Thursday, July 12, 2012
the last book I ever read (Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter, excerpt two)
from Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948:
In June, Masaryk met Wilson at the White House. As a child, I had been taught to believe that the two presidents warmed to each other immediately, but there is always a risk of friction when two professors are given the chance to compare brains. Wilson admitted to Masaryk that, as a descendent of Scots Presbyterians, he had a tendency to be stubborn. Masaryk found the U.S. president “somewhat touchy.” Both wished to talk more than to listen. Masaryk outlined the case for independence; Wilson discussed the Czechoslovak Legion’s ongoing battle with the Russian Bolsheviks. Whether or not the two men enjoyed each other’s company, the results from Masaryk’s perspective were satisfactory. Within days, the State Department declared that “all branches of the Slav race should be completely freed from Austrian rule,” and in September, the United States formally recognized Masaryk’s National Council as a belligerent in the war. These steps, coupled with Wilson’s image as the instigator of a new and more honorable global order, would make the American president a hero throughout Czechoslovakia and add unprecedented luster to his country’s international reputation.