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Legionary tradition through the perspective of Czechoslovak legionnaire association

Silesian University in Opava, Czechoslovak legionnaire association

Bc. Tomáš Rusek (*12.6.1991) - a young historian finishing graduate study programe of History at Silesian University in Opava. During his studies he took 6-month Erasmus course in Torino (Italy) as well as work experience in Prudnik museum (Poland). He´s focusing on the Czechoslovak legions, especially their italian part, on which he held several lectures. He also participated in first world war conferences in Czech Republic (Praha, Brno, Opava) and abroad (Sulmona, London). Currently he´s working in the project Legion 100 as a guide at legionnairy train (viz Abstract). 

Petr Čížek (*26.7.1989) - a longtime reenactor, member of the Czechoslovak legionnaire association and amateur historian. He wrote several articles as well as participated in several conferences dealing with the topic of Czechoslovak legions. Currently he´s working in the project Legion 100 as a chief of guides at legionnairy train.

The number of Czech soldiers fighting on the fronts of the Great War is estimated 1.4 million. Although majority of these men fought and died in the uniform of the Austro-Hungarian army, it was the tradition of Czechoslovak legions, which became decisive after the war in the newly created Czechoslovak republic. 

Not surprisingly, since legionnaires were considered creators and pillars of an independent common state of Czechs and Slovaks. Nurtured by the official state propaganda, their legacy became predominant in the collective memory of the nation. It was traceable in the army, arts, historical literature and probably the most eloquent example was adorning memorials of fallen soldiers present in every hamlet with a legionnaire sculptures. 

We will endeavor to examine this tradition through the perspective of Czechoslovak legionnaire association – a society created in 1921 in order to unite quarrelling veteran organizations. Apart from outlining its activity in the past, we´ll also focus on its activities today, such as the project Legion 100, celebrating through exhibitions, lectures, publications and documentaries the centenary of establishing first Czechoslovak voluntary units. The most visible part of this project is Legiovlak (legionnaire train) – an ambitious replica of a war train used by legionnaires in Russia, which also serves as a unique mobile museum."