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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Slovakia Joins Czechia for the First Time on the Independent Czechoslovak State Day

Czechia and Slovakia will celebrate together on October 28, as both counties have always stood hand in hand in the face of adversity.

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CZECHIA: Until this year Czechia was probably the only country in the world to celebrate the founding of a state that no longer exists, Czechoslovakia. This year, Slovakia joins the Czech Republic in the National Czechoslovak State Day celebration.

Slovaks used to celebrate October 28 a day of remembrance, and since its approval as a national holiday last year, this 2021 they will celebrate it as a national holiday for the first time. The difference is that Slovaks will not have time off to properly commemorate the date.

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Coming together to survive on multiple ocassions, both Czechs and Slovaks have identified so strongly with the former state, that the spirit of October 28 lives on. Both nations keep the memory of the personalities who were at the birth of their modern states and while commemorating the past, they shake hands for the present and exchange promises for the future.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis received the 2021 Laureate List and is one of the State representatives featured in the video below. President Miloš Zeman, who is hospitalized, was represented by the Chief of the Military Office of the President of the Republic, Jan Kaše.

103rd Anniversary of the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia

The importance of this date

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The long-standing constitutional struggle and the struggle for national emancipation within Austria-Hungary culminated during the First World War. Czech political leaders, led by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, sought independence from abroad and advanced together with the Slovak political representation and in coordination with the foreign resistance.

Czechoslovak independence was proclaimed two weeks before the end of the First World War in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on October 28th, 1918. The president of the First Republic became Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The Austro-Hungarian Empire consequently collapsed.

Men on October 28 - Antonín Švehla, František Soukup, Alois Rašín and Jiří Stříbrný  Photo: Repro photo October 1918: Establishment of Czechoslovakia, Paseka 1998
Men on October 28 – Antonín Švehla, František Soukup, Alois Rašín and Jiří Stříbrný Photo: Repro photo October 1918: Establishment of Czechoslovakia, Paseka 1998
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Czechs and Slovaks were at all times a stronghold for human values, and especially in times of crisis. It is worth remembering that Richard Bienert, a senior police officer, secretly collaborated with the aforementioned leaders. Antonín Švehla briefly instructed him to take over the police on behalf of the National Committee with the words: “You will maintain complete order, not a single table should be broken in the windows!”

Despite being internally burdened, for twenty years of its interwar existence, the Czechoslovak Republic was a stronghold of democracy in Central Europe. Among other things, it became a refuge for many refugees from Nazism, and slo persisted during the Nazi occupation and the communist totalitarianism. Czechoslovakia disappeared in 1993, shortly after the fall of communism when the then federation split into two independent states, the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Some messages by important public figures

Just today, when we commemorate the anniversary of the founding of our republic, which was born from the ruins, disruption and massacre of the First World War, when we commemorate the historical merits of Tomáš Garrigu Masaryk and Edvard Beneš for our state, we should say very emphatically that ‘to worry about our state and the well-being of its citizens, it is still necessary to be prepared to protect and defend them,'” Blansko mayor Jiří Crha added in his speech.

The Blasko mayor also added, “We are not a great power and there is no quiet time ahead of us, but we have a thousand-year tradition, a force that has proven its ability to face difficulties many times in the past, and it is up to us to fulfill this message through our state and pass it on to future generations.”

As Slovakia comes together to celebrate the date, the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in the Swiss Confederation, Vaclav Sulista, invited his compatriots to start using Czechia as a name, partly due to the fact that only three Republics in the world use the full name and the political state should not bind to the way countries are called similarly to Slovakia.

The Honorary Consul also added, “After 28 years and 65 million US dollars spent on the advertisement for ‘the Czech Republic,’ Czechoslovakia is nowadays still better recognized than the Czech Republic! There is no better proof, that this simply won’t work, even if we will throw other funds on it! … Let’s keep the noble formal name for diplomacy, where it belongs! Nobody goes with a tuxedo for mushroom picking or to the beach!

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