20th October 2021

Slovak National Library: Milan Rastislav Štefánik

An exceptional man, scientist and politician, anchored in our consciousness as a national hero, standing at the founding of Czechoslovakia. However, Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880 – 1919) is also considered the founder of modern Slovak diplomacy. His actions inspired several other men who influenced the development of Czechoslovak diplomacy in the 20th century. The life of MR Štefánik and six Czechoslovak diplomats is illustrated by the exhibition Milan Rastislav Štefánik and those who followed him, which is installed from 9 September to 16 October 2021 in the Literary Museum of the Slovak National Library.

The exhibition captures Štefánik’s professional life with an emphasis on activities in the United States of America and his trip to the USA in the summer of 1917. ” The political mission was to get compatriots in America for the idea of ​​a common state of Czechs and Slovaks, “ said the author of the exhibition, Slavomír Michálek.

In the interwar period, Slovak diplomats served in the Czechoslovak foreign service in the most important positions – Štefan Osuský (1889 – 1973) as an ambassador in Paris, Vladimír Svetozár Hurban (1883 – 1949) as an ambassador in Washington, Vladimír Martin Palic (1906 – 1989) as an attaché in Paris and Washington and Juraj Slávik Neresnický (1890 – 1969) in Warsaw. It was the diplomats who, at a critical moment in the expansion of Nazi Germany, worked to maintain the legal continuity of the Czechoslovak Republic and gained international support for the restoration of the republic. They also played an important role in setting up the post-war arrangement and the creation of the United Nations. Slovaks were also present at the founding conference in San Francisco – Vladimír Svetozár Hurban, Ján Papánek (1896 1991) and Ivan Krno (1890 – 1961).
Štefan Osuský, Vladimír S. Hurban, Vladimír M. Palic, Juraj Slávik Neresnický, Ivan Krno and Ján Papánek. Together with Milan R. Štefánik, seven brave Slovaks who left a very significant, deep and indelible mark in the Czechoslovak diplomacy of the 20th century. In addition to the main “profession” of diplomat, there were also Czechoslovak. legionaries, writers, poets, international lawyers. In many ways, their dramatic life and professional destinies shed light not only on the time in which they lived, but also on the context and conditions that influenced their actions and which, in turn, they shaped through their activities. “Before 1918, it is difficult to talk about the Slovak intelligentsia, as during the Austro-Hungarian Empire the nation was relatively decimated. stressed by Slavomír Michálek.

The exhibition was prepared by the Slovak National Library in cooperation with the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the town of Brezová pod Bradlom, the civic association Osobnosti Pod Bradlom and the Dušan S. Jurkovič Museum. The opening will include a professional thematic lecture by PhDr. Slavomír Michálek, director of the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

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