Tomáš Masaryk stands on Massachusetts Avenue across from the Embassy of Luxembourg, atop a granite slab. The monument is a gift from the Czech Republic, and was placed on its site in 2003, making it one of the newer monuments in the city. Masaryk was the first President of Czechoslovakia after World War I, when it broke from from the remnants of the defeated Austria-Hungary. This process was far from simple, but Masaryk was the cause’s champion, travelling Europe and the United States to convince the powers that be that the Czech and Slovak people needed their own state.
He was finally successful in late 1918, and he delivered a speech at the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia arguing for a free nation for those in central Europe. What would result would be Czechoslovakia, a nation that would then elect Masaryk to be their president. He would serve in that office, re-elected twice, until 1935. Continue reading