Interwar Czech diplomatic telegrams posted online
Czech Republic, Oct 26 (CTK) – More than 40,000 pages of dispatches sent from Czechoslovak embassies to the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry and vice versa in 1918-1939 have become available online, the Czech Foreign Ministry Archive has announced.
The telegrams were scanned because they are written on thin paper that could be easily damaged,” Blanka Fajkusova, head of the ministry’s data processing section, told CTK.
Fajkusova said the archive had eight employees and one of them dealt with the digitisation of documents.
She said the archive started operating in 1918, the year in which Czechoslovakia was established.
The archive includes the funds of written diplomatic documents from the Czechoslovak state (1918-1938), documents related to the operation of the Czechoslovak government in exile (1939-1945), and the post-war operation of the ministry and diplomatic missions (1945-1989).
Fajkusova said the oldest document in the archive is a letter on the release of a maidservant from Dolni Bludovice chateau from 1773, which was enclosed to the documents for the negotiations of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference probably to give proof of the ancient use of the Czech language.
Among the newly digitised diplomatic dispatches there are telegrams in which Czech ambassadors to London and Paris, Jan Masaryk and Stefan Osusky, in September 1938 expressed their fear that Britain and France would not meet their promise given to Czechoslovakia and would let Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler occupy Czechoslovak border regions.
“I am very much afraid that the senile ambition of (British prime minister Neville) Chamberlain to be the peacekeeper of Europe will drive his to success at any cost, which is possible only at our expense,” Masaryk wrote from London to Prague one week before the signing of the Munich Agreement according to which Czechoslovakia was to hand its border regions over to Hitler.
Fajkusova said paper diplomatic messages are still stored, but the archive is likely to be electronic only in near future.
Find the online telegram archive here.
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