Czechoslovakia 100 Years On

8 May 2018

Czechslovakia100

A historic conference at Cardiff University is bringing together diplomats, policymakers, politicians and analysts to explore how lessons from history can help formulate policy for today’s changing world.

Czechoslovakia100 takes place on Friday 11 May and marks the centenary of the founding of the Czechoslovak state in 1918.

2018 marks several important anniversaries for the state, and by association, for twentieth-century Europe. 

It shares the anniversaries of the Munich Crisis in 1938, the division of the country into a Nazi German colony and a collaborationist temporary Republic in 1939, the Communist takeover in 1948, the Prague Spring of 1968 and the state’s final dissolution in 1993.

Leading sessions and roundtables will be Deputy Heads of Mission from the London embassies of both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Honorary Consul for the Slovak Republic in Wales is also to attend. The day opens with a welcome from Baroness Morgan Minister Welsh Language/Lifelong Learning from the Welsh Assembly government.

Contributing to the day are a wide range of experts outside of academia, including

  • Josef Jařab (Rector Emeritus, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic and Senator in the Czech Parliament);
  • Frédéric Labarré (Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes, NATO);
  • Jan Brunner (Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Czech Republic);
  • Imrich Marton (Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Slovakia in London)
  • Angela Spindler-Brown (British Czech and Slovak Association).
  • Cardiff’s distinguished Law Professor Jiří Přibán and leading academics from the Czech and Slovak Forum

2018 is a significant year for the history of the state, which marks several important anniversaries, and by association for twentieth-century Europe. In the year that marks the centenary of its creation in the aftermath of the Great War, it also bears the scars of the wider changes in twentieth-century Europe. It shares the anniversaries of the Munich Crisis in 1938, the division of the country into a Nazi German colony and a collaborationist temporary Republic in 1939, the Communist takeover in 1948, the Prague Spring of 1968 and the state’s final dissolution in 1993.

Event organiser Professor Mary Heimann, Professor of Modern History, is the author of the ground-breaking book Czechoslovakia: The state that failed. She said:

“Czechoslovakia100 seeks to take stock of the one hundred years that have elapsed since the Czechoslovak state was first founded through the powerful combination of expertise in the worlds of academia, diplomacy, policymaking and international law.  Experts are invited to communicate their most significant research findings and professional insights about Czechoslovakia's past.”

She added: “We hope to conclude the day's formal proceedings with ideas for policy recommendations, learned lessons from Czechoslovakia’s past for today's world.”

The event is sponsored by the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES), the Czech Embassy in London, the Slovak Embassy in London, and Special Collections and Archives, home to a new Czechoslovak Special Collection in our Arts and Social Studies Library.

Follow updates through Twitter or use the hashtags #Czechoslovakia100 or #CzechSlovak100.

Professor Heimann is a leading authority on the history of Czechoslovakia and learning lessons from this history enabled her to contribute policy recommendations for regional stability through NATO’s Partnership for Peace. She was invited to speak at TEDxCardiff last year and warned in her talk that, although Europe still bears the scars of Nazism and Stalinism, the world again seems to be sleepwalking into totalitarianism.

Watch her TEDxCardiff talk on how we can learn lessons from our history and how, as individuals, we can play a part in making sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMaHnccyYGY