An important source of legitimacy for all types of government is the creation of or building up of a sense of nationhood for the citizens of the state. This can be achieved in many ways, including through the use of physical nationalist symbols. In my paper, I address this topic by exploring how the Communist government of Czechoslovakia reinterpreted and changed the traditional meaning of the historical Bethlehem Chapel in Prague in order to fit their own ideology. I found that the Communist government emphasized the communal aspects of the Hussite movement and ignored religious associations. My research is primarily historical, with a focus on the role and importance of the Chapel in Czech history and how this significance influenced it’s rebuilding by the antireligious Communist government in the early 1950’s. This research is significant because it demonstrates how a government encourages nationalism by emphasizing certain aspects of a symbol in order to change its meaning.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Roger Murphy
Eastern European Studies | European History | Political History | Religion
LeMaster, Maya, "Bethlehem Chapel: How a Place Can be Reinterpreted by Government" (2016). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 672.