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History on the 8’s

   

History on the 8s Logo

What can 1918, 1938, 1948, and 1968 tell us about 2018?

Many of the most significant moments in Czech and Slovak history occurred in years ending in “8.” History on the 8’s is a lecture series featuring five acclaimed national and international authors and scholars who will put the pivotal events of 1918, 1938, 1948, and 1968 into historical context and show how they continue to shape our lives in 2018.
Sponsored by GreatAmerica Financial Services, and Gary and Cathy Rozek.

History on the 8’s Lecture: The Emperor and the Peasant: Two Men at the Start of the Great War and the End of the Habsburg Empire

Wednesday, March 21, 6:00 p.m.
Cost: Free, RSVP required. Seating is limited

Hear Dr. Kenneth Janda speak about his brand new book, The Emperor and the Peasant: Two Men at the Start of the Great War and the End of the Habsburg Empire, the first of five presentations in our History on the 8’s Lecture Series. Join us in the Skala Bartizal Library Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm for this dynamic presentation. A cash bar will be available. A book signing will follow the lecture. Books can be pre-ordered online and will also be available for purchase in the museum store.

About the Author:

Author Kenneth JandaKenneth Janda, a Payson S. Wild Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University, received the Frank J. Goodnow Award from the American Political Science Association in 2009. He has authored or edited several books on computer methods of data analysis, the cross-national study of political parties, and American government. He lives in Roseville, Minnesota with his wife who is the granddaughter of the Peasant, Samuel Mozolak.

About the Book:

The Emperor and the PeasantThere was more to World War I than the Western Front. This history juxtaposes the experiences of a monarch and a peasant on the Eastern Front. Franz Josef I, emperor of Austria-Hungary, was the first European leader to declare war in 1914 and was the first to commence firing. Samuel Mozolak was a Slovak laborer who sailed to New York–and fathered twins, taken as babies (and U.S. citizens) to his home village–before being drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army and killed in combat. The author interprets the views of the war of Franz Josef and his contemporaries Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II. Mozolak’s story depicts the life of a peasant in an army staffed by aristocrats, and also illustrates the pattern of East European immigration to America.

History on the 8’s lecture: Dreams of a Great Small Nation

Saturday, April 7, 10:00 a.m.
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.

About the Speaker:

Kevin J. McNamara 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.

About the 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 EuropeAs 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.

History on the 8’s lecture: The War to End all Wars

Wednesday, July 18, 6:00 p.m.
Cost: Free, RSVP required. Seating is limited

Author Michael Eckers will look at the internal workings of Europe in the first part of the 20th century, discussing the causes and effects of the two World Wars. Eckers’ presentation will show how the First World War set the stage for the Second. A cash bar and refreshments will be available.

About the Speaker:

Michael Eckers

Michael Eckers has studied the history of America and our military for more than 40 years.  He is retired from Federal service including four years in the US Navy during the Vietnam era.  Michael resided in southern Minnesota for most of his life and recently began traveling the country, speaking and writing. He is an active supporter of numerous historical and veterans groups in the Midwest and Florida.

About the Lecture:

World War I was the “war to end all wars.”  At least that was the hope.  The partial breaking up of a monarchial system that had been in place throughout Europe for centuries created more freedoms for the formerly oppressed. The cries of nationalism were only partially heard by the mapmakers working hard to redraw a new Europe. The Treaty of Versailles brought about a hodgepodge of small independent countries containing mixtures of people groups.  It was like unscrambling the ingredients of a bowl of stew. Combined with the insurmountable war debt suffered by, or levied on, countries during the war and subsequent peace, a new generation was raised that would have to fight another conflict to “get it right.”

History on the 8’s lecture: Czechoslovak Exile After 1948

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6:00 p.m.
Cost: Free, RSVP required. Seating is limited

Dr. Martin Nekola, a political science scholar and author from Prague, will discuss all aspects of the Czechoslovak Cold War Exile focusing on immigrants in the United States. A cash bar and refreshments will be available.

About the Speaker:

Martin Nekola

Martin Nekola, Ph.D., received his doctorate in political science at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. His research is focused on non-democratic regimes, the era of Communism, Czech communities abroad, and the East-European anti-communist exiles in the US during the Cold War. From time to time he participates in the election observation missions organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He is the author of more than 200 articles and has published eight books.

About the Lecture:

The exile after the coup in 1948 and the fate of Czechs abroad, who sought the return of freedom and democracy to their homeland, enslaved by the Communists, are an integral part of our modern history. However, this phenomenon is still neglected and the general public has only fragmentary information about it.  Researchers are still unable to agree on the intensities of individual waves of emigration between 1948 and 1989. The first periodicals were published and the first seeds of political activity were born and later developed by numerous exile groups and entities. Despite the promising start and international support, the so called Council of Free Czechoslovakia, meant as the umbrella body for the entire exile, writhed in crisis, fell apart, and reunited again. The council’s members were wasting time with endless quarrels and were continuously losing the confidence of the exile public and their donors from the US government. Dr. Nekola will discuss all aspects of the Czechoslovak Cold War exile (with a particular focus on the US) in his contribution.

History on the 8’s lecture: 1968 and the Prague Spring

Thursday, Nov. 1, 7:00 p.m
Cost: Free, RSVP required. Seating is limited

Best-selling author Mark Kurlansky will discuss the legacy of the year 1968 and how the Prague Spring was such a pivotal moment in the world’s history. Fifty years later, Kurlansky will show how the Prague Spring and the year 1968, transformed who we were as a people–and led us to where we are today. Kurlansky’s book, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, is available for purchase online and in the museum store. This presentation will be immediately followed by a book signing by the author. A cash bar and refreshments will be available.

About the Speaker:

Mark KurlanskyMark Kurlansky is a best-selling author, playwright, and journalist. His articles have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, and he’s been a guest lecturer at various schools and locations all over the world. He has published 30 books including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. His books have been translated into 25 languages, and he often illustrates them himself.

About the Lecture:

In his New York Times and National best-selling book, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, Kurlansky looks at the famous year from a global perspective. In this monumental book, Mark Kurlansky brings to teeming life the cultural and political history of that pivotal year, when television’s influence on global events first became apparent, and spontaneous uprisings occurred simultaneously around the world. His presentation will address why so many diverse societies from the US to Mexico, to Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Japan had such similar movements rising up spontaneously and doing the same thing at the exact same time.