New Book Celebrates the Joint History of Austria and the Czech Republic

Two interpretations of one story are now coming together thanks to an initiative of Austrian and Czech ministries

September 16th, 2016
Ingrida Haringová, CD News

A multilateral project between Austria and the Czech Republic brings a new book to life on Austrian and Czech history. The book will be presented to the public next year and focuses on a reflection of the two countries’ histories, helping them to better understand their shared and individual past.

The book project, supported by various Czech and Austrian ministries, compiles different interpretations of events in Austrian and Czech history. Specifically, it focuses on historical developments in each country with special attention paid to thought patterns and stereotypes from past to present.

 The goal of the project is to promote common understanding between the Czech Republic and Austria, and aims to encourage a much-needed reflection of the two nations‘ history. Preparations for the book started in 2014 and it should be presented to the public next year.

 Though the two countries shared their history before 1918, since their independence they have often confronted one another on nationalistic grounds. After the end of the Habsburg Monarchy, relations between the two newly created states varied between competition through cooperation to cold relations of disinterest.

 Despite their differences, many customs and traditions have manifested themselves in similar ways in both countries. Unfortunately, after 1989 discussions between Prague and Vienna were limited to conflicting and symbolic topics, such as ‘temelin’ and ‘beneš decrees’.

 The project was initiated by the “Standing Conference of Czech and Austrian Historians to a Common Cultural Heritage”, the outcome of which, as well as the book, will be a brochure and didactical teaching material.

 In the Czech Republic the project is made possible thanks to cooperation between the Masaryk Institute, Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and various Czech municipalities. In Austria the project is supported by Austrian municipalities, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Federal Ministry for Education.


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