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Press (22.2.2018)

The Munich Agreement, the Hácha–Hitler Protocol and other unique documents in the Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition

Press release on the loan of a set of original foreign documents on the occasion of the Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition

A set of original documents that played a crucial role in the history of Czechoslovakia and its people will be on show in the Czech and Slovak Republics for the very first time.  The National Museum in Prague and the Slovak National Museum, together with the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, obtained the consent of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States of America and France to the loan of the originals of the Munich Agreement, the Pittsburgh Agreement, the Czechoslovak ratification of the Treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain and Trianon, and the Hácha-Hitler Protocol. This is an extraordinary diplomatic success. All the documents will be on show in Bratislava and Prague at the Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition, which is being prepared by the National Museums of both countries on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the common Czech and Slovak state.
 
 The National Museum in Prague and the Slovak National Museum are jointly preparing a unique exhibition project tracing the history of their common state and fateful moments in the lives of its people.
 
The exhibition will be on display at Bratislava Castle from 26 April until 9 September 2018. Subsequently it will run in Prague as the first exhibition in the newly reconstructed Historical Building of the National Museum. Symbolically, the building will open to public on the anniversary of the creation of the Czechoslovak state, 28 October 2018.  Besides a number of rare objects and archival materials, the exhibition will present an extraordinary set of foreign documents which have never been on show together in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
 
“This is a fantastic international success. The National Museum has never before had a chance to exhibit such a large set of documents that have played a key role in modern Czech and Slovak history.  Without a doubt, this is a great contribution to the Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition and a beautiful gift to the National Museum on its 200th anniversary. I would like to thank our colleagues from Germany, France and the U.S. and of course, from Slovakia too, for their obligingness and help,” says Michal Lukeš, the Director-General of the National Museum.
“Getting such important and iconic objects for the exhibition as the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava and the National Museum in Prague have can certainly be considered a great success. Based on these documents, states were created and were dissolved, millions of people became citizens of a different state in a single moment, and unfortunately this brought fatal consequences for some of them. The exhibition on the history of Czechoslovakia will certainly be all the more interesting, and visitors will be able to see with their own eyes documents that are so often spoken of. However, it has to be said that this success of the museums would not have been possible without the help, willingness, support and even lobbying of our partners in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the U.S.A. They all have our sincere thanks,” adds Branislav Panis, Director-General of the Slovak National Museum.
 
Photograph - Munich Agreement
All rights reserved - The photograph is the property of the Political Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, Germany. Without the express consent of the owner, it is not possible to use the photo anyway.
 
 
The following documents from the U.S.A., the Federal Republic of Germany and France will be on loan:
 
Pittsburgh Agreement
The agreement that was signed on 31 May 1918 (although the date on the document is 30 May 1918) in Pittsburgh, the United States of America, by representatives of the Slovak League of America, the Czech National Association and the Czech Catholic Union with Tomáš G. Masaryk, who also drafted the text during his visit to the U.S.A. The text expressed the intent of the co-signatories to create a combined state of Czechs and Slovaks. Under the agreement, Slovakia was to have an independent state administration, parliament and judiciary. This was a key document for the creation of a joint state of Czechs and Slovaks.
On loan from: Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
 
Ratification documents from Versailles, Saint-Germain and Trianon
Three examples of treaties from the Versailles Peace Conference, by which the representatives of Czechoslovakia ratified its results. Each of the ratification documents contains the result of the treaties with the defeated countries - Germany (Treaty of Versailles), Austria (Treaty of Saint-Germain) and Hungary (Treaty of Trianon) - which were here ratified by Tomáš G. Masaryk and Edvard Beneš.
On loan from: French Diplomatic Archives, Paris, France
 
Munich Agreement
The Agreement was signed on 29 September 1938 in Munich by the representatives of Germany (Adolf Hitler), Italy (Benito Mussolini), France (Édouard Daladier) and Great Britain (Neville Chamberlain), and it contains an agreement between these powers permitting the annexation of borderlands of Czechoslovakia by Germany. In its annexes, it also directs Czechoslovakia to cede parts of its territory to Poland and Hungary. Czechoslovakia was not invited to negotiate or sign this agreement.
On loan from: Political Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, FRG
 
Vienna Award
The result of the negotiations about the Hungary-Czechoslovakia border which took place on 2 November 1938 at the Belvedere, Vienna. The protocol was signed by representatives of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was forced to cede considerable territory in southern and eastern Slovakia and Ruthenia to Hungary. The arbitral decisions were induced as a result of the Munich Agreement.
On loan from: Political Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, FRG
  
Hácha-Hitler Protocol  
The original of the document signed in Berlin on 15 March 1939, on the basis of which the President of Czechoslovakia, Emil Hácha, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, František Chvalkovský, put the territory and the population of Bohemia and Moravia under the protection of the German Reich and guaranteed that there would be no resistance on the side of the local population and the army to the occupation of Czech territory. On behalf of Germany, the protocol was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop. President Hácha signed the document only after a long time under great pressure and faced with threats from Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Several hours later, the German army occupied the territories of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. In the evening of 15 March 1939, Emil Hácha returned to the already occupied Prague, where Adolf Hitler was awaiting him at Prague Castle.
On loan from: Political Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin, FRG
 
All the documents will be exhibited in the Czech and Slovak Republics and transported under special security measures.
The National Museum will keep you up-to-date with details of the planned Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition.
 

 

 
Mgr. Kristina Kvapilová
PR department
Tel: +420 224 497 250
Mobile: +420 731 514 077
Website: www.nm.cz

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