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The First World War brought untold destruction to the entire world. The scar left after this conflict is still visible in nearly every village in the form of a monument to the fallen. In Blatná, this was the statue of Liberty unveiled in 1923. While the woman with a grim face is based on war graves, her pedestal is not planted with any names, because there were many men from Blatná who died in the war – 90 citizens to be precise, of whom six were legionnaires. Besides this statue, the war also produced two personalities who significantly impacted the history of the newly established Czechoslovak state.

The first of them was Antonín Kalina, whose name is borne by the square near the Sokol house in Blatná. Despite him belonging to the Young Czech Political Branch, in 1894 he became the district committee secretary in Blatná. In 1901, he was elected to the Bohemian Diet and in 1907 he joined the Imperial Council, where he joined the Union of Independent Progressive MPs of Bohemia and Moravia. There he met Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and during the war worked in the resistance as a member of Maffia. After resumption of the activities of the Imperial Council in 1917, he made a request for the reconstruction of the Czech state and subsequently in 1918 attended a meeting of the National Committee in Geneva together with representatives of the Czechoslovak resistance. He remained active in politics until his death in 1922.

The second personality was Jan Böhm, whose rose-making businesses gave Blatná the nickname ‘town of roses’. He first encountered his passion during the war, when he was wounded at the front and transferred to Vienna, where he would work as a gardener. In the newly established republic, he moved to Blatná to an unkept and stony field. Here he started to grow roses. The first results did not come until 1921. In 1925, he grew his first rose, which he named after his daughter Máňa Böhmová. In 1928, he purchased an administrative building, today’s Villa Böhm near Kalinovo Square, to be closer to his fields. His significance matched that of Tomáš Baťa and Blatná became known as a ‘town of roses’. His work was first interrupted by the World War II and later terminated by nationalization in 1950. After that, he could do nothing more than watch his business be laid to waste by amateurs.

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