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Independence & Sovereignty

Independence & Sovereignty

One hundred years ago, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk symbolically stood atop the stairs of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the place where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were adopted, to declare the vision of independent Central European nations, cooperating in union to contribute to the peace and common welfare of the world. As Czech nationalists fought for self-determination in the heart of Europe and the Czechoslovak Legion victoriously pushed through the coldest parts of Russia, Masaryk had gained support abroad, significantly and most prominently from US President Woodrow Wilson. Breaking free from Austro-Hungarian rule after generations’ struggle for cultural, social and political emancipation, the newly created democratic homeland, for Czechs, Slovaks, and welcoming of other nationalities, rose from the ashes of WWI on October 28, 1918. Today, Masaryk, the founding father and first freely elected president of Czechoslovakia, remains deeply revered and statues of President Wilson and President Masaryk stand in each other’s respective national capitals of Prague and Washington, DC.


Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk at Prague Castle
Photo courtesy: Masaryk Archive

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