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Building a "Monument to a Murdered Republic"

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The building of the Czechoslovakia Pavilion at the World’s Fair proceeded amidst political uncertainty and intense negotiations; the fate of the country hung in the balance as Fair planning progressed. Intimations of the unfolding conflict in Europe can be found in the files, correspondence, and photographs related to the status of the pavilion and of Czechoslovakia itself.
Throughout 1938, Czechoslovakia was under threat from Nazi Germany to cede its western border areas, known as the Sudetenland. In September, the Munich Pact — agreed to by Britain, France, Italy, and Nazi Germany — guaranteed its dismemberment. But even as the nation faced annexation and occupation by Hitler, construction continued on the Czech Pavilion, which would grow in symbolic importance as a “monument to a murdered republic.”
By the time the Fair opened on April 30, 1939, independent Czechoslovakia was no more. But the Czech Pavilion stood, with its emblazoned message: “After the tempest of wrath has passed the rule of thy country will return to thee O Czech people.”
“This Pavilion,” said Czech President Edvard Beneš, “is the free and independent Czechoslovakia of the near past, and the free and independent Czechoslovakia of the near future.”