Semester

Spring

Date of Graduation

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

MA

College

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Department

History

Committtee Chair

Robert Blobaum

Committee Co-Chair

Katherine Aaslestad

Committee Member

James Siekmeier

Abstract

In 2011, a statue of Woodrow Wilson, based on the original erected in 1928, was re-installed at Woodrow Wilson Train Station in the capital of the Czech Republic. The original statue commemorated Wilson's involvement in the creation of interwar Czechoslovakia, and his support for its independence. It also symbolized the democratic ideals which brought the two nations together following the Great War. Woodrow Wilson played a major part in the history and memory of Czechs during their formative years of their state following World War I, a role which has not been forgotten. Today the Wilson statue is the site of ongoing political and national memory construction revealing the multi-layered aspects of Czech national identity and politics. There are three main components to the Czech-American relationship: the importance of the Czech argument of historic right to land, the role of Czech and Slovak immigrant groups in the United States in pressuring the Wilson Administration, and Wilson's worldview and idea of national self-determination Often interdependent, these three themes help explain the dual founding fathers myth of Czechoslovakia of Wilson and Masaryk, as well as the importance of this relationship in the present.

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