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18. - 19. století

National Revival

Movement of the 18th and 19th century in the Czech lands
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The National Revival is a process, which developped 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 Czech nation its own identity and to revive its language.
During and after the Thirty Year War, the Czech language became secondary, German becoming the language of power through the coming of the German aristocracy. The Czech language was eliminated from government administration and later from culture as well. In the first half of the 17th century, Germanizing of Czech 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 idea of creating nations was in progress, and different ethnic groups were thinking of doing just that throughout Europe. The Czech intellectual society tried to react to this process and sought inspiration in a rich history, so as to trigger the interest of the people in its own identity, as well as initiate an interest in neighbouring Slavic nations, which were also, then, pursuing the idea of a Slavic union. Actually a new scientific

discipline was created, which dealt with this phenomenon and it was called Slavonic Studies.
The National Revival happened in three different phases. The first phase was in particular connected to Josef Dobrovský who was known for his defence of the Czech language, the revival of the Czech theatre, and Czech artistic authorship as well. In the meantime, the revivalists were coming to terms with the reforms of the Joseph the Second. This phase ended sometimes in the beginning of the 19th century.
The second phase was an era of strong patriotic enthusiasm in Czech 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 was under the sign of National Revival victory, which became an all-nation movement and significantly contributed to the transformation of Czech 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. Czech 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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