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Full – History on the 8’s lecture: Dreams of a Great Small Nation
April 7, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
This event has reached capacity. We will be live streaming the presentation on our Facebook page. There will be overflow seating to watch the live stream in the Skala Bartizal Library on a first come basis.
Many significant moments in Czech and Slovak history occurred in years ending in “8.” This lecture series featuring five acclaimed authors and scholars who will put the pivotal events of 1918, 1938, 1948, and 1968 into context and show how they continue to shape our lives in 2018.
Sponsored by GreatAmerica Financial Services, and Gary and Cathy Rozek.
Cost: Free, RSVP required. Seating is limited
Author Kevin J. McNamara will talk about his book, Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe. McNamara’s book provides the historical background and inspiration for the story told in the Guts & Glory exhibition. This presentation will be immediately followed by a book signing by the author. The book is available for purchase online and at the Museum Store.
Kevin J. McNamara is an associate scholar of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, PA, and a former contributing editor to its quarterly journal, Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs. He followed the path taken by the Czecho-Slovak Legion shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequently acquired firsthand accounts that form the basis of this book.
As Imperial Russia and Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary began to succumb at the end of the Great War, a small group of Czech and Slovak combat veterans stranded in Siberia saw an opportunity to realize their long-held dream of independence. While their plan was audacious and complex, involving moving their 60,000-strong army by land and sea across three-quarters of the earth’s expanse, their commitment to fight for the Allies on the Western Front riveted the attention of the Allied London, Paris, and Washington. On their journey across Siberia a brawl erupted at a remote rail station that sparked a wholesale rebellion. The marauding Czecho-Slovak Legion seized control of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and with it Siberia. In the end this small band of POWs and deserters helped destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire and found Czechoslovakia.