CHAPTER 6 Masaryk, Father of the Republic

To me the Czech question is the question of human destiny.

THOMAS GARRIGUE MASARYK

THOMAS GARRIGUE MASARYK was the liberator of his country and the father of the Republic.

Representing his country in western Europe, Russia and the United States during the First World War, he dealt with such British leaders as Lloyd George, Balfour, French leaders such as Clemenceau, Poincaré, and finally American leaders such as Woodrow Wilson and Robert Lansing.

Personally, and with the help of Eduard Benes and Milan Stefanik, he did an astonishing job of convincing the Allied leaders that an independent Czechoslovakia (and Yugoslavia and Romania) were not only political, but moral, necessities.

He succeeded, partly because he represented a maffia, a group of Czech politicians in Prague who kept him informed and in turn were in touch with the profound and popular national and democratic forces of their country, forces that had been kept alive during three hundred years of Hapsburg rule by a national literature and music, by an admirable school system and by the Protestant churches.

He succeeded also because, better than any man of his time, he understood and was able to express the significance of his country's moral and intellectual past, its position in relation to the Germans, the Russians, France and England, and the United States, and its significance to the world. In Masaryk, the Czech national awakening reached its culmination.

Masaryk was born March 7, 1850, the son of a Slovak coachman of

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