Chapter 10. The Czech and Czechoslovak 28 October

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Presidential addresses given about the most prominent Czech and Czechoslovak secular holiday, 28 October, contribute noticeably to articulating collective identity. In this chapter, four 28 October addresses are analyzed: one by Czechoslovakia’s last communist president, Gustáv Husák (1988); two by Czech president Václav Havel (1993, 1998); and one by Czech president Václav Klaus (2008). The addresses’ contexts are described and their “staging” is analyzed. The main analysis concerns the presidents’ selections of past events, their communication of their worldviews, and how their selected events and communicated worldviews tallied with how they categorized “us” and “them”: Husák excluded most Czechoslovak citizens from the “us” category. Havel broadened the “us” category so much that he almost failed to delimit his audience from other collectives. Klaus clearly delimited the Czechs as a national collective. Yet he also came close to depicting the Czech nation as being under threat.


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