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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 308


This is the grave of Stefan Osusky.

Born in 1889 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in what is today Slovakia, Osusky became a Slovak patriot from a young age and was kicked out of school in 1905 for his Slovak nationalism that flew in the face of a empire that was falling apart at the seams over the nationalism issue. When asked if he would be a good Hungarian by a government official, Osusky simply remained silent. In political trouble, he migrated to the United States in 1906, living mostly in Chicago, where he acquired a law degree and worked for Slovak nationalist causes. He established some Slovak nationalist newspapers by 1915 and in 1916 became vice-president of the Slovak League. They sent him to Paris to coordinate actions with the resistance, with the ultimate goal of destroying the Austro-Hungarian Empire and creating a Slovak state. Of course, that didn’t quite happen and the Czechs and Slovaks were combined into the nation of Czechoslovakia after World War I.

Osusky remained in the new nation after the war. He was involved in the development of the League of Nations and fought for war reparations to go to not only Czechoslovakia but also the other new nations of eastern Europe. He was the Czechoslovak ambassador to France beginning in 1921 and stayed in that position for the next 18 years, leading to close relationships between those two nations.

In 1939 of course, Czechoslovakia was swallowed up by Germany. Osusky refused to leave his post, instead using to organize the resistance movement. His activities had plenty of support in France, but Eduard Benes, who was the nation’s president from 1935-38, did not want him doing this. Basically, Benes and Osusky did not like each other and could not get along. As Benes was the most important resistance figure for his nation, Osusky was basically forced out of action by 1942. Now out of Czechoslovak politics entirely, Osusky went to Oxford to lecture about foreign policy and international relations until the end of the war and then immigrated back to the United States as the Stalinists consolidated control in his home nation. He took a job at Colgate University and was active in organizing resistance activities to communist Czechoslovakia. He remained a leading commenter on eastern European affairs for the rest of his life, but was never again a prominent figure. He died in 1973.

Stefan Osusky is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

If you would like this series to visit more political exiles to the United States, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Unfortunately, Alexander Kerensky is buried in London, despite having lived most of his late years in the United States. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn also moved back to Russia after 1991 and is buried there. But I’m sure I can figure something out. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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