The Czechoslovakian Dream: An Island of Democracy, 1918-1938

The Czechoslovakian Dream: An Island of Democracy, 1918-1938

I suppose most of us associate Czechoslovakia with phrases like Eastern Block and Iron Curtain. But in reality, the country was conceived in the name of liberty. For two decades between the world wars, it was a democracy. President Masaryk was known as the “president liberator.”

Here’s a newsreel from 1933 in which Czechoslovakia celebrates its independence with a military parade, while the threat of war bears down.

“The little Czechoslovakian republic means to maintain its integrity,” announces the narrator, over images of a conspicuous display of military strength.

The message is clear: though the republic was small, it was capable of defending itself against rising tyranny.

Svalava, the town where my grandmother and great uncle Stefan were born, was located in this island of democracy until it was forcibly annexed by Nazi-allied Hungary in 1938.

Watch the newsreel:

Read more on the Czechoslovak Republic:

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My Great Uncle Stefan
My Great Uncle Stefan