By Andrea Orzoff
Advent: The golden republic -- fable and wartime -- The fort -- Battles of the legend makers -- problems out of the country -- A time of iron and fireplace -- Epilogue
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Additional resources for Battle for the castle : the myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe, 1914-1948
53 Beneš was especially infatuated with Paris, which he saw as “almost miraculously . . ” His time in Germany, by contrast, ﬁlled him with dread. Beneš described the German mindset as “herdlike” and chauvinistic. Europe east of the Rhine seemed to him “intuitivist and mystical,” a “welter of nationalities” prone to “empty mechanical doctrinairism . . ”55 These prejudices—the French and British as somehow both civilized and passionately revolutionary (only in the name of the right cause, of course), the Germans as a faceless, countless army of Prussians, and the rest of Europe as a disorganized, excessively nationalized, overzealous mess in need of correction and a proper model for future development—would linger in Beneš’s postwar politics.
Their work succeeded beyond their wildest imagining. 1 This story—of a few inconsequential professors successfully petitioning the Great Powers, amassing an army, and persuading the world’s leaders to guarantee the existence of a new state—is also the story of the creation of that state’s myth, and its propagation via propaganda. Masaryk, Beneš, and Štefánik devoted an enormous amount of energy and resources I 23 24 Battle for the Castle to propaganda and cultural diplomacy, within and outside governmental circles.
One of the most important arenas for mythical combat was the press. Masaryk and Beneš involved themselves deeply in the aﬀairs of the mass media, founding and abandoning various newspapers and journals, and developing relationships with prominent journalists to propagate their ideas. The Castle also worked to encourage the development of Masaryk’s personality cult; it published pamphlets of his writings, books of photographs showing Masaryk sitting ramrodstraight on horseback or cuddling his grandchildren, and worshipful biographies in almost every European language.