Tomus 25, num. 2 – OLEJNÍK, M.: Issue of Czechoslovak radio in struggle against Hungarian and German propaganda

Issue of Czechoslovak radio in struggle against Hungarian
and German propaganda

Milan Olejník
Institute of Social Sciences of the Center of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS in Košice, Slovakia

Abstract: Radio as a tool of political propaganda had introduced a new dimension in ideological struggle between Czechoslovak Republic (CSR) and neighbouring countries. Since its establishment, CSR became a target of hostile propaganda spreading namely by Hungary. Technological progress during the second decade of 20th century enabled the radio to become increasingly popular influencing growing segment of population. Caustic relations between both countries had resulted from reluctance of Hungary to accept the Treaty of Trianon. Hungarian authorities determined to reverse inclusion of Slovakia to Czechoslovak Republic, focused foreign policy and state propaganda upon goal to achieve revision, which would result in establishment of status quo ante. This aim was supported by a significant number of Hungarians living in the Southern Slovakia. Therefore, political and cultural activities of ethnic Hungarians were judged by Czechoslovak authorities with suspicion and in cases when they were classified as irredentist, state security agencies suppressed them. On interstate level both countries waged ideological war, accusing each other of hostile acts. In this state of affairs radio gained an increasing importance. Constant improvement of quality and decreasing price made radio a valuable tool of political propaganda. Unlike other forms of propaganda (newspapers, leaflets, books, public speeches, etc.), radio broadcast was impossible to stop from penetrating state boundary. Significance of radio propaganda between Czechoslovakia and Hungary was increased by geographical closeness of both countries which facilitated spreading of radio signal. In addition, radio broadcast was not limited strictly to political issues. Popularity among population was reinforced by its ability to provide a broad scale of various programs such as music, sport, religion and others, which had been influencing ideological outlook listeners. Submitted paper analyzes various aspects of role of radio in Hungarian cross-border propaganda and endeavours of Czechoslovak security authorities to minimize its impact. The paper is mainly composed of documents deposited in Slovak and Czech archives complemented by Czechoslovak contemporary press.

Keywords: radio propaganda in context of Czechoslovak – Hungarian relations, measures of Czechoslovak authorities to curb irredentist Hungarian radio programs, impact of radio upon political development during third decade of twentieth century.


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