National Geographic : 1938 Aug
CZECHOSLOVAKS, YANKEES OF EUROPE "HOLD OUT; YIELD TO NOBODY," READS A SIGN ON THE PRESIDENT'S STAND President Eduard Benes (in white), visiting the shoemaking town of Zlin (page 173), addresses a crowd from a stand beside the Bata motion picture theater. Beneath the fighting motto is the coat of arms of Czechoslovakia, with two double-tailed Czech lions holding a shield composed of the coats of arms of its historic lands. The double cross represents Slovakia; the bear, Sub Carpathian Russia, or Ruthenia; the checkered eagle, Moravia; the lion, Bohemia; the black eagle with the crescent moon on its breast, Silesia; and the lowest three the old Bohemian crown lands of Tesin, Opava, and Ratibor. On the cinema wall a map of the country shows its principal waterways and urges their commercial development. laughing, "because whenever I wanted a picture or a bookcase, Thomas would men tion someone in the factory who operated an obsolete machine." Mrs. Bata was flying to Praha; she in vited me to accompany her. BY PLANE TO PRAHA Early that murky afternoon I went to the busy airport. The three motors of a giant British-built plane were idling, warm and ready, despite the weather, to lift us over the white hills of Moravia to Praha. Near us, like chicks, stood a fleet of the Bata-built airplanes. We flew over wooded hills and cultivated valleys. This country, despite vast, unin habited forest and mountain lands, is, next to Germany, the most densely settled in Cen tral Europe. That is why Czechoslovakia exports manufactures and imports food. When the Nation gained its freedom, this old factory district of Austria-Hun- gary lost many markets behind tariff walls that subdivide the former empire today. As we sped over tile roofs, I fancied I could smell the smoke of fagot fires, drift ing upward from chimneys of snug, thick walled houses (Plate VI), where women even then were busy with churns and knit ting. I could see files of geese in snowy streets, and wellheads and strawstacks in the yards. I could even see the chickens that perch on warm manure piles when days are cold and spiritless and there are only snow and ice to scratch in. Now a freshening wind flattened the blue smoke plumes that had curled so lazily from the chimneys. Our ceiling lowered; sky and storm closed down. Snow whipped past cabin windows. Houses, fields, and trees were blotted out. We were flying blind and began to climb. At a mile of altitude it was much colder; my breath froze on the cabin window. At 7,000 feet Mrs. Bata tossed me a fur robe.