5000 Czech crown banknote
On this banknote could be no one else but Tomas Garrigue Masaryk – the chief founder and first president of independent Czechoslovakia.
He was a Czech statesman, sociologist and philosopher who was also an advocate of Czechoslovak independence, but not from the very beginning. He always supported democratic policies. He, however, did not openly support the idea of independence before First World War, but rather the transformation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into a federation of self-governing nations.
When the WWI broke out, he knew that being part of the Empire is no longer possible, and had to flee the country to avoid arrest for treason. In the exile he formed the Czechoslovak national council, which was with the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, recognised by the Allies as the provisional government of Czechoslovakia. Masaryk proclaimed the independence of Czechoslovakia on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C..
It is no wonder that Masaryk became the first president of the Czechoslovakia, and was reelected three more times. Masaryk resigned in 1935 because of his advanced age. He died two years afterwards at the age of 87.
Masaryk enjoyed and still does almost legendary authority among the Czech people. He was the great example of a perfect president. He was a man remarkable not only because of his personal courage and devotion to democracy, but for the harmony between his personality and work – the astonishing unity of his words and deeds.
During his presidency, Czechoslovakia became an island of democracy, a great educational workshop and a powerful industrial country. It developed a political system marked not only by free and fair elections but also by the rule of law, separation of powers, and the protection of fundamental liberties of speech, assembly, religion and property. This, however, lasted only 20 years. With Hitler and the Munich Agreement, but that is another story.
An interesting thing about Masaryk is that he married an American woman – Charlotte Garrigue – from whom he took his middle name, which is a radical move even by today’s standards, much less those of a century ago!
Masaryk gained the nickname of the „President-Liberator“ or the „daddy Masaryk“, meaning that he was close to everybody’s hearts. Many refer to him by his initials: TGM.
On the other side of this banknote there is Prague architecture.
See also Czech crown