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18. - 19. století

National Revival

The powerful process of National Revival and the idea of nationhood
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The National Revival is a process, which was in progress within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy from the last quarter of the 18th century until the middle of the 19th century and its main objective was to imprint to the Bohemian nation its own identity and to revive its language.
During and after the Thirty Year War, the Bohemian (Czech) language was secondary, the German language being the language of power through the coming of the German aristocracy. The Bohemian language was eliminated from the area of government administration and later from the culture as well. In the first half of the 17th century, Germanizing of the Bohemian society was so extensive, especially within the upper classes, that a reaction was imminent and it did not take long to happen. This reaction was accelerated further by the reforms of Joseph the Second, who for instance instituted German as the official language.
In the second half of the 18th century, the process of creating new nations was in progress, and ethnic groups were doing just that throughout Europe. The Bohemian intellectual society tried to react to this process and sought inspiration in their rich history which triggered the interest of the people for its own identity, as well as initiated an interest in neighbouring Slavic nations, which were also, then, pursuing the idea of Slavonic mutuality. Actually, a new scientific discipline

was created, which dealt with this phenomenon and it was called the Slavonic Studies.
In a sense, the National Revival happened in three different phases. The first phase was particularly connected to Josef Dobrovský who was known for his defence of the Bohemian language, the revival of the Bohemian theater, and the Bohemian artistic authorship as well. In the meantime, during this era, the revivalists were coming to terms with the reforms of Joseph the Second. This phase ended sometimes in the beginning of the 19th century.
The second phase was an era of strong patriotic enthusiasm for Bohemian history. The most renowned personalities were Josef Jungmann and František Palacký. This phase lasted until the twenties of the 19th century.
The third and final phase happened under the sign of the victory of the National Revival, which became an all-nation movement and significantly contributed to the transformation of Bohemian society. In this era, the efforts of František Palacký culminated (within the scope of forming the Austroslavism political program) and therefore the revivalists of this generation were called the Palacký Generation. The Bohemian literature undoubtedly played a significant part is the success as well.
This train of thought was a very important episode in our history and it strongly affected and codetermined the Czech national identity as a whole.


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