On October 29, just a day after Slovakia commemorated the 86th anniversary of the establishment of the first Czechoslovak Republic, Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda unveiled a plaque commemorating General Milan Rastislav Štefánik at Piazza Venezia Square in Rome.
Štefánik was one of the founders of the first independent state of Czechs and Slovaks.
The plaque is situated just opposite the palace where the then Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando handed Štefánik the first flag of the Czechoslovak legions on May 24, 1918.
By doing this Italy declared its recognition of the Czechoslovak Republic.
The plaque was fixed just below one commemorating Michelangelo, who had his atelier there.
Štefánik was posthumously promoted to a general of the Slovak Army on the 85th anniversary of his tragic death.
Milan Rastislav Štefánik was born on July 21, 1880 in Košariská. He was an astronomer, politician, and a general of the French Army. He was Minister of War in the first Czechoslovak government. As he was returning to the republic from Italy in 1919, his plane crashed for unknown reasons shortly before it was due to land in Bratislava. General Štefánik and three Italian pilots accompanying him died in the crash. General Štefánik ranks among the most significant figures in modern Slovak history.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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2. Nov 2004 at 10:45