I started this blog more than two years ago, mainly to keep my friends and family back in the UK and elsewhere, up-to-date about my life, work and activities in the Czech Republic since moving here in September 2008 when I took up my new appointment as Chaplain of the English-speaking Anglican congregation in Prague.
I wrote about the original motivation behind my blog in a February 2010 piece entitled ‘Happy first birthday to my blog’. There I explained that I now know that many of my Prague congregation also read this blog and how I always have to be careful about whom or what I write! But what I never really expected is how much more widely this blog would be read. But using the tools provided by Google analytics, I’ve discovered that in recent months, my blog receives on average, more than fifty visitors a day.
One of the most frequent subjects that brings people here are those looking via search engines, for an explanation as to why two thirds of the world drives in left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles on the ‘right’, (as in the opposite of ‘left’) side of the road, whilst one third of the world drives in right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles on the ‘left’ (as in the opposite of ‘right’) side of the road. My two posts from June 2009 entitled ‘Driving on the ‘right’ side of the road’ and ‘Check this Czech car out’ both rank highly in Google and other search engines for enquiries of this nature.
As I wrote back in June 2009, the whole of Czechoslovakia drove on the left in RHD vehicles until the change to driving on the right was imposed overnight by Hitler, following his invasion of the country in March 1939. This is the reason why most of the vintage cars that now offer visiting tourists, guided tours around the historic sights of central Prague, are RHD. They all date from the pre-1939 era.
It has been a privilege in the past few weeks to have Johanna, a young lady from Finland, worshipping with us at St. Clements. She has come to Prague to undertake a creative writing course, in particular researching written accounts of the Czech experience of World War Two. As part of her research at the Prague Military Archive, Johanna uncovered two photographs that illustrate the change in driving practice imposed by Hitler. Knowing my interest in this subject, she kindly forwarded them to me.
In view of the wider interest in this topic, I’m posting them here as they are a fascinating record of how this change was imposed by the Nazi authorities in 1939.