Czech Republic Publications
March 2003 - The collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia had many wonderful consequences. For historians it has meant that so many archives that were once closed to us have been open for more than a decade. As a result, those who write about Czech and Czechoslovak history now have unprecedented access to sources and have had ten-plus years to poke around and to consider what we have found very carefully. At the same time, a new generation of historians interested in Czech, Slovak and Czechoslovak history has appeared, both in Europe and in North America. In North America alone, there are now quite literally dozens of historians who have taken up Czech, Slovak and Czechoslovak history since the mid-1980s and this generation has benefited tremendously from the opening of the archives. The intersection of these two events has meant that much that was once unavailable as a subject of historical study is now at the center of the research programs of many talented historians.
November 1997 - According to Jan Vanous, through 1996 the Czech Republic was "the darling of the Western economic and financial community." In 1995-96, the economy was growing at a satisfactory rate, the inflation rate was low, privatization seemed nearly complete, and the government kept a tight rein on spending. The national unemployment rate was no more than 3.5 percent, with the figure for Prague being just .2 percent. A joke going around the Czech Republic was that, in some respects, the Czechs should teach the West how to run a market economy.
December 1998 - In 1977 Czechoslovakia and Hungary agreed to build a barrage complex on the Danube River with large dams at Gabcikovo (Czechoslovakia) and Nagymaros (Hungary). According to the treaty, the jointly-owned and -operated system would "strengthen the fraternal relations of the two states and significantly contribute to the bringing about of the[ir] socialist integration." In reality, however, it sparked a controversy between these two neighbors that has plagued Hungarian-Slovak relations for more than two decades.
The question the author here asks is: if President Havel has been able to overcome the traditional Czech stereotyping of the Germans, is the same true of the bulk of his compatriots, especially those bearing bitter memories of the last world war? While the majority of the Czechs may have accepted Havel's hopeful message about a united democratic Germany, whose territorial limits were irrelevant, they were much more reluctant to accept his apology for the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans. Havel's two statements opened a Pandora's box containing many taboos about the Czech-German relationship of which most Czechs preferred not to be reminded. Several questions about this relationship require elaboration.
January 2004 - In the aftermath of World War II, Czechoslovakia expelled close to three million ethnic Germans into occupied Austria and Germany. These so-called Sudeten Germans had long lived in borderland regions ringing the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, with the heaviest concentration inhabiting the industrially advanced north and west of Bohemia. During and after the expulsions, over two million Czechs settled in the formerly German areas, taking over houses, businesses and factories. The popular Communist Party controlled the resettlement process from the beginning in 1945, using its influence to create a web of patronage in the borderlands. This helped the Party win over 50 percent of the vote in north Bohemia in free elections in May of 1946. Even before Stalinism took hold in Czechoslovakia in 1948, north Bohemia's coal mining, power production and chemical industry were renowned. With the onset of a Communist policy of heavy industrialization, north Bohemia's industry became a model for the entire country. By the 1960s, north Bohemia also became known for its almost unrivaled pollution, with air and water so foul that trees died in waves and children decamped to the mountains for doses of clean air.
January 1999 - The image of humanist intellectuals opposing absolutist power in the name of Enlightenment ideals is a powerful one. Yet it represents only one way intellectuals have engaged in political activity in Europe. Czech intellectuals have been more than dissidents: they have also led political parties and served as parliamentary delegates, ministers, and presidents. Moreover, some of the best-known figures in Czech politics have been intellectuals. This essay addresses the careers of four intellectuals who have played important roles both in Czech letters and in Czech politics from 1848 to 1998.
In their literature, culture and early twentieth-century politics, the Czech people have a history of emphasizing moral virtue, tolerance, and respect for human dignity and freedom. Sadly, there is a growing chasm in Czech society between pre-revolution aspirations and post-revolution reality. The Czech Republic is infected with the destructive kind of nationalism found in other parts of East Central Europe, and now is characterized by a xenophobic citizenship law and violence against Roma. Will the Czechs ultimately honor their legacy of liberal humanism? The answer will speak volumes on the compatibility of nationalism and constitutional liberalism in the heart of the European continent.
356. Strengthening US-Slovak Cooperation and the Transatlantic Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges in Today's WorldJul 07, 2011
November 2008 - For Slovakia and for our friend and neighbor the Czech Republic, autumn is a good time of balancing out, commemorating and remembering many common historical events that determined the future for both of our countries. This particular autumn is marked by a growing number of global challenges, including the global financial crisis and recession which require bold and comprehensive global solutions. At the same time, for the USA and the whole world, this autumn is a time of much hope and expectation, given the presidential elections and accession of the new U.S. administration in January 2009.