Return to homec29000BC Bones with Neanderthal
traits from this time were later found in a cave in Mladec, Czech
Republic. Some scientists believed they represented interbreeding
between Neanderthals and Home Sapiens.
(SSFC, 6/19/05, p.F2)
24000BC An early representation of a human was
carved from mammoth ivory about 26,000 years ago. It was discovered
in Brno, Czechoslovakia. The tiny "Venus of Dolni Vestonici,"
more than 25,000 years old, is the earliest known sculpture of a
(NG, Oct. 1988, p. 440)(SFEC, 5/23/99, DB p.43)
24000BC A multiple burial was unearthed at Dolni
Vestonice, Czechoslovakia. Three skeletons whose skulls were adorned
with circles of arctic fox and wolf teeth and ivory beads.
(NG, Oct. 1988, p.466)
903 Good King Wenceslaus,
saint, duke of Bohemia (d.929), was born about this time.
929 Sep 28, Wenceslaus I, duke
of Bohemia, was murdered.
997 St. Adalbert was martyred.
He brought Christianity to Bohemia.
(SFC, 4/26/97, p.A12)
1141 Jan 31, Pope Innocent II
authorized Bishop Henry of Moravia to preach Catholicism in Prussia.
c1200-1300 Cesky Krumlov, 100 miles south of
Prague, was founded on the Vltava River on the main trading route
between Bavaria and Italy.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.C5)
1230-1253 King Wenceslas I reigned over Bohemia.
His sister, St. Agnes, was canonized in 1989. Both are buried in the
Convent of St. Agnes in Prague.
(SFC, 4/14/96, T-12)
1346 Nov 26, Charles of
Luxembourg was crowned German king. He succeeded his father John of
Luxemburg as King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg.
(PC, 1992 ed, p.128)
1347 Charles IV (1316-1378) of
the House of Luxembourg was crowned King of Bohemia.
(WSJ, 10/19/05, p.D17)
1348 Apr 7, Prague Univ., the
1st in central Europe, was started by Charles IV.
1355 Charles IV, King of
Bohemia, was crowned King of the Holy Roman Empire.
(WSJ, 10/19/05, p.D17)
1361 Wenceslaus IV (d.1419),
son of Charles IV, as born.
(WSJ, 10/19/05, p.D17)
1368 Feb 14-1368 Feb 15,
Sigismund (d.1437), son of Charles IV, was born in Nuremberg,
Germany. He served as Holy Roman Emperor from 1433-1437.
1373 Jan Huss (d.1415), Czech
populist reformer. He challenged Church doctrine.
(WSJ, 4/4/01, p.A18)
1378 Nov 29, Charles IV
(b.1316), King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, died.
1378 Wenceslaus IV (1361-1419),
son of Charles IV, became King of Bohemia following the death of his
father. He served as Holy Roman Emperor until 1400, when he was
deposed in favor of Rupert III.
1415 Jul 6, Jan Huss, Bohemian
(Czech) religious reformer, was burned as a heretic at the stake at
Constance, Germany. He had spoken out against Church corruption.
(NH, 9/96, p.23)(HN, 7/6/98)
1416 May 30, Jerome of Prague
was burned as a heretic by the Church.
1419 Jul 30, Anti-Catholic
Hussites, followers of executed reformer Jan Hus, stormed the town
hall in Prague and threw 3 Catholic consuls and 7 citizens out
the window. This episode has been called "The Defenestration in
Prague." The out-the-window gentlemen all landed safely in a manure
(NH, 9/96, p.23)(MC, 7/30/02)
1419 Aug 16, Wenceslas
(b.1361), son of Charles IV and King of Germany, died. He served as
King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia (1363) and King of the Romans
1419 Aug 16, Sigismund, Holy
Roman Emperor, became king of Bohemia following the death of
Wenceslaus IV, but was ejected by the Hussites due to the execution
of Jan Huss.
1420 Jul 14, Jan Zizka
(1360?-1424) led the Taborites in Battle at Vitkov Zizka's hill
(Prague). The Taborites beat forces under Sigismund, the
pro-Catholic King of Hungary and Bohemia. This was part of the
Hussite Wars (1419-1436).
1420 Jul, The Hussites agreed
on the Four Articles of Prague, which were promulgated in the Latin,
Czech, and German languages. In summery they stated: 1) Freedom to
preach the Word of God. 2) Celebration of the Lord's Supper in both
kinds (bread and wine to priests and laity alike). 3) No profane
power for the clergy. And 4) The same law for laity and priests.
1420-1433 Time of the Hussite wars in Bohemia.
(WUD, 1994, p.1671)
1424 Oct 11, Jan Zizka
(b.c1370), Czech army leader (Hussite), died of plague.
1430 Apr 14, A band of Hussites
raided the monastery at Czestochowa, Poland, and robbed it of its
1434 May 30, The Battle of
Lipany virtually ended the Hussite Wars. Prokopius leader of
Taborites, died in battle.
1437 Dec 9, Sigismund, Holy
Roman Emperor, died. Major Czech factions had accepted Sigismund as
king of Bohemia prior to his death.
1454 Aug 22, Jews were expelled
from Brunn Moravia by order of King Ladislaus Posthumus (1440-1457),
king of Hungary as Ladislaus V, king of Bohemia as Ladislaus I.
c1500-1600 The Golden Canal was dug by hand in
southern Bohemia. It linked many of the 6,000 fish ponds used to
(SFEC, 5/2/99, p.T6)
1515 Jul 22, Emperor
Maximillian and Vladislav of Bohemia forged an alliance between the
Habsburg [Austria] and Jagiello [Polish-Lithuanian] dynasties in
1528 Jacob Hutter (d.1536),
Anabaptist evangelist from South Tyrol, founded a "community of
love," whose members shared everything. They settled in Moravia due
to the religious tolerance there.
1539 Feb 19, Jews of Tyrnau,
Hungary, (then Trnava, Czech), were expelled.
1576 Rudolf II was crowned King
of the Holy Roman Empire and moved the Imperial Court from Vienna to
(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A13)
1582 Oct 5-1582 Oct 14, Nothing
happened. In Bohemia the anti-Gregorian astronomer Michael Mestlin
proclaimed that the pope was stealing 10 days from everyone’s life.
In 1998 David Ewing Duncan published “Calendar: Humanity’s Epic
Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year."
(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.5)
1583 Rudolf II moved the
Imperial Court of the Holy Roman Empire from Vienna to Prague.
(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A13)
1590 In Prague Adriaen de Vries
began his sculpture "Psyche Born Aloft by Putti." It was completed
(WSJ, 12/7/99, p.A24)
c1590-1600 In late 16th century Prague Rabbi Judah
Bezalel Loew, the Maharal, used clay and the mysticism of the
Kabbalah to fashion the Golem, a human-like creature to help avenge
(WSJ, 4/17/02, p.D7)
1591 Giuseppe Arcimboldo
painted a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II as Vertumnus, the Roman god
(WSJ, 9/9/06, p.P9)
1594 Apr 15, Flemish painter
Pieter Stevens was appointed royal painter of Rudolf II in Prague.
1600 Feb 4, Tycho Brahe and
Johannes Kepler met for 1st time near Prague.
1600 Rudolf II, King of the
Holy Roman Empire, ruled from Prague and lured the astronomer, Tycho
Brahe, from Denmark, as well as his student Johannes Kepler.
(WSJ, 9/24/96, p.A18)(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A13)
1600 Cardinal Filippo Spinelli,
Pope Clement VIII’s ambassador in Prague, wrote to the Pope that
Emperor Rudolf II was bewitched by the devil.
(WSJ, 9/9/06, p.P9)
1601 Oct 13, Tycho Brahe,
astronomer, died in Prague.
1603 In Prague Adriaen de Vries
made a bust of Emperor Rudolf.
(WSJ, 12/7/99, p.A24)
1609 Jul 9, Emperor Rudolf II
granted Bohemia freedom of worship.
1611 May 23, Matthias von
Habsburg was chosen king of Bohemia.
1611 Matthias, brother of
Rudolf II, occupied Prague and captured Rudolf II.
(WSJ, 1/8/99, p.C13)
1612 Jan 20, Rudolf II von
Habsburg (59), emperor of Germany (1576-1612), died in Prague and
Matthias became Holy Roman Emperor. In 1912 an enigmatic manuscript,
once owned by Rudolf II, was acquired by Wilfrid Voynich and came to
be known as the Voynich manuscript. In 2006 Peter Marshall authored
“The Magic Circle of Rudolf II."
p.C13)(www.historylearningsite.co)(Econ, 1/10/04, p.71)(WSJ, 9/9/06,
1617-1619 Ferdinand II ruled as king of Bohemia.
(WUD, 1994, p.524)
1618 May 23, The Thirty Years
War (1618-1648) ravaged Germany. It began when three opponents of
the Reformation were thrown through a window. The “official"
Defenestration of Prague was the “official" trigger for the Thirty
Year’s War. Local Protestants became enraged when Catholic King
Ferdinand II reneged on promises of religious freedom and stormed
Hradcany Castle and threw 3 Catholic councilors out of the window
and into the moat.
(V.D.-H.K.p.90)(NH, 9/96, p.18,22)(HN, 5/23/98)
1620 Nov 8, The King of Bohemia
was defeated at the Battle of White Mountain, Prague. With Hapsburg
support in Bohemia the Catholics defeated the Protestants at the
Battle of the White Mountain. Weeks of plunder and pillage followed
in Prague and after a few months the victors tortured and executed
27 nobles and other citizens and hung 12 heads on iron hooks from
the Bridge Tower.
(NH, 9/96, p.24)(HN, 11/6/98)(MC, 11/8/01)
1620 Ferdinand II became
emperor of the Holy Roman Empire after the death of Rudolf II and
moved the Imperial Court back to Vienna. He sold dozens of paintings
collected by Rudolf II that he found “lewd."
(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A13)(WUD, 1994, p.524)
1623 In Prague Adriaen de Vries
created his sculpture, "Laocoon and His Sons." It was the first
reinterpretation of the Greek masterpiece unearthed in Rome in 1506.
(WSJ, 12/7/99, p.A24)
1626 In Prague Adriaen de Vries
began his last sculpture, "Hercules." It was completed in 1627.
(WSJ, 12/7/99, p.A24)
1630 Aug 13, Emperor Frederick
II of Bohemia fired Albrecht von Wallenmanders, his best military
1630 Sep 11, John de White,
Calvinist banker to Prague, committed suicide.
1630 The southern wall of the
Wallenstein Garden in central Prague was built as part of Gen.
Albrecht von Wallenstein’s palace complex.
(WSJ, 8/7/07, p.D10)
1631 Oct 10, A Saxon army
1632 May 25, Albrecht von
Wallenstein recaptured Prague on Saksen.
1648 At the end of the Thirty
years’ War the Swedes got to Prague and picked up the remains of
works collected by Rudolf II and Albrecht von Wallenstein, leader of
the Hapsburg armies.
(WSJ, 7/10/97, p.A13)(WSJ, 12/7/99, p.A24)
1700s The Czech Castle Vranov
was constructed on the Dyje River.
(SFEC, 5/2/99, p.T6)
1730 "Argippo," the only opera
Vivaldi (1678-1741) actually wrote for Prague, was staged just one
time in Prague. The score was found in 2006 and another staging was
set for 2008.
1733 May 12, Maria Theresa was
crowned queen of Bohemia in Prague.
1740 Oct 20, Maria Theresa
became ruler of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia upon the death of her
father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.
1744 Nov 25, Austrian forces
pillaged and killed Jews of Prague.
1745 Mar 31, Jews were expelled
1757 May 6, Battle at Prague:
Frederik II of Prussia beat emperor's army.
1774 Dec 18, Empress Maria
Theresa expelled Jews from Prague, Bohemia and Moravia.
1787 Oct 29, Mozart's opera Don
Giovanni opened in Prague. Don Giovanni was first performed at the
Prague’s Estates Theater with Mozart at the piano and conducting the
orchestra. It was a sensational success.
(V.D.-H.K.p.236)(SFC, 4/14/96, T-12)(HN,
1791 Sep 6, Mozart’s last opera
"La Clemenza di Tito," premiered in Prague. It was composed for the
coronation festivities of the King of Bohemia.
(WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A44)(MC, 9/6/01)
1808 Feb 2, Josef Kajetan Tyl
(d.1856), Czech dramatist and songwriter, was born.
1813 Jul 15, Napoleon
Bonaparte's representatives met with the Allies in Prague to discuss
1824 Mar 2, Bedrich Friedrich
Smetana (1884), Czech, Bohemian composer (Bartered Bride, Moldau),
(WUD, 1994, p.1345)(WSJ, 10/4/96, p.A7)(SC,
1836 May 18, Wilhelm Steinitz
was born. The Czech-born world chess champion later became a
1841 Sep 8, Antonin Dvorak
(d.1904), Czech composer and violinist, was born in Nelahozeves. His
work included the “New World Symphony."
(WUD, 1994 p.444)(HN, 9/8/00)(MC, 9/8/01)
1848 Jun 17, Austrian General
Prince Alfred Windischgratz crushed a Czech uprising in Prague. The
Habsburgs had ordered the prince to bombard Prague.
(HN, 6/17/98)(WSJ, 9/21/99, p.A24)
1850 Mar 7, Tomas Masaryk,
Pres. of Czech (1918-35), was born to a Slovak father and
Czech-German mother in the small town of Hodonin in South Moravia,
very close to what is now the border with Slovakia.
1854-1928 Leos Janacek, Czech composer. His work
included the opera “Makropulos" (1926), the Dostoevsky based “From
the House of the Dead" and “Katya Kabanova."
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-7)(WSJ, 8/20/96, p.A8)(WUD,
1994, p.763)(SFC, 1/27/97, p.A20)(WSJ, 6/03/97, p.A20)
1857 Ludwig Moser began making
Moser glass in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia.
(SFC, 5/14/08, p.G6)
1866 May 30, Bederich Smetana's
Opera "The Bartered Bride" premiered in Prague.
1866 Aug 23, Treaty of Prague
ended the Austro-Prussian war.
1868 May 16, Bedrich Smetana's
opera "Dalibor," premiered in Prague.
1874 Jan 4, Josef Suk, Czech
violinist and composer (Asrael), was born.
1875 Mar 14, Czech composer
Smetana's "Vysehrad," premiered.
1876 Adolphus Busch, a German
immigrant beer-maker, licensed the name of Budweiser in America. The
name came from the town of Budweis in Bohemia. The town was later
renamed Ceske Budejovice but a local brewery used the Budweiser name
for its beer.
(SFC, 4/9/98, p.A12)
1882 The six tone poems “Ma
Vlast" (My Homeland) by Czech composer Smetana were first performed
in their entirety.
(SFC, 5/9/97, p.D6)
1883 Apr 24, Jaroslav Hasek,
Czech writer (Brave soldier Schweik), was born.
1883 Jul 3, Franz Kafka
(d.1924), Czech novelist, author of “The Metamorphosis," was born in
Prague. “The Castle" and “The Trial," were both published after his
death. He died of tuberculosis.
(V.D.-H.K.p.367-368)(WSJ, 10/10/96, p.A1)(WSJ,
3/14/97, p.A11)(HN, 7/3/98)
1883-1961 Frantisek Drtikol, Czech photographer
and painter. He photographed nudes in the 1920s and then took up
painting and mystical religious studies.
(SFC, 5/6/97, p.E4)
1884 May 12, Bedrich Friedrich
Smetana (60), Czech composer (MaVlast, Bartered Bride), died.
1884 May 28, Edvard Benes,
premier, president of Czechoslovakia (1921-22, 35-48), was born.
1886 Sep 14, Jan Garrique
Masaryk (d.1948), Czech statesman, was born.
1890 Jan 9, Karel Capek
(d.1938), Czech writer and playwright, was born. He is best
remembered for his 1921 play R.U.R. which contained the first use of
the word "robot."
1891-1918 Springer & Co. of Elbogen, Bohemia,
now Loket, made decorative porcelain, table sets, laboratory
porcelain and figurines marked by a crown above a shield that was
decorated with an arm in armor holding a sword. The company went out
of business in 1945.
(SFC, 2/25/98, Z1 p.6)
1892 Apr 28, The 1st
performance of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's overture "Carneval."
1894 Jun 8, Erwin Schulhoff
(d.1942), composer, was born in Prague. He composed a body of
jazz-inspired music that included “Rag Music" and “String Quartet
No. 1." http://www.fuguemasters.com/schulhoff.html
(WSJ, 3/14/97, p.A11)
1896 Jan 8, Jaromir Weinberger,
composer (Bird's Opera, Schwanda der Duddelsacpfeifer), was born in
1900 Jan 13, To combat Czech
nationalism, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary decreed that
German would be the language of the imperial army.
1900 Aug 12, Wilhelm Steinitz,
Chess champion (1866-1894), died in Prague.
1901-1963 Gustav Machaty, Czech filmmaker, was
known for his combination of romance and eroticism.
(SFC, 4/24/99, p.E8)
1903 Mar 28, Rudolf Serkin,
pianist (Marlboro School of Music), was born in Eger, Bohemia.
1903 Nov 15, Eugen d'Albert's
opera "Tiefland," premiered in Prague.
1904 May 1, Antonin Dvorak
(b.1841), Czech composer (Slavonic Dances, New World Symphony), died
at age 62. He spent 1892-1895 in the US as an honored guest. In 2002
Michael B. Beckerman authored “New Worlds of Dvorak: Searching in
America for the Composer’s Inner Life."
(MC, 5/1/02)(SSFC, 1/19/03, p.M5)
1905 Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav
Klement, Czech bicycle makers, began making cars. They later merged
with Skoda Pilsen.
1906 A Jewish Museum was
founded in Prague.
(USAT, 9/24/04, p.3D)
1907 Sep 23, Jarmila Novotna,
soprano (Met Opera) and president of Czechoslovakia (1957-68), was
1907-1915 The Lucerna Palace in Prague was built
by Vaclav Havel, grandfather of the Czech president of 1997.
(SFEC, 7/6/97, p.B4)
1908 Apr 5, George Schick,
conductor (Chicago Symphony), was born in Prague, Czech.
1908 Apr 11, Karel Ancerl,
Czech conductor (Prague, Toronto), was born.
1908 Sep 19, Gustav Mahler's
7th Symphony, premiered in Prague.
1912 Feb 11, Rudolf Firkusny
(d.1954), classical pianist (Julliard), was born in Napajedla,
1913 May 1, Walter Susskind,
conductor, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
1915 Oct 29, Thomas Masaryk
claimed independence for Czechoslovakia.
1915 The short story “The
Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka (1883-1924), a civil servant working
in Prague, was first published in a small German magazine.
(Econ, 7/27/13, p.67)
1916 Egon Schiele painted a
view of Krumau, Bohemia. In 2003 it sold for £12.6 million.
(Econ, 8/23/03, p.55)
1917 Dec 20, Russian secret
police in Czechoslovakia was formed under Felix Dzerzhinsky. He
helped lead the Bolshevik revolution and set up the communist secret
police, the Cheka, which later became the KGB.
(MC, 12/20/01)(WSJ, 10/15/02, p.D6)
1918 May, Leon Trotsky ordered
a Czech legion to surrender while it was scattered across the
sixth-thousand-mile-long Trans-Siberian Railway. Rather than turn
themselves in, the legion’s men mutinied.
(The National Interest, 9/3/19)
1918 Jun 30, As the
Austro-Hungarian Empire was collapsing, France became the first
country to formally recognize Czechoslovakia's new government,
paving the way to the country's proclamation of independence later
1918 Sep 3, The United States
recognized the nation of Czechoslovakia.
1918 Sep, Some 13 thousand US
troops were placed under British command, and launched on a six-week
offensive that pushed back Red Army troops towards the River Dvina
and the Vologda railhead. The US troops were soon defending a series
of strongpoints strung along the railway lines running to Murmansk
and connecting Arkhangelsk to Vologda. The American Expeditionary
Force to Siberia had an even more peculiar objective: helping
extract friendly Czech soldiers.
(The National Interest, 9/3/19)
1918 Oct 14, The Czechoslovak
National Council in Paris organized a provisional government of
Czechoslovakia with T.G. Masaryk as president.
(PC, 1992 ed, p.728)
1918 Oct 18, Czechs seized
Prague, renounced Hapsburg's rule and declared independence from the
Austro-Hungarian Empire. Masaryk proclaimed the foundation of
Czechoslovakia from Pittsburgh, Pa.
1918 Oct 28, The Czechoslovak
National Congress in Prague proclaimed the independence of
1918 Oct 30, The Slovak
National Council acceded to the Nov 28 Prague proclamation for the
creation of Czechoslovakian state. Slovaks joined the Czechs to form
Czechoslovakia. During World War II, Slovakia existed as puppet
state of Nazi-run Germany.
1919 Mar 4, Czech Legions shot
and killed some 50 German demonstrators, including women and
children, in Sudetenland.
1919 The borders of
Czechoslovakia were set up by the Versailles Treaty and incorporated
3 million Germans. Most of the Germans lived along the Czech-German
border known as the Sudetenland.
(SFC, 1/22/96, p.A8)
1919 The Ditmar Urbach pottery
factory was founded in Czechoslovakia with the merger of Urbach
Brothers and Rudolph Ditmar’s Heirs.
(SFC, 2/14/07, p.G3)
1920 Mar 2, Karel Capek’s
"Loupeznik" premiered in Prague.
1920 Mar 28, Thomas Masaryk was
elected president of Czechoslovakia.
1920 Jun 4, The Treaty of
Trianon, signed at Versailles, was forced upon Hungary by the
victorious Allies after WWII and resulted in Hungary giving up
nearly three-fourths of its territory to Romania, Czechoslovakia and
the Kingdom of Serbs, Croat and Slovenes. Hungary lost more than
half its population, including some 3 million Hungarians. Hungary
ceded the hills of Transylvania to Romania.
(HNQ, 7/5/98)(WSJ, 1/2/97,
1920 Jun 4, After the treaty of
Trianon was signed the Danube river became the official border
between Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
1920 Aug 10, Allies recognized
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania.
1921 Jan 25, Karel Capek's "
R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots (1920)," premiered in Prague. The
play introduced the term robot (robota for forced labor).
1921 Oct 23, Leos Janacek
(1854-1928) completed his opera "Katya Kabanov," and it premiered in
Brno. It was inspired by Alexander Ostrovsky’s mid 19th century play
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A7)(WSJ, 1/16/98, p.A12)(MC,
1921 Nov 27, Alexander Dubcek
(d.1992), headed Czech Communist Party (1968-69), was born.
1922 Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
authored his novel “The Castle."
(WSJ, 8/7/07, p.D10)
1922 The game of kickball, a
mixture between baseball and soccer, was invented in Czechoslovakia.
(Econ, 10/22/05, p.35)
1924 Jun 3, Franz Kafka
(b.1883), Czech writer, died. He was born in Prague and authored
"The Castle" and "The Trial," both published after his death. Kafka
had requested that his papers be burned after his death, but his
friend, Max Brod, kept them and carried them to Tel Aviv when he
fled Prague in 1939. Brod died in 1968 and left his personal
secretary, Esther Hoffe, in charge of his literary estate and
instructed her to transfer the Kafka papers to an academic
institution. A critical German edition of The Castle was published
in 1982 and an English translation of that edition came out in 1998.
In 1927 Max Brod edited Kafka’s unfinished manuscript called "The
Man Who Disappeared" and published it as "Amerika." In 2005 Roberto
Calasso authored “K," a contemporary evaluation of Kafka’s work. In
2010 more of Kafka’s unfinished work emerged from safety deposit
boxes in Tel Aviv and Zurich, Switzerland.
(WSJ, 10/10/96, p.A1)(SFEC, 4/5/98, BR
p.11)(SSFC, 12/8/02, p.M4)(SSFC, 2/20/05, p.B1)(SFC, 8/18/08,
1926 Karel Reisz (d.2002), film
director, was born in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. He fled Nazi
occupation in 1938. His film career began in Britain and moved on to
Hollywood where his work included “The French Lieutenant’s Woman."
(SFC, 11/28/02, p.A30)
1926 Leos Janacek composed his
opera “The Makropulos Case."
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-7)(WSJ, 2/26/00, p.A20)
1928 Jul 2, Pavel Kohout, Czech
author (Poor Murderer), was born.
1928 Aug 12, Leos Janacek
(b.1854), Czech composer, conductor (Sly Little Fox), died. His work
included "The Diary of One Who Vanished" based on 22 poems by Josef
Kalda of a young farm boy seduced by a Gypsy girl.
(WSJ, 1/3/96, p.A-7)(WSJ, 6/12/01, p.A20)(MC,
1929 Apr 1, Milan Kundera,
Czech writer (The Farewell Party), was born. His novel, “The
Unbearable Lightness of Being," was translated from the Czech in
1984 and was made into a film in 1988.
1929 Aug 8, Josef Suk,
violinist (Artist of Merit-1977), was born in Prague,
1929 The Czech film “Erotikon"
starred Ita Rina and was directed by Gustav Machaty. It was about a
young virgin seduced by a traveling salesman.
(SFC, 4/24/99, p.E8)
1930 In Czechoslovakia Villa
Tugendhat, a Modernist masterpiece by legendary German architect
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was completed in Brno. It was commissioned
by Grete and Fritz Tugendhats, co-owners of wool factories and part
of a large German-speaking Jewish community in the city. In 2012 a
two-year, $9 million renovation was completed.
1931 The Czech film “From
Saturday to Sunday" was directed by Gustav Machaty.
(SFC, 4/24/99, p.E8)
1932 Feb 18, Milos Forman,
Czech-US director (Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus), was born.
1932 The Czech film “Ecstasy"
with Hedy Lamarr swimming nude was directed by Gustav Machaty. Her
nude run through the woods created a scandal. It featured the first
on camera orgasm.
(WSJ, 2/21/97, p.B15B)(SFEC, 10/11/97, DB
p.35)(SFC, 2/13/98, p.C5)(SFC, 4/24/99, p.E8)(SFEC, 5/9/99, DB p.15)
1934 Jun 22, "Dr. Ing. h.c. F.
Porsche GmbH, Konstruktionen und Beratung für Motoren- und
Fahrzeugbau" received the go-ahead from the "Reichsverband der
Automobilindustrie (RDA)" (the Association of the German Reich of
the Automotive Industry) to construct and build the Volkswagen.
Hitler had asked Ferdinand Porsche Sr., owner of a consulting and
design firm, to build a "people’s car," from which resulted the
Volkswagen. Porsche took the design from the Tatra T97 of
Czechoslovakia’s Hans and Erich Ledwinka.
p.B12)(Econ, 6/28/08, p.20)
1935 May 29, Josef Suk (61)
Czech violinist composer, died at 61.
1936 Oct 5, Václav Havel, Czech
dissident dramatist, was born. He became the first freely elected
president of Czechoslovakia in 55 years (1989-92).
1937 Jul 3, Tom Stoppard,
British author and dramatist, was born in Czechoslovakia as Tomas
Strassler. His plays include "Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead"
and "The Real Thing." His family soon fled the Nazis to Singapore.
In 2002 Ira Nadel authored the biography “Tom Stoppard: A Life."
(HN, 7/3/99)(MC, 7/3/02)(SSFC, 9/1/02, p.M5)
1937 Sep 14, TG Masaryk
(b.1886), the first president of Czechoslovakia, died in Bohemia.
1938 Feb 20, Hitler demanded
self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia. As
Hitler's quest for Lebensraum ("living space") expanded into
Czechoslovakia, thousands of Czechoslovakian soldiers and airmen
escaped to participate in the liberation of their country.
1938 Mar 12, Germany invaded
Austria after the Austrian Nazi Pary invited German troops to march
in and the union came to be know as the Anschluss. Hitler took over
Austria and a chunk of Czechoslovakia. The Nazis took over Austria
and expelled all Jews and other political opponents from the
(WUD, 1994, p.1682)(TL, 1988, p.111)(TMC, 1994,
p.1938) (StuAus, April '95, p.18)
1938 Sep 12, In a speech in
Nuremberg, Adolf Hitler demanded self-determination for the Sudeten
Germans in Czechoslovakia.
1938 Sep 21, Winston Churchill
condemned Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia.
1938 Sep 25, President Franklin
Roosevelt urged negotiations between Hitler and Czech President
Benes over the Sudetenland.
1938 Sep 26, Hitler issued his
ultimatum to Czech government, demanding Sudentenland.
1938 Sep 29, British, French,
German and Italian leaders signed the Munich Agreement, which was
aimed at appeasing Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of
Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, inhabited by a German-speaking
minority. The treaty ceded three areas of Czechoslovakia to other
powers: the Sudetenland was annexed into Germany, the Teschen
district was given to Poland, and parts of Slovakia went to Hungary.
British PM Neville Chamberlain gained a brief peace agreement from
Hitler at Munich and without consulting the Czechs agreed that Nazi
forces could occupy Sudetenland. Some mark this "appeasement policy"
as the decisive event of the century. Chamberlain predicted "peace
in our time." French PM Edouard Daladier was very depressed from the
meeting. In 1980 Telford Taylor published "Munich: The Price of
Peace." It is a detailed political & diplomatic history of the
1930's in Europe, culminating in the Munich conference. Taylor later
helped write the rules for Nuremberg Trials. In 2008 David Vaughan
authored “Battle for the Airwaves: Radio and the 1938 Munich
6/9/96, Z1 p.5)(SFC, 6/16/96, Z1 p.6)(WSJ, 6/8/98, p.A21)(AP,
9/29/06)(SFC, 5/26/98, p.B2)(Econ, 10/11/08, p.115)
1938 Oct 1, Germany annexed
Sudetenland (1/3 of Czech Republic).
1938 Oct 10, Germany completed
its annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.
1938 Oct 20, Czechoslovakia,
complying with Nazi policy, outlawed the Communist Party and began
1938 Nov 21, Nazi forces
occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German
citizens. This annexation of Sudetenland was the first major
belligerent action by Hitler. The allies chose to sit still for it
in return for a promise of "peace in our time," which Hitler later
1938 The documentary film
“Crises" was made by Herbert Kline. It was about the German conquest
(SFC, 2/12/99, p.A24)
1938 In Czechoslovakia Anny K.
Maass (d.1998 at 89) became the first female attorney. She was
stripped of her profession when the Nazis invaded a year later.
(SFC, 8/12/98, p.C4)
1939 Mar 9, Czech President
Emil Hacha ousted pro-German Joseph Tiso as the Premier of Slovakia
in order to preserve Czech unity.
1939 Mar 14, In Czechoslovakia
the first 20 Jewish children bound for London left Prague on a train
as part of a program organized by Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), a
London stockbroker. By September he managed to get out seven of
eight train loads carrying 669 children. The 8th train, carrying 250
children, disappeared on September 1 as Hitler invaded Poland and
all borders were closed.
(SFC, 7/2/15, p.A6)
1939 Mar 14, The republic of
Czechoslovakia was dissolved, opening the way for Nazi occupation of
Czech areas and the separation of Slovakia.
1939 Mar 15, Germany occupied
Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
(Voruta #27-28, Jul 1996, p.2)(WSJ, 12/12/96,
1939 Mar 15, The Republic of
Carpatho-Ukraine, led by Avhustyn Voloshyn (d.1945), declared
independence amid the Nazi dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.
Independence ending that same evening by an invasion from Hungary.
In 1946 the area became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist
Republic, as the Zakarpattia Oblast ('Transcarpathian Oblast').
After the break-up of the Soviet Union, it became part of
independent Ukraine as Zakarpattia Oblast.
1939 Mar 16, Germany occupied
the rest Czechoslovakia.
1939 Apr, In Czechoslovakia
Alois Elias, an army general, became prime minister more than a
month after the occupation of his country by Nazi Germany began. He
maintained ties with the exiled Czechoslovak government in London
and supported underground resistance at home throughout his term. He
was sentenced to death in October 1941 for high treason and
espionage and was executed on June 19, 1942.
1939 Jul 14, Alphonse Mucha
(b.1860), Moravia born artist, died in Czechoslovakia. He created
the 20 canvasses which make up his Slav Epic from 1912-1926. In 1928
he and American millionaire Charles Crane presented the work as a
gift to the city of Prague.
1939 Sep 1, A transport train
carrying 250 children from Czechoslovakia disappeared as Germany
invaded Poland. It was the last transport organized by English
stockbroker Nicholas Winton (1909-2015).
(Econ, 7/11/15, p.82)
1939 Oct 28, Anti-German
demonstrations and strikes took place in Czechoslovakia.
1939 Nov 12, Lucia Popp,
soprano (Die Zauberflote), was born in Uhorsk Ves, Czechoslovakia.
1939 Nov 24, In Czechoslovakia,
the Gestapo executed 120 students who were accused of anti-Nazi
1939 Nicholas Winton (b.1909),
English stockbroker, saved 669 Jewish children by organizing train
transport from Prague to London at the outbreak of World War II. In
2007 the Czech Rep. awarded Sir Nicholas Winton (98) the Cross of
Merit of the 1st class for saving the children. In 2001 the
biography, “Nicholas Winton and the Rescued Generation," by Muriel
Emmanuel and Vera Gissing was published. The documentary film
“Nicholas J Winton - the Power of Good," was shown in September 2001
in Prague, where Sir Nicholas met 250 of those he saved.
1939 Nazis seized the
Koh-i-noor snap button factory in Prague, owned by Zikmund Waldes,
during their occupation of Czechoslovakia. In 2014 the Czech Rep.
Constitutional Court confirmed a 2010 verdict, which overturned a
2009 Supreme Court ruling and all previous rulings of lower courts
that found in favor of three relatives of Waldes. Heirs will also
not get back a collection of some 20 paintings that were housed in
1940-1945 The Benes decrees were issued by Pres.
Edvard Benes, head of the Czechoslovak government in exile. Part of
the decrees later dealt with the status of Germans and Hungarians in
postwar Czechoslovakia. From 1945-1948 they were used to legalize
brutal measures against the country’s German and Hungarian
1941 Oct, In Czechoslovakia PM
Alois Elias was sentenced to death for high treason and espionage.
He was executed on June 19, 1942.
1941-1942 About 80,000 Czech Jews were rounded up
and sent to Terezin, a holding camp, prior to being sent to
Auschwitz. The survival rate was 10%.
(SFC, 2/4/97, p.A2)
1941-1945 In Theresienstadt the German SS ran
Jewish ghetto as a holding station for Jews on their way to death
1942 May 27, Nazi overlord and
SS general Reinhard Heydrich critically wounded in Prague by Czech
commandos, who had parachuted in and ambushed his car. Hitler
promptly ordered the deaths of 10,000 residents of Lidice, near
Prague. Heydrich died of his wounds on June 4. The commandos had
been sheltered in Lidice and as a result the entire population was
either executed or driven out. This has become a hallmark of Nazi
brutality. Heydrich was the man charged with "The Final Solution of
the Jewish Problem." Heydrich was responsible for the development of
an espionage system outside Germany. As an SS general he was the
first administrator of the concentration camps and the program to
eliminate Jews from Europe.
1942 May 30, Reichsfuhrer
Heinrich Himmler arrived in Prague.
1942 Jun 10, German
Gestapo massacred 173 male residents of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, in
retaliation for the killing of SS Gen Reinhard Heydrich. All
together, 340 people died in the Nazi reprisal (192 men, 60 women
and 88 children). The death toll resulting from the effort to avenge
the death of Heydrich is estimated at 1,300. This count includes
relatives of the partisans, their supporters, Czech elites suspected
of disloyalty and random victims like those from Lidice.
1942 Jun 18, John Kubris (28),
Czech resistance fighter, killed Nazi SS leader Reinhard Heydrich,
1942 Jun 18, Adolf Opalka,
Czech resistance fighter, was shot down.
1942 Jun 19, In Czechoslovakia
PM Alois Elias, sentenced to death in October 1941 for high treason
and espionage, was executed. In 2006 his ashes were buried with
1942 Sep, In Theresienstadt
some 50,000 Jews were held in crowded conditions by the German SS
and half the inmates died that year from disease.
1942 The opera Brundibar by
Hans Krasa was 1st performed at a Prague orphanage. It had been
intended for a 1938 government competition. It was later performed
at the Terezin concentration camp. Krasa died at Auschwitz Oct 17,
(WSJ, 2/7/03, p.D8)
1942 A camp was set up for
Gypsies at Lety. Some 1,300 inmates passed through and at least 300
died from the harsh living conditions. Communist authorities set up
a pig farm on the site in the 1970s. Makus Pape later authored a
book on Lety.
(SFC, 12/10/99, p.AA8)
1942 Alice Sommer Herz (39) of
Prague and her son were sent to the Nazi camp at Theresienstadt. It
was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of
Terezin, Czechoslovakia. In 2011 a new documentary about Alice
Sommer Herz was made public. In 2010 Alice, the world's oldest
Holocaust survivor, was about to celebrate her 107th birthday.
"Music is God," she said.
1943 Dec 12, The exiled Czech
government signed a treaty with the USSR for postwar cooperation.
1944 Oct 6, Soviets marched
into Hungary and Czechoslovakia. [see Oct 18]
1944 Oct 18, Soviet troops
invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II.
1944 Rudolf Vrba (1925-2006), a
Jew from Czechoslovakia, and Alfred Wetzler, a Hungarian Jewish
leader, escaped from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. They made
their way to a Czech safe house and dictated a report that became
known as the Auschwitz Protocols, a seminal Holocaust document
containing eyewitness accounts of the atrocities. In 1963 Vrba
published a memoir entitled, "I Cannot Forget," which was eventually
released in six languages.
1945 May 5, There was an
uprising against SS-occupation troops in Prague.
1945 May 9, Czechoslovakia was
liberated from Nazi occupation (Nat’l Day). Soviet commander Ivan
Stepanovic Konev (1897-1973) led the Red Army forces that liberated
large parts of Czechoslovakia.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_uprising)(SFC, 8/22/18, p.A3)
1945 Jun 29, Ruthenia, formerly
in Czechoslovakia, became part of Ukrainian SSR.
1945 Aug 26, Franz Werfel (54),
Czech-German-US poet, writer (Mirror Man), died.
1945 Dec 31, Czechoslovakia
began forcing the German population of the Sudetenland back to
(WSJ, 11/25/96, p.A15)
1945 Slovakia reunited with the
1945 Eduard Benes returned from
exile in London to Prague, and set up a government. Under the "Benes
decrees" millions of Germans, Austrian and Hungarians were
dispossessed and expelled.
(Econ, 12/6/03, p.45)
1946 Jul 13, The first Karlovy
Vary Int’l. Film Festival (Mezinárodní Filmový Festival
Karlovy Vary) was held in Czechoslovakia. Its first two years were
non-competitive showcases. The competition was started in 1948 and
with the exceptions of 1953 and 1955 the festival was held annually
until 1958. From 1960 on to 1992 it was alternating with the Moscow
Film Festival, being celebrated annually again since 1994.
1946 The 1940 opera “Betrothal"
by Prokofiev had its premiere in Prague. The plot was based on the
1775 comedy “The Duenna" by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
(SFC, 11/25/98, p.D1)
1948 Feb 20, Czechoslovakia's
non-communist minister resigned.
1948 Feb 25, Communists seized
power in Czechoslovakia in a coup d’etat.
(AP, 2/25/98)(SFC, 3/13/98, p.A6)
1948 Mar 10, Jan Masaryk
(b.1886), son of the first president of Czechoslovakia and
anti-Communist foreign minister, was found dead in the courtyard of
Czernin Palace in Prague. He had dropped 45 feet from a window and
the case remained unsolved.
1948 Jun 7, The Communists
completed their takeover of Czechoslovakia with the resignation of
President Eduard Benes.
1948 Czech runner Emil Zatopek
(1922-2000) won a gold and a silver medal at the Olympic games in
1948 Jaroslav Skala
(1916-2007), a psychiatrist, established the first Czech center for
treatment of people addicted to alcohol as part of a clinic in
Prague. He headed the institution until his retirement in 1982.
1948 Marie Provaznikova, Czech
athlete, became the first to defect from a Communist country during
the Olympics in London.
1948 Ctirad Masin (1930-2011),
his brother Josef and Milan Paumer became part of a resistance cell
after the communists took power in Czechoslovakia. They killed two
policemen while trying to capture arms in a police station, and also
killed a cashier during a robbery to raise funds for their sabotage
operations. In 1953, they fled to the West, killing 3 police
officers in East Germany during their escape as tens of thousands of
police searched for them. 2 other members of the cell were captured,
sentenced to death and executed.
1949 Jan 1, Czechoslovakia
announced a 5-year plan to attain economic independence from the
(EWH, 1968, p.1186)
1949 Jun, Czechoslovakia
founded its own Catholic action committee to take the direction of
Church affairs away from Archbishop Beran and the Church hierarchy.
(EWH, 1968, p.1186)
1949 Jun 20, The Vatican, as a
counter measure, excommunicated all active supporters of Communism
(EWH, 1968, p.1187)
1949 Oct 14, In Czechoslovakia
the government assumed full control over Church affairs and required
all clergy to swear an oath of loyalty to the state. Most of the
lower clergy complied.
(EWH, 1968, p.1187)
1949 Czech secret police shot
and killed two people. Their prosecution in 1965 was covered up by
Lubomir Strougal. Strougal faced coverup charges in 2001.
(SFC, 8/1/01, p.A9)
1949 Czech Gen. Heliodor Pika
was executed after being found guilty of spying for British
intelligence during and after WW II. In 2001 a court convicted
former prosecutor Karel Vas for inserting forged documents into
Pika’s file. Vas (85) was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
(SFC, 6/16/01, p.A7)
1950 Feb 25, In Czechoslovakia
Josef Toufar (b.1902), a Catholic priest was tortured to death by
investigators after the secret police claimed he staged a fake
miracle in his church in Cihost where a cross began to move for no
obvious reason during a Mass.
1950 Jun 27, Milada Horakova
(b.1901), a Czechoslovak politician, was executed by Communists on
trumped-up charges of conspiracy and treason. As a one of few women
ever executed in Czechoslovakia she is regarded as a symbol of
anti-Communist resistance for her firm and courageous stance during
her trial. In 2007 Ludmila Brozova-Polednova (86), former communist
prosecutor, was found guilty of a charge of abetting judicial
1950 In Czechoslovakia the
communist government confiscated church property and arrested more
than 13,000 priests and religious and put them in concentration
1950 Milan Kundera (b.1929),
later renowned as a Czech writer, informed on Miroslav Dvoracek, who
had been recruited in Germany by the Czech emigre intelligence
network to work as a spy against the Communist regime. Dvoracek was
later sentenced to 22 years in prison and eventually served 14,
working in uranium mines. Kundera had joined the Communist Party as
a student, but was later expelled after criticizing its totalitarian
nature. This information was only made public in 2008.
(AP, 10/13/08)(Econ, 10/18/08, p.98)
1951 Feb 26, Bread rationing
began in Czechoslovakia.
1951 Apr 23, In Czechoslovakia
American reporter William N. Oatis (1914-1997) was arrested in
Prague. Secret police put him in isolation and deprived him of sleep
and food. Historians agree that this psychological torture coerced
1951 Jul 4, In Czechoslovakia
American reporter William N. Oatis was convicted and sentenced to 10
years in a communist prison on trumped-up espionage charges. three
Czech AP colleagues who were sentenced with him. Oatis was pardoned
in May 1953. During the 1960s, Czechoslovak judicial reviewers
exonerated Oatis, but this finding was overturned in 1968 after the
Soviet Union-led invasion of Warsaw Pact troops ousted Alexander
Dubcek's reformist government. In 1990, as the Soviet empire
tottered, he was quietly cleared again. Audio tapes of the 3-day
trial emerged in 2012.
1951 Karel Teige (b.1900),
Avant-Garde Czech graphic designer, architectural theorist,
playwright, actor, painter and printmaker, died.
(WSJ, 6/20/01, p.A16)
1952 Czech runner Emil Zatopek
(1922-2000) won three gold medals at the Olympic games in Helsinki.
1952 Rudolf Slansky, a
Czechoslovak Communist leader, was sentenced to death after a show
trial with 13 other officials, including government ministers. The
trial was deemed anti-Semitic because Slansky and most of the
officials were Jewish.
1953 Dec 24, 2 speeding express
trains crashed head-on killing 103 in Czechoslovakia.
1953 Klement Gottwald (b.1896),
leader of the Czech Communist Party, died. His embalmed body was
placed in a mausoleum in Prague until 1962, when it was buried.
(SFC, 9/10/08, p.A5)
1954 Jan 21, In Czechoslovakia
Frantisek Stransky died when a test prototype of the Oskar 54
microcar crashed. In 1956, the vehicle's name was changed to
"Velorex - Oskar" and then just to "Velorex". In 1959 the company
produced 120 vehicles per month. Beginning in 1936, the brothers
Frantisek (1914 - 1954) and Mojmír (1924) Stransky, owners of a
bicycle repair shop in village Parnik near Česká Třebová, started
with the design of a small, cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by
three-wheelers from Morgan Motor Company.
1954 The IMF expelled
Czechoslovakia, ostensibly for failing to provide adequate
statistics, though the cold war probably had more to do with it.
(Econ, 2/9/13, p.38)
1954-1959 The names of 77,297 Czech Jews were put
on the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. The memorial was
closed in 1968. It was renovated after the collapse of the Communist
regime and re-opened in 1996.
1955 May 14, Representatives
from eight Communist bloc countries: Soviet Union, Albania,
Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland &
Romania, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland. Andras Hegedues signed
(AP, 5/14/97)(SFC, 10/26/99, p.B4)(MC, 5/14/02)
1955 Czech composer Martinu
wrote his orchestral triptych "The Frescoes of Piero della
(SFC, 3/21/00, p.B2)
1956 Aug, Yasser Arafat
attended an int’l. student congress in Prague and secured membership
(WSJ, 11/12/04, p.A11)
1956 Oct 18, Martina
Navratilova, Czechoslovakian-born tennis player, was born.
1956 Otto Wichterle (d.1998 at
84), Czech scientist, invented soft contact lenses.
(SFC, 8/20/98, p.B4)
1957 Nov 18, Antonin Novotny
(1904-1975) was appointed president of Czechoslovakia and served to
1958 The Czechoslovakian film
“The Fabulous World of Jules Verne" was produced.
(SFEM, 2/6/99, p.4)
1958 The Theater on the
Balustrade was founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Founders Helena
Philipova, Ivan Vyskocil, Jiri Suchy and Vladimir Vodicka named
their professional theater after a street leading from the square to
1960 Mar 7, Ivan Lendl, tennis
pro (US Open 1985-87), was born in Czechoslovakia.
1960 Nov 14, In Czechoslovakia
2 passenger trains collided at high-speed killing 110 people.
1961 Otto Wichterle, Czech
chemist, introduced the world’s 1st soft plastic contact lenses.
(Econ, 3/12/05, TQ p.12)
1962 Oct 19, A Stalin monument
was removed in Prague.
1963 Vaclav Havel, later
president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Rep. (1990-2003),
published his first play: “The Garden Party." It was first performed
at the Theatre on the Balustrade in Prague.
(SFC, 1/6/97, p.B1)(Econ, 12/31/11, p.32)
1963-1968 Jozef Lenart (d.2004) served as prime
minister of Czechoslovakia.
1964 Czech Rep. film director
Jan Nemec (d.2016), a representative of the new wave of Czechoslovak
cinema, debuted "Diamonds of the Night," about two boys escaping
from a transport to a Nazi death camp.
1965 May 1, In Czechoslovakia
Allen Ginsberg was crowned King of May at the Prague May Day
(SFEC, 4/6/97, p.A10)
1965 Bohumil Hrabal (1915-1997)
wrote “Closely Watched Trains." In the 1980s he wrote “I Served the
King of England."
(SFC, 2/4/97, p.A16)
1965 Milos Forman filmed “Loves
of a Blond" and Ivan Passer did “Intimate Lightning."
(WSJ, 1/24/97, p.A13)
1965 Lubomir Strougal served as
interior minister and protected members of the secret police from
possible prosecution for murders in 1949.
(SFC, 8/1/01, p.A9)
1965 Czechoslovakia adopted the
economic ideas of Ota Sik (1920-2004) to improve on stagnant
industrial growth. His “new economic model" called for limited
reforms of the Soviet system including less central planning.
(SFC, 8/25/04, p.B7)
1966 The Czech film “Marketa
Lazarova" was directed by Frantisek Vlacil.
(SFEC, 4/13/97, DB p.44)
1966 Film director Jan Nemec
(79), a representative of the new wave of Czechoslovak cinema
directed "Report on the Party and Guests," targeting totalitarian
1967 Milan Kundera’s 1st novel,
“The Joke," was published in Czechoslovakia under the title “Zert."
(SSFC, 11/3/02, p.M3)
1967 The film “Closely Watched
Trains" was directed by Jiri Menzel. It was based on the novel by
Bohumil Hrabal (1915-1997).
(SFC, 2/4/97, p.A16)
1968 Jan 5, Alexander Dubcek
(1921-1992) was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party in
1968 Mar 30, General Ludvik
Svoboda (1895-1979) was elected president of Czechoslovakia. He
stayed in office to 1975.
1968 Apr 8, In Czechoslovakia a
new government was formed under Oldrich Cernik.
1968 May, The USSR KGB head
Yuri Andropov, worried about the “Prague Spring," ordered 15 agents
to target the intellectual elite in Czechoslovakia. This was the
first such KGB action against a Warsaw Pact ally. This was reported
after documents were released in 2014, copies of KGB files smuggled
out of Russia in 1992 by senior KGB official Vasili Mitrokhin.
1968 Aug 20, Some 650,000
Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact troops began invading
Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization drive of
Alexander Dubcek's regime. In 2015 Czech historians Prokop Tomek and
Ivo Pejcoch authored “Black Book of the Soviet Occupation" in which
they documented all known victims of the Soviet-led invasion and
crackdown on the Prague Spring. A total of 135, more than originally
thought, were killed in the 1968 in military operations. In
following years, road accidents involving military vehicles killed
248, while 12 were murdered.
(AP, 8/20/97)(SFC, 8/25/04, p.B7)(AP, 8/20/15)
1968 Aug 21, The Soviet Union
and other Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the
"Prague Spring" liberalization drive led by Alexander Dubcek.
1968 Aug 22, A Soviet-led
invasion crushed the Prague Spring reforms. In 1997 3 Communist
Party leaders, Milos Jakes, Karel Hoffmann and Joseph Lenart,
were accused of conspiring with the Soviets. In 1976 Prof. H. Gordon
Skilling authored “Czechoslovakia’s Interrupted Revolution."
(SFC, 5/3/97, p.A10)(SFC, 3/19/01, p.A19)
1968 Aug 25, In Moscow’s Red
Square eight dissidents (the "Magnificent Eight"), including
Konstantin Babitsky, Larisa Bogoraz (d.2004), Vladim Delaunay,
Vladimir Dremliuga, Viktor Fainberg, Natalia Gorbanevskaya
(1936-2013), Pavel Litvinov and Tatiana Baeva, came out in the Red
Square to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and
paid for it with years of lagers, exile and "special" mental
4/8/04, p.B7)(Econ, 12/7/13, p.94)(AP, 6/8/18)
1968 Sep 11, The Soviet troops
started leaving Prague for the countryside. At the beginning of
October, the Czechoslovak leadership went to Moscow to negotiate
"normalization". As an outcome, the political leaders remained in
office and submitted to the Soviet demands.
1968 Sep 13, Albania officially
withdrew from the Warsaw Pact. Albania had condemned the August
Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
1968 Sep, In Czechoslovakia the
Plastic People of the Universe band was founded by Milan Hlavsa
(d.2001 at 49).
(WSJ, 7/22/98, p.A12)(SFC, 1/8/01, p.A19)
1968 Oct, Miloslava
Rezkova-Hubnerovawon (1950-2014) won the gold medal for
Czechoslovakia in women's high jump in Mexico City.
1968 The documentary film
“Czechoslovakia 1968" was a 20-minute production by the US
1968 Ladislav Bittman
(1931-2018), a Cold War spy for Czechoslovakia, defected to West
Germany and sought asylum in the US, where he changed his name to
Lawrence Michael Martin. He later added Bittman to his surname.
(SSFC, 9/23/18, p.C9)
1969 Jan 16, In Czechoslovakia
philosophy student Jan Palach (20) poured petrol over himself in
protest of the Soviet-led occupation. With burns to 85 percent of
his body, Palach died on January 19, 1969.
1969 Apr 17, Czechoslovak
Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek (1921-1992), considered
the architect of Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring, was deposed.
1970 The Plastic People of the
Universe band lost their Czechoslovak government license due to
nonconformity and went underground with support from Vaclav Havel.
(SFC, 1/8/01, p.A19)
1970-1988 Lubomir Strougal served as prime
minister of Czechoslovakia.
1972 Jan 26, A DC-9 exploded
over Serbska Kamenice, Czechoslovakia, and attendant Vesna Vulovic
dropped 33,300 feet and survived following a 27-day coma and a
16-month recovery. The cause of the explosion has never been
established, but was attributed by the Yugoslav and Czechoslovakian
authorities to a bomb placed on the plane by a Croatian Terrorist
group, known as the Ustasa.
(SFEC, 3/14/99, Z1
1972 Nov 12, Rudolf Friml (92),
Czech-US composer (Bohemian suite), died.
1973 Mar 7, Dr. Lubos Kohoutek,
Czech astronomer, used a double exposure and discovered the comet
Kohoutek then 370 million miles from earth.
(NG, Aug., 1974,
1973 Jul 28, In Czechoslovakia
a retired major of the communist secret police heard 4 people
singing an anti-communist song and called the police. They were
convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to up to one year behind
bars. In 2011 The Czech Supreme Court canceled the sentence. Ivan
Martin Jirous, a poet and artistic leader of the Plastic People of
the Universe, a nonconformist rock band banned by the communist
regime, was among the four.
1973 The Czech government
revoked the performance license of The Plastic People of the
(SFEC, 3/7/99, DB p.35)
1974 The Czech Plastic People
of the Universe band secretly recorded its first album: “Egon
Bondy’s Happy Hearts Club Banned."
(WSJ, 7/22/98, p.A12)(SFEC, 3/7/99, DB p.35)
1974 Soviet and Czech
technicians began carrying out what they called “chemical mining"
for uranium below the town of Straz pod Ralskem. By 1996 some 4.2
million tons of sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals were pumped
in to leach out the uranium. In 2008 a cleanup firm estimated that
the site should be stabilized by 2035.
(Econ, 5/31/08, SR p.11)
1974 British Labor Party
legislator John Stonehouse, a former communications minister who
also acted as an informant to the Czechs through the 1960s, faked a
suicide, leaving a bundle of his clothes on a beach in Miami. He was
discovered less than a month later hiding out in Melbourne,
Australia. Papers released in 2010 by the National Archives showed
that, after he had been exposed, Britain's government covered up his
activities as there was too little evidence to put him on trial.
1975 Sep 5, Czech tennis ace
Martina Navratilova asked for political asylum in NYC.
1975 Sep 6, Czechoslovak tennis
star Martina Navratilova, in New York for the US Open, requested
political asylum. [see Sep 5]
1976 The Czech Plastic People
of the Universe band was arrested by the Communist government. At a
public trial 2 band members were sentenced and imprisoned for 1 1/2
(WSJ, 7/22/98, p.A12)(SFEC, 3/7/99, DB p.35)
1977 Mar 13, Jan Patocka
(b.1907), Czech philosophy professor and one of the three founding
spokesmen of “Charter 77," died following a grueling 11-hour
1977 The 1976 trial of the
Plastic People of the Universe band prompted Vaclav Havel and Czech
dissidents to draft “Charter 77, a human rights manifesto. In 1981
H. Gordon Skilling (d.2001 at 89) authored “Charter 77 and Human
Rights in Czechoslovakia."
(WSJ, 7/22/98, p.A12)(SFEC, 3/7/99, DB p.35)
1977 Donald Trump first
appeared on the Russians’ radar when he married his first wife,
Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech model. Trump became the target of a spying
operation overseen by Czechoslovakia’s intelligence service in
cooperation with the KGB.
(The Guardian, 1/29/21)
1978 Mar 2, Czech pilot
Vladimir Remek became the first non-Russian, non-American in space.
1978-1984 The Czech "Asanace" (Sanitation) program
focused on some 50 dissidents, signatories of the Charter 77 human
rights manifesto. It resorted to threats and harsh interrogations to
intimidate them and force them to leave the country. In 2001 Czech
Interior Minister Jaromir Obzina (d.2003) was charged with
abuse of power for his role in the operation.
1979 Czech playwright and
dissident Vaclav Havel was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He was
released early in 1983.
(Econ, 12/31/11, p.33)
1980 Feb 15, Zdenka Vavrova,
Czech astronomer discovered asteroid #3592.
1980 In Czechoslovakia a
monument was unveiled in the Prague 6 district for Marshall Konev,
who led the Red Army forces that liberated large parts of the
country from the Nazi occupation in 1945. Konev remained a
controversial figure for his role in crushing the 1956 anti-Soviet
uprising in Hungary and preparing the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of
1984 Jaroslav Seifert, Czech
writer, won the Nobel Prize for literature.
(SFC, 3/30/02, p.A19)
1985 Mar 7, George Schick (76),
Czech conductor (Chicago Symphony), died.
1988 Nov 13, Former
Czechoslovakia leader Alexander Dubcek received an honorary degree
in Italy, the first time he was allowed outside his country in 18
1988 In Czechoslovakia
Jiri Ruml (1925-2004) helped re-launch Lidove Noviny, becoming its
editor-in-chief. The Lidove Noviny daily had been an established
paper until the communists took power in 1948 in then-Czechoslovakia
and banned the anti-communist publication.
1989 Jan, Czech playwright and
dissident Vaclav Havel was sentenced to 8 months in prison for
hooliganism. His jailing sparked outrage and he was released in
(Econ, 12/31/11, p.33)
1989 Oct 3, In a move to stem
the flow of refugees to the West, East Germany suspended
unrestricted travel to Czechoslovakia.
1989 Nov 1, East Germany
reopened its border with Czechoslovakia, prompting tens of thousands
of refugees to flee to the West.
1989 Nov 17, In Prague,
Czechoslovakia, a protest began as a legal rally to commemorate the
death of Jan Opletal, but turned instead into a demonstration
demanding democratic reforms. Riot police stopped the students
halfway in their march, in Narodni Trida. After a stand-off in which
the students offered flowers to the riot police and showed no
resistance, the police began beating the young demonstrators with
night sticks. The six-week period between November 17 and December
29, 1989, also known as the "Velvet Revolution" brought about the
bloodless overthrow of the Czechoslovak communist regime.
1989 Nov 20, More than 200,000
people rallied peacefully in Prague, Czechoslovakia, demanding
democratic reforms and the ouster of Communist Party leader Milos
1989 Nov 23, At least 300,000
people jammed Prague's Wenceslas Square to demand democratic reforms
1989 Nov 24, Czechoslovakia's
hard-line Communist party leadership resigned after more than a week
of protests against its policies.
1989 Nov 25, More than 500,000
demonstrators gathered in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where they scoffed
at a Communist Party shakeup and cheered Alexander Dubcek, the
reformer ousted in 1968.
1989 Nov 29, The Czechs ended
the Communist party's 40-year monopoly on power. The revolution in
Czechoslovakia was called the “Velvet Revolution" because of the
(HFA, '96, p.18)(SFEC, 2/2/97, DB. p.34)(AP,
1989 Dec 8, Communist leaders
in Czechoslovakia offered to surrender their control over the
government and accept a minority role in a coalition Cabinet.
1989 Dec 10, Czechoslovakia's
president, Gustav Husak, resigned after swearing in a coalition
cabinet in which Communists were relegated to a minority role.
1989 Dec 28, Alexander Dubcek,
former Czechoslovak Communist leader deposed in 1968 in a Soviet-led
Warsaw Pact invasion, was named chairman of the country's
1989 Dec 29, Playwright Vaclav
Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia, the country's first
non-Communist leader in more than four decades.
1989 Jiri Dienstbier
(1937-2011) became Czechoslovakia’s deputy prime minister and first
post-revolution foreign minister. He continued serving to 1992.
1989 Shirley Temple was
appointed US ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
(SFC, 1/26/06, p.E3)
1990 Feb 21, Addressing the
U.S. Congress, Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel said his nation
welcomed U.S. help after decades of Soviet domination, but also said
Europe should eventually "decide for itself" how long American and
Soviet troops should remain.
1990 Feb 26, USSR agreed to
withdraw all 73,500 troops from Czechoslovakia by July, 1991.
1990 Apr 8, A global conference
of the Prague-based International Romani Union, a coalition of
organizations working to ease the plight of Gypsies, designated this
day as International Day of Roma.
1990 Apr 21, Pope John Paul II
was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people as he visited
Czechoslovakia to help celebrate the nation's peaceful overthrow of
1990 Oct 11, About 60,000
people rallied in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in support of a government
proposal to seize all Communist Party property without compensation.
1990 Nov 17, President Bush, on
the first visit to Czechoslovakia by a US president, told a cheering
crowd of 100,000 in Prague that “America will stand with you"
through hard times ahead.
1990 The Soviets pulled out of
the Hradcany air force base north of Prague, Czechoslovakia, and
left behind some 6,500 tons of jet fuel soaked into nearly 15 acres
of foul-smelling land.
(WSJ, 4/5/96, p.B-3A)(Econ, 5/31/08, SR p.11)
1990 Jul 22, Raymond Mawby
(b.1922), a British ex-Conservative Party lawmaker, died. He had
briefly served as a junior minister in the mid-1960s and had
allegedly provided intelligence to spies working for Czechoslovakia,
then a communist state, for a decade from around 1961 to 1971. In
2012 the British government said it would investigate claims that he
had sold information to communist spies for a decade during the Cold
1990 Radomil Hill, distiller,
began brewing absinthe and selling it to bars in Prague and
(WSJ, 12/24/96, p.A1)
1991 Feb 15, In Visegrad,
Hungary, a declaration of co-operation was signed by Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The 4 became known as the
1991 May 9, Rudolf Serkin,
Bohemia-born US pianist, died in Vermont.
1991 Dec 16, "Europe
Agreements" are signed with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
1992 Jul 3, The president of
Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, was voted out of office as lawmakers
from Slovakia blocked his re-election in parliament.
1992 Jul 20, Vaclav Havel, the
playwright who led the Velvet Revolution against communism, formally
stepped down as president of Czechoslovakia after failing to halt
the country's pending breakup into two entities. He was later
elected president of the Czech Republic.
1992 Nov 7, Alexander Dubcek
(b.1921), former Czechoslovak leader (1968-1969), died in a car
crash. His 1968 failed attempt to loosen the Communist grip became
known as the Prague Spring.
1992 Dec 31, The Nation of
Czechoslovakia officially ended with division into two Nations:
Slovakia and the Czech Republic in 1992. When the country split, all
citizens were deemed to be either Czech or Slovak, based on their
parentage. The vast majority of the Romany living in the Czech
Republic are of Slovak descent, and they had to apply for Czech
citizenship. In 2009 Mary Haimann authored “Czechoslovakia: The
State That Failed."
(HFA, '96, p.44)(SFC, 5/13/96, p.A-8)(Econ,
1992 The Czech film “Elementary
School" by Jan and Zdenek Sverak was nominated for an Oscar for best
(SFEC, 2/2/97, DB. p.34)
1992 The Prague Center on
National Democratic Decision-Making and Conflict Management was
founded with financing by the Levi Strauss Foundation of San
(SFEC, 7/19/98, p.A3)
1993 Jan 1, Czechoslovakia
peacefully split into two new countries, the Czech Republic and
Slovakia. The Slovak people never voted on the 1993 split with the
Czechs. When the country split, all citizens were deemed to be
either Czech or Slovak, based on their parentage. The vast majority
of the Romany living in the Czech Republic are of Slovak descent,
and they had to apply for Czech citizenship. Vladimir Meciar
(b.1942) became the premier of Slovakia and Vaclav Klaus the premier
of the Czech Rep.
9/21/02)(WSJ, 4/26/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 5/13/96, p.A-8)(AP, 1/1/98)
2004 Feb 11, Jozef Lenart (80),
a former Czechoslovak prime minister cleared of treason charges for
his alleged role in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the
country's democratic movement, died. He served as prime minister of
Czechoslovakia from 1963-1968 and headed the Slovak Communist Party
until 1988. A Slovak national he acquired Czech citizenship after
Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.
2011 Aug 13, Ctirad Masin (81),
a controversial anti-communist fighter in the former nation of
Czechoslovakia, died in Cleveland, Ohio. He had eluded a massive
East Bloc manhunt during the Cold War.