Brno on Its Way to Becoming the Second City of Czechoslovakia: The Multi-Ethnic Urban Society and the State-Building Process
The development of Brno into a modern metropolis was considerably accelerated after the constitution of Czechoslovakia in 1918. The Czechoslovak government founded there many public institutions which strengthened Brno’s position as the second city of the new nation-state. According to the analyses on the similar regional centres in Central Europe in the course of the first half of the 20th century by Iris Engemann (Bratislava) and Anna Moskal (Poznań), we can assume that also the representatives of the Czechoslovak Republic associated the extensive modernization of Brno with the nationalization and the centralization of the power in the multi-ethnic society. This paper seeks to enhance this interpretation by adding a new perspective for showing to what extent the local people understood the transformation in terms of nationalism. The aim of the study is to examine how the different ethnic groups living in Brno perceived the new institutions representing the state in the city. Specifically, I am focusing on the responses of the Czech, German and Jewish local press to four model projects which were realized between the years 1918 and 1928 but planned already before World War I: the agglomeration “Great Brno”, the university, the international airport and the exhibition centre. I believe this approach will enable me to compare the attitude of the Brno’s Czechs, Germans and Jews towards the Czechoslovak Republic as well as the former Habsburg Monarchy and contribute to the debate on the post-imperial transformation.