Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgements

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pp. xi-xiv

This book had its origins over a decade ago in the office of Antonín Klimek, senior researcher at the Historical Institute of the Czech Army in Prague. At the time, Klimek was the leading scholar of interwar Czechoslovakia. His two-volume political history of the First Republic, Boj o Hrad [The Battle for the Castle], ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

This is book about Something. Something sacred. Something eternal. Something higher.
Surveys regularly show the Czech Republic as being one of the least religious countries in the world, with anywhere from a third to two-thirds of the population declaring themselves as atheists. ...

Part One Three Portraits of the Modern Believer

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Chapter One: The Philosopher in Search of Truth

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pp. 19-62

In his long career as academic, critic, and politician, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk cast his attention on an encyclopedic range of subjects. He read in several languages, founded three journals, published books on historical and contemporary questions, and spoke regularly in public fora. One theme was constant in this body of work—religion. ...

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Chapter Two: The Architect Creating for the Ages

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pp. 63-108

“The modern school can boast of only a handful of such original artists.”1 This was the assessment of the architect Jože Plečnik made in 1906 by the Czech architectural journal Styl. The statement is noteworthy because Plečnik was a devout, even mystical Catholic. ...

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Chapter Three: The Social Worker Longing to Serve

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pp. 109-144

After the creation of Czechoslovakia, two of Tomáš Masaryk’s adult children gained high positions in the new state. His oldest child, Alice Garrigue Masaryková, became director of the newly formed Czechoslovak Red Cross organization, while her brother Jan, nine years her junior, became a diplomat in the Foreign Ministry. ...

Part Two: Czechoslovakia under the Perspective of Eternity

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Chapter Four: The House of Masaryk and the Moral Republic

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pp. 147-188

“O Czech people, the government of your affairs will return to you!” These words, stated originally by Jan Amos Komenský and repeated by Tomáš Masaryk in his first address as president, have lasting resonance in modern Czech history. Seven decades after Masaryk’s speech, Václav Havel repeated the phrase in his first address after the 1989 revolution, and visitors such as Bill Clinton, ...

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Chapter Five: The Moral Republic and Its Discontents

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pp. 189-230

Masaryk’s vision of Czechoslovakia as a moral republic earned accolades abroad. The philosopher-turned-president became a symbol of the transformation of Europe, much like the playwright and dissident Václav Havel did decades later after becoming president in 1989. Already in 1921, for instance, a New York Times editorial spoke highly of the benefits of Masaryk’s “wise guidance,” ...

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Chapter Six: Building Cathedrals in Modern Prague

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pp. 231-284

In November 1928, a few days after the tenth anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding, the marble obelisk finally took its place in the third courtyard of Prague Castle. By this time, many of Jože Plečnik’s plans had been realized at Hradčany. The first courtyard, on the castle’s eastern entrance, now had its towering oak flagpoles, flanking the baroque Matthias Gate. ...

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Chapter Seven: The War of the Absolute

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pp. 285-324

In May 1934 the Czechoslovak parliament elected Tomáš Masaryk president for the fourth time. At age eighty-four, Masaryk was in declining health. He had suffered a stroke three weeks before the election and wanted to step aside. But with Czechoslovakia’s industrial economy hit hard by the Depression, particularly in German-populated regions, ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 325-342

“Our age, friends, will be celebrated as a golden age,” Karel Čapek wrote in late September 1937, “because it was the age of Masaryk.”1 One year later, the golden age came to an end. With Germany threatening to invade and Britain and France refusing to fight for his country, President Edvard Beneš accepted the terms of the Munich Agreement on September 30, 1938, ...

Bibliography

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pp. 343-360

Index

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pp. 361-372

Back Cover

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p. 373