Czechoslovak state-sponsored historiography after the putsch of 1948. The period ends with the universal violent condemnation of and/or silence about the founder of the First Republic beginning in 1953 at the latest, remaining in place essentially unchanged for the decades to come. The contribution deals more specifically with the centennial of Masaryk’s birth in March of 1950, at the mid-point between Communist seizure of power and the unambiguous condemnation of Masaryk by Czechoslovak propaganda. It reads official books and newspaper articles which demonstrate that in 1950 Czechoslovak officialdom had not yet decided what position to take. Official statements and publications, particularly those of two key figures of Czechoslovak Stalinist propaganda, Zdeněk Nejedlý and Václav Kopecký, are examined in order to retrace both commonalities and the specificities of their approaches and their rhetoric. Both politicians take for granted the necessary and natural alignment of the “people” (lid) with Bolshevism, not with Masaryk’s state-building, making 1917, not 1918 the key date in Czecho-slovak history. In connection with Nejedlý’s 1950 brochure on Masaryk, the musicologist’s obsession with the founder of the republic dating back to the 1920s is retraced. Special attention is paid to Masaryk’s readings of Dostoevskii, which Nejedlý sees as the core of Masaryk’s view of Russia, something which Nejedlý vociferously attacks.

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