Milan Rastislav Štefánik Biography

Milan Rastislav Stefanik was a Slovak philosopher, astronomer, diplomat, and politician. This biography gives detailed information about his childhood, life, works and timeline

Quick Facts

Birthday: July 21, 1880

Nationality: Slovak

Famous: Diplomats Philosophers

Died At Age: 38

Sun Sign: Cancer

Also Known As: Milan Rastislav Stefanik

Born in: Košariská

Famous as: Politician


mother: Albertína Jurenková

Died on: May 4, 1919

place of death: Ivanka pri Dunaji

Cause of Death: Accident

More Facts

education: 1904 - Charles University in Prague

awards: Legion of Honour

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Milan Rastislav Stefanik was a Slovak philosopher, astronomer, diplomat, and politician. He made a big impact both in astronomy and politics during his short life. His passion for politics developed while he studied astronomy and philosophy in Prague. His political activism put him in touch with mentors such as Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Vavro Šrobár. These men influenced Stefanik's strong desire to unite the Czech and Slovak people in one independent nation free from Austria-Hungarian rule. This passion inspired him to join the French military, where he spent four years as an aviator. He went on to spend the remainder of his life working towards the formation of Czechoslovakia. When he succeeded in this endeavor he was rewarded with the title of Czechoslovakia's first Minister of War. His work for the unification of the Czech and Slovak people was tarnished with the conspiracy that arose from his death in a plane crash. Although this crash was a turning point in the Slovak animosity and mistrust towards the Czechs, the significance of Stefanik's diplomatic achievements can never be forgotten. He will forever be known as one of the founding fathers of a Czechoslovakian republic that freed his people from imperial oppression

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Childhood & Early Life
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  • Milan Rastislav Stefanik's time studying in Prague had a profound effect on the shape of his career. He wrote political texts regarding the struggle of the Slovaks. His professor's influence developed in him the idea of Czechs and Slovaks living in peaceful cooperation.
  • He got his first job in Astronomy at the recommendation of one of his professors. The job was at the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon in Paris, France.
  • Stefanik excelled at his role despite having a rudimentary knowledge of French. Pierre Janssen, director of the observatory and co-founder of Astrophysics, recognized his potential and served as a mentor throughout his career.
  • The Observatoire de Paris-Meudon was the world's most prestigious Astronomical institute, which meant Janssen's endorsement carried heavy weight.
  • Stefanik climbed Mount Blanc for the first time in 1905. Here he set up a study of Mars and the moon. In the same year he was part of an expedition to Spain that studied the solar eclipse.
  • Stefanik served as the co-director of Mount Blanc observatories from 1906 to 1908. While serving as co-director at Mount Blanc, his mentor Pierre Janssen passed away in 1907. He left his job and became employed with the French government.
  • From 1908 until 1911 he worked as an academic-diplomatic hybrid sent to observe sun eclipses and strength diplomatic relations in countries all over the world. Some countries he worked in include: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, Brazil, Tonga, Panama, Russia, and Tahiti.
  • While in Tahiti he built an Observatory. It is said that his secondary job was using the observatory to monitor German military activity.
  • At the start of World War 1 he enlisted in the French army with the firm belief that the defeat of Austria-Hungary would lead to independence for the Slovaks and Czechs. He enlisted for training as an aviator.
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  • He flew over 30 missions as a member of the MFS 99 squadron. He survived the war and returned to Paris in 1915.
  • In 1916, along with Tomáš Masaryk and Edvard Beneš, he formed the Czechoslovak National Council. This served as the body of government for the growing Czech-Slovak resistance that eventually led to the formation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
  • In 1916, he traveled to Russia to organize legions of troops. He continued his efforts the following year in the USA, France, and Italy. His diplomatic skills earned him the position of Czechoslovakia's first Minister of War.
Major Works
  • His most significant contribution was his work as a diplomat. Through the founding of the Czechoslovak National Council he played an integral role in the establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent nation.
  • He also contributed to the young nation's foreign policy during his short time as Minister of War. Stefanik's duties included smoothly navigating activities regarding troops on foreign soil.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1917, he was made grand officer of the French Legion of Honour.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Milan Rastislav Stefanik suffered a tragic death on May 4, 1919 in a plane crash that also killed two Italian officers. The conspiracy surrounding the cause of the crash put a severe strain on relations between the Czechs and Slovaks.
  • In 1928 a monumental tomb in his honor was built on Bradlo, located in Brezová pod Bradlom.
  • The M.R. Stefanik airport in Bratislava is dedicated to his achievements as an aviator.
  • Stefanik was the recipient of the first documented medical evacuation using aircraft during a military mission

See the events in life of Milan Rastislav Štefánik in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Milan Rastislav Štefánik Biography
- Editors,
Milan Rastislav Štefánik

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