Life and works in dates

  • March 7, 1850
    Tomas Masaryk was born on March 7 in Hodonin in Southern Moravia as the son of a coachman and cook.
  • 1865-72
    Attended grammar schools in Brno and Vienna.
  • 1872-76
    Studied at the University in Vienna where he graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy. His thesis was entitled "The Essentials of the Soul According to Plato."
  • 1876-77
    Spent time as a private tutor in Leipzig where he met Charlotte Garrigue from America.
  • 1878
    Travelled to America for the first time; March 15 married Charlotte Garrigue and added her surname to his own.
  • 1879
    Qualified as a university lecturer by defending his thesis "Suicide as a mass social phenomenon of modern civilization" and then lectured for seven semesters at the University in Vienna as a private Associate Professor.
  • 1881
    Publishes in German a revised version of his doctoral thesis on suicide; he published the Czech version of "Suicide as a mass social phenomenon of modern civilization" in 1904.
  • 1882
    Appointed as Reader of Philosophy at the new Czech University in Prague; he received the appointment of Professor in January 1897.
  • 1883
    Established the monthly Athenaeum, a journal devoted to a critical revue of Czech culture and science.
  • 1885
    Published his chief philosophical work Fundamentals of Concrete Logic: A Classification and System of Sciences; an expanded German version was published in 1887.
  • 1886-88
    The group of scholars associated with the journal Athenaeum reveals the modern forgery of the apparent old manuscripts (Kralovedvorske and Zelenohorske which were supposed to prove how mature early Medieval Czech culture was); Masaryk played an important role in revealing the facts.
  • 1887
    Went to Russia where he has discussions with Tolstoy; he visited Tolstoy once more in 1889 and 1910; he rejected Tolstoy's doctrine of non-resistance to evil.
  • 1891
    Was elected to the Viennese Parliament as a member of the Young Czech Party, which he joined as a member of the group of "Realists".
  • 1883
    Resigned as a member of parliament because he was disenchanted with the radicalism of the Young Czech Party and disappointed by internal strife in the party.
  • 1895-98
    Years of intensive creative work dedicated in the main to Czech problems. Masaryk formulated his opinions regarding the meaning of Czech history and submitted a Czech political programme; he introduced himself as a philosopher whose opinions had a firm moral and religious foundation; published his writings Czech Question (1895), Our Current Crisis (1895), John Huss (1896), Karel Havlicek (1896), Social Question (1898).
  • 1899 - 1900
    Two trials of Leopold Hilsner, a young Jewish man accused of murdering two Christian girls which met with numerous expressions of anti-Semitism in Czech society. Masaryk led a campaign against racial prejudices, in particular against the beliefs of Jewish ritual murders.
  • 1900
    Together with some of his supporters from the group of "Realists" he established a new political party; Czech Popular Party (Realistic) later renamed the Progressive party. He did not meet with much success. In Czech politics the party had only marginal importance.
  • 1902
    Travelled to America for a second time; lectured at Chicago University on Czech literature and history and on general Slavonic issues.
  • 1907
    Entered the Viennese parliament once more as a member of the Realist Party, elected with the support of Social Democrats; remained a Member of Parliament for a total of two election terms until the World War I.
    Undertook a third journey to America; lectured at the Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston on religion in Austria, visited ex-patriots in a number of American towns.
  • 1907-08
    Led a parliamentary campaign in defence of freedom in science; defended the Austrian professor Ludwig Wahrmund who was persecuted for delivering a lecture on disputes between science and religious doctrines.
  • 1909-11
    Following the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina he criticized Austrian foreign policy, especially the alliance with Germany; he defended the South Slavs accused of being traitors in the trial in Zagreb; he appeared as a witness against the historian Heinrich Friedjung in order to defend the Austrian South Slavs whom Friedjung accused based on false documents.
  • 1913
    Published in a German edition the first two volumes of his substantial writings Russia and Europe, the third volume was published for the first time in 1967 in an English translation.
  • 1914-17
    The World War I. Masaryk decided to side with the Allies and their fight against the Austro-Hungarian Empire; he travelled to Italy, Switzerland, France and England; in Paris together with Edvard Benes and Milan R. Stefanik he established a Czechoslovak National Council, Czechoslovak military units were created in Russia and France.
  • 1917-18
    Masaryk travelled to Russia; after the Bolshevik Revolution he consolidated the Czechoslovak legions, which were declared to be a part of the Czechoslovak army in France and were to transfer to the western battle front according to an agreement.
  • 1918
    Masaryk went to the United States; France and Great Britain recognized the Czechoslovak National Council as the de facto Czechoslovak Government; Masaryk gained the same recognition from the American government; in France and Italy Czech and Slovak soldiers battled against the enemy powers; in Russia the Czechoslovak legions were engaged in conflict with the Bolsheviks who sabotaged their journey to France; the Czechoslovak soldiers controlled the entire railway line between the Ural and Vladivostok and according to the instructions from the allies extended their military presence in Siberia (the last Czechoslovak legionaries only returned to their homeland in 1920).
    In Prague the revolutionary National Assembly elected Masaryk as the first President of the Czechoslovak Republic. Masaryk published his writings New Europe, an outline of post-war European reconstruction.
  • 1920
    Masaryk was elected as President according to the new Czechoslovak Constitution; he was then elected to this highest state function for another two terms in 1927 and 1934.
  • 1925 Under the title World Revolution a book of memoirs and political and historical essays concerning a turning point in history marked by the World War I was published.
  • 1928
    Karel Capek published his first volume of Conversations with T.G. Masaryk in which in the form of dialogues with Capek Masaryk told stories of his life and in the last section of the conversations presented his philosophical credo.
  • 1935
    Masaryk resigns as President for health reasons.
  • 1937
    Masaryk dies in Lany on September 14.

© Jiri Kovtun