Saturday, March 19, 2011

Radio Prague Today 3.19.2011

Articles posted on today

The occupation of 1939: could it have been avoided?

Earlier this week we remembered the 72nd anniversary of the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia on March 15 1939. Much has been written about the years that led up to the occupation: the growing tensions with Czechoslovakia's German speaking minority, Hitler's rise to power in Germany and then the Munich Agreement of September 1938 that ceded a quarter of Czechoslovakia's territory to the German Reich. There is a sense of inevitability about the events, but could things have been different and could Czechoslovakia's President Edvard Beneš have played his cards differently?

The women who stepped out of the shadow of Czechoslovakia's first president

At the beginning of this series we heard the voice of the first Czechoslovak President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The Masaryk family included several remarkable women, who were also to play their part in 20th century Czech history. Tomáš's wife Charlotte was American, born in New York in 1850. When the couple married in Brooklyn in 1878, he took on her surname Garrigue as part of his own name, as a gesture of respect. Charlotte went on to devote her life to all things Czech, and she was every bit as energetic in her defence of women's rights, winning her husband over to the cause. She died in 1923 just five years after the republic was founded. In this archive recording from November 1932 she is remembered by an American friend, the feminist and peace advocate, Martha Root.