From Pittsburgh to Pressburg : the transatlantic Slovak national movement, 1880-1920

  • Stephen O'Donnell

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Between 1870 and 1920, half a million Slovak-speaking migrants left the Kingdom of Hungary for the United States of America. They represented one fifth of the world's Slovak-speaking population. During this mass, transatlantic Slovak migration, Slovak nationalism in Hungary was transformed from a fringe idea into a serious political goal. The resulting Slovak national movement helped create the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938), a state whose mostly Czech leaders pledged to support Slovak national rights. The multilingual region known as 'Upper Hungary' from which Slovak-speakers had left was given a new, ethnically-based name: Slovakia, which was imagined as a national, territorial homeland for Slovak speakers, and still in existence today.This critical period of change in Slovak nationalist thought has yet to be properly understood. This is because scholarship on Slovak nationalism in the new world has been artificially separated from research into Slovak nationalism in the old country. Although the role played by the emerging Slovak American community in campaigning for a Czecho-Slovak state during the First World War has been recognised, the wider significance of Slovak American political institutions, fraternal organisations and the Slovak migrant press in shaping Slovak nationalist activism has not. Historians of the Slovak-American community, on the other hand, have yet to influence debates on Slovak political nationalism. By combining two historiographical traditions that largely talk past one another, this study uncovers the transatlantic Slovak national movement that formed between nationalist leaders in Upper Hungary and the migrant colony in the United States. Based on extensive research in Slovak and Slovak-American archives in both the USA and Slovakia, this dissertation demonstrates that a transatlantic Slovak political movement in the late nineteenth century brought about the creation of a Slovak national homeland in the twentieth.
Date of Award20 Mar 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorMary Heimann (Supervisor) & Karine Varley (Supervisor)

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