The Meaning of Czech History: Pekař versus Masaryk
When Josef Pekař entered academic life, the Czechs had attained, for the first time since the fourteenth century, a West European standard.1 Industrial expansion and technological progress as well as progress in sciences were accompanied by no less important achievements in culture. The founding of the Bohemian Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1890 and the Great Prague Exposition in 1891, realised without the help of Vienna and without German participation, bore witness to the newly acquired self-confidence of the nation. In this optimistic climate Czech intellectuals were able to find the moral courage to take a more detached view of their history, which they had hitherto approached with uncritical admiration. For the first time since Palacký, Czech historiography was given a firm basis by scholars inspired by Jaroslav Goll (1846–1929) and Antonín Rezek (1853–1909). Czech literary and philological scholarship had taken a new direction under the leadership of Jan Gebauer (1838–1907).
KeywordsFifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Moral Courage Religious Idea Religious Struggle
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