Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Masaryk, Thomas Garrigue

MASARYK, THOMAS GARRIGUE, first President of the Czecho-Slovak Republic, and chief of the nationalist movement which led to the establishment of the Republic. He was born in Gǒding, Moravia, 1850, received only an elementary education, and was then apprenticed to a blacksmith. Through individual effort he gained further education and finally entered the University of Leipsic, where he subsequently taught. In 1882 he became professor of philosophy at the new Czech University at Prague. In 1891 he was elected to the Austrian Parliament, where he gained prominence by his criticism of the Austrian policy in Herzegovina. In 1893 he resigned, in protest against the inactivity of the Czech nationalist movement. He then came to the United States and lectured for a time at the University of Chicago. In 1907 he returned to Prague, where he remained until December, 1914, when he was compelled to flee to Italy, on account of his activities in favor of a nationalist movement, for which reason he was sentenced to death by the Austrian Government. During the war he represented the Czecho-Slovak nationalist organization in Paris, London, and Washington, D. C., and gradually gained the recognition of the Czecho-Slovak nation from the Allied countries. In 1917 he went to Russia, at the urgent call of Paul Milyukoff, whence he proceeded to Tokio, Japan, and back to Washington, D. C. In October, 1918, he was formally proclaimed President of the Czecho-Slovak Republic. He immediately proceeded to Prague, where he took his oath of office on December 21, 1918. In politics he was liberal in his tendencies, but strongly nationalistic.

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