The authoress discusses the military professionalization of the Czech Armed Forces as a large-scale socio-political process of change that involved efforts both on the part of the Czech state officials and the media aimed at improving the deprived position of the Czech military in the public sphere and culture. These efforts focussed on the obliteration of the cultural idiom of Svejk - a literary hero of Jaroslav Hasek's novel of the 1920s, and the representation of peaceful resistance to war and military violence. In the course of the 20th century Svejk had become one of the most pervasive cultural references for popular laughter at oppressive military power and has been a leading cultural idiom for the Czechs during the thirty years of German and Soviet military occupations. The article shows how the current official efforts at changing the image of the Czech military focus on the obliteration of Svejk's cultural idiom, bringing him so frequently into the public discourse that they produce a phantom-like effect in which Svejk has come to haunt the process directed precisely at his expurgation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.