Liberation Festival Pilsen
Most of the territory of what today is the Czech Republic was liberated by the Soviet army, while the majority of western Bohemia was liberated by the units of General George Patton’s Third Army. Pilsen first saw the soldiers with the white stars on their trucks, tanks and uniforms on May 6, 1945 and became the last place the Allied troops reached during their journey across the European continent. Later on, the Communist regime tried hard to make people forget about the Americans fighting (and also fallen) for their freedom and any official celebration of the arrival of the American army in Pilsen was unthinkable before 1989.
Since 1990, Pilsen has been making a time journey back to 1945 every May. The Liberation Festival is held here, where people from all over the world come to commemorate the liberation by the US Army. The participation of veterans, whose annual visits are full of emotions, was until recently the basis of the neatly prepared programme. However, as time passes, fewer and fewer veterans are coming. Only those whose health allows them to make the arduous journey to the Czech Republic despite their advanced age continue to turn up. That is why the City of Pilsen is trying to take the celebrations of liberation to the next level, which would ensure the continuity of the Liberation Festival, the preservation of tradition, the remembrance of crucial moments in history and, above all, the maintaining of present-day freedom.
The programme of the Liberation Festival is divided into several parts: there are regularly held events, such as a convoy of historical military vehicles, memorial meetings at World War II memorials or discussions with veterans; at the same time, particular projects of individual military history clubs offer new and interesting concepts of history connected with the presentation of contemporary military equipment, weapons and military activities. Some of the projects go beyond the boundaries of individual years and form series. There are also new features in the celebration programme that attract new visitors and offer a programme for the whole family.