Wilson Center Experts

Zdenek David

Senior Scholar
Global Europe Program

Contact Information:
T 202/716-4688 // F 202/691-4001
Expertise:
History
;
Diplomatic History
;
Europe
;
Czech Republic
Affiliation:
Librarian, Woodrow Wilson Center (Retired)
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Philosophical Outlook of Thomas G. Masaryk as a Background of His Politics"
Term:
Feb 01, 2004
-
Jan 31, 2015

Project Summary

Although subject to some revisionism since the end of the Cold War (when he was considered one of the "Champions of Liberty"), the importance of Masaryk's political thought has been based on (a) his image as the principal shaper of political culture in inter-war Czechoslovakia; (b) as a model of political prudence and sagacity for East-Central Europe, if not for the world (like a nineteenth-century Vaclav Havel). Of course, an enormous literature of all kinds, languages, and levels of erudition on Masaryk exists. My main interest is to probe the mind of the man as revealed through his writings on philosophy and religion, and map out his place in relation to the principal Austrian, British, French, and German thinkers (to some extent also American and Russian, with whom he dealt. I mean to focus on the ideas behind his political pronouncements and activities, which have not yet been explored adequately.

Major Publications

  • Realism, Tolerance, Liberalism in the Czech National Awakening: Legacies of the Bohemian Reformation. Washington, D.C.: Wilson Center Press; and Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, March 2010. 413 p.
  • "Universalist Aspirations of the Utraquist Church," The Bohemian Reformation and Religious Practice, Vol. 7, published as Filosofický casopis: Supplementum 1(2009), 194-212.
  • "Masaryk and Hegel within the Context of the Austrian Philosophical Tradition," Selected Papers from the Twenty-Fourth World Congress of the Czechoslovak Society for Arts and Sciences, 2 vols., Žilina, Slovakia: University of Žilina, [2010], 1:15-38.
  • "Masaryk's Attitude Toward National Languages," in Heiz Duchhardt, Hlavácek, Winfried Eberhard, and others, eds., Bruncwik und die Nymphe. Die Überlegungen zur kulturellen und politischen Identität Europas, Europaena Pragensia 2. Prague: Philosophical Faculty of Charles University and Filosofia Publishers, 2010, 120-134.
  • "Masaryk on the Psychological and Philosophical Causes of World War I," Kosmas: Czechoslovak and Central European Journal, Vol. 24, no. 1 (Fall 2010), 1-21.
Previous Terms at the Wilson Center:
January 31,2002 - January 31, 2004 "Philosophical Outlook of Thomas G. Masaryk as a Background of His Politics"

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  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
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