Project Summary

Although subject to some revisionism since the end of the Cold War (when he was considered one of the "Champions of Liberty"), the importance of Masaryk's political thought has been based on (a) his image as the principal shaper of political culture in inter-war Czechoslovakia; (b) as a model of political prudence and sagacity for East-Central Europe, if not for the world (like a nineteenth-century Vaclav Havel). Of course, an enormous literature of all kinds, languages, and levels of erudition on Masaryk exists. My main interest is to probe the mind of the man as revealed through his writings on philosophy and religion, and map out his place in relation to the principal Austrian, British, French, and German thinkers (to some extent also American and Russian, with whom he dealt. I mean to focus on the ideas behind his political pronouncements and activities, which have not yet been explored adequately.