Pressburg – Bratislava – 1919

This exhibition marks Bratislava becoming part of Czechoslovakia.

A photo depicting historical events that preceded Bratislava becoming part of Czechoslovakia.A photo depicting historical events that preceded Bratislava becoming part of Czechoslovakia. (Source: Courtesy of Bratislavské Rožky)

A hundred years ago, the city of Pressburg in Hungary, inhabited mostly by Germans and Hungarians, first became, unofficially, Wilsonovo for a short time and then, officially Bratislava. It was to be the administrative centre and de facto capital of the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia, recalls the exhibition Pressburg – Bratislava – 1919 organised by the Bratislavské Rožky civic association, dedicated to the history and promotion of Bratislava.

Related articleBratislava almost became Wilson’s Town Read more 

At the time of the proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic, it was not clear that the city, called Prešporok or Požúň in Slovak, Pozsony in Hungarian and Pressburg in German, could be part of the newly emerging state and that it would become the heart of its Slovak part.

The Slovak political elite was divided about the role of the city within Czechoslovakia. Some of them wanted Banská Bystrica or Martin to become the capital of the Slovak lands instead of Bratislava with its predominantly German and Hungarian population.

In the end, pragmatic arguments prevailed over national ones.

“Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of the new republic, said ‘Czechoslovakia needed the Danube’”, the exhibition, compiled by Slovak and Hungarian historians, recalls.

The Slovak-Hungarian-English exhibition, initiated and coordinated by Sándor Papp and curated by Ján Vyhnánek is situated on Komenského Square behind the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre until October 6.

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