Andrej Hlinka

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Andrej Hlinka
Andrej Hlinka statue in Prešov
Andrej Hlinka statue in Žilina

Andrej Hlinka (September 27, 1864 - August 16, 1938) was a Slovak politician and Catholic priest, one of the most important Slovak public activists in Czechoslovakia before Second World War. He was the leader of the Slovak People's Party (since 1913), papal chamberlain (since 1924), inducted papal protonotary (since 1927), member of the National Assembly of Czechoslovakia (the parliament) and chairman of the St. Vojtech Group (organization publishing religious books).

Life[edit]

Born in Černová (today part of the city of Ružomberok) in the Liptó County of the Kingdom of Hungary (present-day Slovakia), Hlinka graduated in theology from Spišská Kapitula and was ordained priest in 1889.

In his political views he was a strong defender of Catholic ethics against all secularizing tendencies connected with economic and political liberalism of the Kingdom of Hungary in the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. This was also the opinion of the Hungarian Katolikus Néppárt (Catholic People's Party), led by Count Zichy, so Hlinka became an activist of this party.

However, as the party disregarded Slovak demands, Hlinka left and along with František Skyčák founded the Slovak People's Party in 1913. Hlinka became party chairman and remained in this position for the rest of his life. The Slovak People's Party was described as a clerical nationalist group.[1][2]

His political activities met with disapproval from the church hierarchy, which suspended him as a priest[citation needed].

Hlinka advocated that the Slovaks should split from the Kingdom of Hungary.

In 1918, Hlinka became a member of the Slovak National Council and also signed the Martin declaration, which advocated a political union with the Czech nation.

After the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, Hlinka's Slovak People's Party aimed at autonomy of Slovakia within Czechoslovakia on the basis of the Pittsburgh Agreement (1918) between American Czechs and Slovaks and Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's first President, and his successor Edvard Beneš claimed that the treaty was a fabrication and resisted Hlinka's demands. Only when Czechoslovakia had to cede their predominantly German-speaking border regions to Nazi Germany and Benes resigned, was Slovakia granted autonomy on October 6, 1938, less than two months after Hlinka's death.

Legacy[edit]

During the fascist first Slovak Republic (1939–1945), Hlinka was considered by the regime as a national hero. In Communist Czechoslovakia Hlinka was portrayed as a "clerofascist".

After the fall of Communism, Hlinka became again a respected person, mostly to nationalist sympathisers and to Christian democratic organisations, while the rest of current Slovak society seems mostly indifferent towards Hlinka's memory. Hlinka's image could be found on the Slovak 1000-crown banknote, before Slovakia's adoption of the Euro in 2009. A motion in the Parliament of Slovakia to proclaim him "father of the nation" nearly passed in September 2007.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yehuda Bauer, American Jewry and the Holocaust: the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1939-1945, Wayne State University Press, 1981, p. 356. [1]
  2. ^ Peter Davies, Derek Lynch, The Routledge companion to fascism and the far right, Routledge, 2002, p. 216 [2]
  3. ^ Balogová, Beata (2007-12-17). "2007 was turbulent for the ruling coalition". The Slovak Spectator. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 

External links[edit]