THIS PROPAGANDIST postcard was published some time during the days following Czechoslovakia's liberation from Hitler's armies in 1945. It depicts the country's joy at being free again: a smiling Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, sun-drenched Prague and an outline of Czechoslovakia's borders from before the war. The inscription declares "What is ours will remain ours", as if to re-assert the values of the state, which had been shattered by the war.
The postcard was sealed with a rare stamp announcing the return of President Eduard Beneš from exile in London.
Alas, this idyll did not last long. By 1948, hopes that the democratic, pluralist state of the pre-war period would be re-established had been dashed. Communists seized power and imposed a dictatorship which lasted for more than 40 years.
The map in the postcard quickly changed too. Czechoslovakia lost its eastern part - Carpatho-Ukraine - which was annexed by the Soviet Union and is now part of Ukraine.