Statecraft and Leadership in Europe: The Case of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Keywords:Masaryk, leadership, Czechoslovakia, statecraft, realism
AbstractBorn to Slovaco-German-Czech poor servants, with no burning interest in politics until adult age, who even came to be called the enemy of the nation, Tomáš Masaryk managed to introduce the first Czechoslovak state on the world map in 1918, through tireless advocacy carried out (literally) all around the world during the Great War, and the subsequent guidance in the newly formed republic. He was unanimously elected President four times and served in this function for eighteen years (1918-1935). Tomáš Masaryk was not a product of circumstances, but their producer and skillful employer. He showed himself particularly adroit in overcoming the against-all-odds situations, as well as the ‘regular’ crisis ones. Initially isolated, resourceless, and repudiated by his own people, he managed to unite them and to make them join his idea and struggle for a project aiming for common good. Such a CV seems remarkably appropriate for a potential leader in Europe’s most advanced uniting project, the EU (European Union). Considering the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Masaryk’s state-building journey, as well as the current crisis debates in the EU, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of a leader with a vision, determination, skill, and principles. The EU may need precisely those to stay united.
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