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Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Those Who Followed Him

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Slavomír Michálek

This book presents seven diplomats, seven Slovaks. Milan Rastislav Štefánik, Štefan Osuský, Vladimír S. Hurban, Vladimír M. Palic, Juraj Slávik, Ivan Krno and Ján Papánek. They were also authors, poets, soldiers, politicians, and international lawyers. They represent a selective and subjective sample of Czecho-Slovak diplomats in the fi rst half of the 20th century. The book is focused not only on them as men, but on their stories as well. Their chronicles provide insight into the era, relationships and situations which shaped their actions. These seven lives were linked by common characteristics such as strong national awareness, the fi ght for democracy and Czecho- Slovak statehood, as well as disgust with Nazi and Communist totalitarianism, and firm Lutheran roots. Modern Slovak history, whether viewed internally or in a Central-European or pan-European contexts, underwent dynamic transformation at the beginning of the 20th century.
The entire world began to change and Slovaks were no exception. It is only natural for every nation or state to seek the roots of its national identity. As this identity is embodied by the people and personalities who created it, we perceive the past through their lives. It is a privilege that as a small European nation, Slovaks can say that their dignitaries have succeeded worldwide. It is a great honor that their work can be seen in the Treaty of Trianon, the Declaration of the United Nations, the UN Charter, and everywhere where the voice of freedom and democracy was rising.

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