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Mrva 1 Martin Mrva Mr.

Wixom English III 15 December 2010 Historical Impact of Milan Rastislav tefnik on Present Slovakia Dr. Milan Rastislav tefnik is one of the most important figures of the modern history of Slovak nation. As an excellent diplomat, utilizing his scientific logic, he significantly influenced forming of the central Europe in the early years of the World War I. His staggering military career in the French army, merit of the creation of Czechoslovakia and, finally, the mysterious death contributed to the fact that tefnik surpassed in the minds of Slovaks all other historical figures. None of Slovaks has such impressive tomb as tefnik has. Tomb on Bradlo hill, commemorating the world-famous astronomer, philosopher and politician, has grown into the country and became a natural part of the country, from which this great man came and for which he worked throughout his life, even though he spent greater part of his life abroad. He studied in the neighboring Czech Republic, lived and worked in France, Polynesia and South America, he served as a soldier in France, Italy and Siberia, and last but not least, he established and eventually led Slovak army abroad. He traveled the whole world. tefnik was cosmopolitan, but he was always closely tied to his country and has always been proud of Slovaks. The interest of Slovakia and its people became his main concerns. Milan Rastislav tefnik's historical impact on present Slovakia is undeniable, and will always inspire people of Slovak nation. Milan was led to love his country from his childhood mainly by his father who added Slavic names to the commonly used names of tefnik and all his 11 siblings. When he was six, he started attending the elementary school. The teacher Martin Kosteln described him: He was a diligent student,

Mrva 2 exemplary and eager to science. From one hundred twenty students he was the first (Eurpska nia 24). In 1895 tefnik joined the seminary in opro. He had good relationships with high school professors. But not with another students. Eurpska summarized the conditions in the school: The whole process of teaching and education, which had profound effects on the formation of thinking and feeling of young Milan, was in a spirit of contemptuous and rude attitude towards members of non-Hungarian nationalities, resulting in an open and unrestrained chauvinism. Many Slovak students, whether at secondary schools or universities, under the influence of such education often denationalized themselves. Ashamed of their native language and Slovak nation, they faithfully served the oppressors of their nation, the Hungarian aristocracy and bourgeoisie. (27) Milan, however never resisted Hungarization, always remembering the words of his father: "You know who your father is and who you are. In you hearts, always stay a good Slovaks and do not be shy for your mother tongue! (Kautsk 19). Milan Rastislav tefnik kept his loyalty to his native country throughout his life, what made him one of the greatest Slovaks. Diligence and eagerness for knowledge accompanied him during entire student days and later brought him a success in the science world. In 1900 he entered the Philosophical Faculty in Prague, where he has studied at the astronomy department. He gradually gained authority among Prague students. His next establishment later became Paris. He arrived there in November 1904. But the beginnings were difficult. tefnik's aim was to get between the two most famous astronomers in Paris: to Camille Flammarion and Jules Janssen (McKim 65). In early April 1905, professor Janssen came to Paris. He was impressed by tefnik's enthusiasm and accepted him as an associate. As a guest on Observatory of Mendon tefnik run various expeditions (eg June 20, 1905 ascent to the observatory at the top of Mont Blanc). In August 30, 1905 Janssen presented tefnik's spectroscopic study exploring solar eclipse at the Paris Academy and the study was also published by the Academy of the journal

Mrva 3 Comptes Rendus hebdomadaire des Sciences l'Academie des Sciences (McKim 39). Scientifically, the most successful year for tefnik was 1906, when his seven scientific papers were published. He had gradually incorporated himself to the scientific world in Paris. At the end of the year 1906, tefnik has received authorization from the Bureau des Longitudes to accompany French expedition to Turkestan to observe solar eclipse, which was in July 13, 1907. After returning to Paris the General Assembly of the French Astronomical Society awarded him Janssen's price. His job is very important contribution to the field of astrophysics, particularly solar physics. tefnik also played a key role in establishing of the Czechoslovak Republic. Beggining of the war did not surprise him, since he anticipated it since several years. In war, however, he mainly saw the possibility of exemption of Slovaks from under the oppression of Austria-Hungary and he was linking this act from the beginning with the Czechs (tefnik). In early 1915 he joined the military aviation school in Chartres, and on April he graduated as a driver of corporal rank. In the rank of lieutenant he then took up the front, where he made the research flights. Even as a pilot he was still, however, aware of the liberation of Czechs and Slovaks and sought to establish an independent Czecho-Slovak volunteer units. tefnik's new task, which he has assigned himself was to create a single control center for the joint resistance of Czechs and Slovaks, and also the creation of a separate Czech and Slovak troops and their enforcement among politicians. He met with the top French politicians: with prime minister Aristide Briand and the most influential men of French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Philippe Berthelot (Bradlo 47). tefnik presented them a plan to create the Czecho-Slovak State. In December 1915 he met with Eduard Bene (the second President of Czechoslovakia) who shared the same view with tefnik's concepts of creation of joint state. Meanwhile, he was constantly setting up a central representative body of foreign resistance. This led in February 1916 to creation of the National Council of Czech Countries (Conseil national des Pays

Mrva 4 Tchques), which was later renamed to the Czechoslovak National Council (tefnik). It had consisted of three members: the Prime Minister Masaryk, the Minister of Interior Bene and Minister of Defence tefnik. Shortly afterwards the Declaration of Independence of Czechoslovakia, the so-called Washington Declaration, has been published (Kele 65). In mid-February 1918 tefnik went to the Italy. There was also his main task the establishment of Czechoslovak army. In May 1918, the news about the performances of Czech-Slovak Legion in Russia flew around the world. It had already 50 000 members and soon joined the fighting against Germany and Austria-Hungary (Vro 129). Milan Rastislav tefnik has managed to create a strong Czechoslovak foreign legion, thus greatly supported forming of sovereignity of Czechoslovak nation. tefnik's work in establishing the first Czechoslovak state forever changed direction of both countries. After a long period of fighting for Czechoslovakia, he received a telegram from robr, who rushed his arrival to Bratislava. tefnik was very looking forward to his native country, because the last time he visited Slovakia after his father's death in 1913. His arrival was reported on Thursday or Friday, but it was subsequently moved probably due to adverse weather. Everything happened in May 4, 1919 in the Airport of Vajnory, which was marked with a capital letter T, directing tefnik's aircraft to the area. But when he arrived to Vajnory, it could be clearly seen that at first the plane dropped as if it wanted to land on one of the fields, but then it again rose to height. Aicraft apparently did not respond. It suddenly made large and sweeping arc to dive down. The last part of the fall was not seen, because it was concealed by the trees. All soldiers rushed to the place of the fall. Aircraft meanwhile burnt out and beside him layed motionless Milan Rastislav tefnik, while blood was trickling from his nose. In his pocket they found a letter in which he parted with his love. Both Slovakia and the Czech Republic fell into mourning. Everyone was aware of departure of a man whose actions for his homeland were so enormous that they will remain immortal. Despite multiple different speculations nobody can be sure about what caused the plane crash (Jurek 69). At his memorial a tomb was built on the Bradlo, off on a

Mrva 5 high hill near his birthplace. tefnik's tomb is a unique and significant monument, a symbol of love and gratitude of Slovaks and Czechs to one of the founders of their joint state. On the west side of this stone monument was placed a plaque: To great son freed Slovak nation. Milan Rastislav tefnik was not only famous astronomer, philosopher, diplomat, pilot, and politician, but he was mainly a Slovak. Slovak who never despised his country even though he spent most of his life outside of Slovakia. Slovak I am with my body and soul. I do not know half-love" (qtd. in Osobnosti.sk). He played an important role in establishing the now non-existent, but for two countries historically important Czechoslovakia. Forever he will be an example for all Slovaks, like the man who never forgot his native land, no matter where he was.

Works Cited asopis Bradlo, M. R. tefnik. Bratislava: Nakladatestvo asopisu Bradlo, 2001.

Mrva 6 Eurpska nia. M. R. tefnik: Eurpan a Eurpska nia. Bratislava: Eurpske 2008. Jurek, J. Milan Rastislav tefnik. Bratislava: Mlad Let, 1968. Kautsk, Emil Karol. Kauza tefnik - Legendy, fakty a otzniky okolo vzniku esko Slovenskej republiky. Martin: Matica Slovensk, 2004. Kele, Frantiek. Vznamn cestovate a jeho nasledovnci. Preov: Dali-BB, 2010. Kov, D. Slovensko v novom storo. Bratislava: Orbis Pictus Istropolitana, 1997. McKim, Richard M. Milan tefnik and the rotation period of Venus. London: British Astronomical Association, 2009. Osobnosti.sk. Milan Rastislav tefnik. 2004, December 7, 2010. <http://www.osobnosti.sk/index.php?os=zivotopis&ID=755 >. tefnik. To Believe, To Love, To Work. Ed. M. R. tefnik association. 2001, November 29, 2010. <http://www.mrstefanik.sk/kovac.html >. Vro, M. Posledn let generla tefnika. Bratislava: Obzor, 1991. nakladatestvo,

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