About So-Called First Republic and the 28th of October

Tomas Garrigue Masaryk As you probably know, on the 28th of October Czechs celebrate a public holiday, which means that many stores and museums in Prague and the Czech Republic will be closed due to this holiday. And what is actually being celebrated on this day? Czechs celebrate Independent Czechoslovak State Proclamation Day. So it is something like 4th of July in the USA.

In 1918, after the First World War, rather on the 28th of October, an independent state of Czechoslovakia was declared, with Tomas Garrigue Masaryk as its first president. Czechoslovakia arose as one of the succession states of Austria-Hungary at the end of the WWI.

Throughout the pre-WWII period, for Czechoslovakia it was time of economic prosperity and democracy. Czechoslovakia became one of the ten richest countries in the world back then since it inherited most of Austria’s industry. This interwar period, which was also a golden age for the culture, is now being called the First Republic.

However, everything nice has to end and so the happy period of the First Republic lasted only 20 years. Czechoslovakia was betrayed by allies in 1938 in the Munich Agreement and so Nazi Germany legally occupied Sudetenland, the Czechoslovakia borders with Germany, and in 1939 the whole country was under protectorship of Hitler’s Germany.

After the Second World War, the Nazi troops were replaced by Soviet troops and so the Czechs had to wait for the restoration of democracy till the end of 1989.

So Czechs celebrate the 28th of October mainly to remember this happy democratic era of the First Republic.

Czechs love 28th to public holidays ;-)

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