The Government and Politics of Postcommunist Europe

By Andrew A. Michta | Go to book overview

2
THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA

CZECHS, SLOVAKS, AND THE INTERWAR FEDERATION

The Slav settlements in Bohemia and Moravia, the two principal regions of today's Czech Republic, date back to the fifth century A.D., with the first state formation of Western Slavs, the Great Moravian Empire, dating back to the ninth century. The proto-Czech Christian state was centered around the Nitra region and included Bohemia and Slovakia, as well as Moravia. The Moravian state was destroyed by the Magyars, with Slovakia becoming a part of Hungary until 1918. The medieval Czech kingdom was consolidated in the thirteenth century under the Premyslid dynasty, which ruled in Bohemia and Moravia. Exposed to Mongol raids as well as pressure from Hungary, the Czech kingdom peaked in the late fourteenth century under the rule of Charles IV, who expanded the state's territory by annexing Silesia, Lower Lusatia, and Brandenburg to the Czech crown. The cultural development of the kingdom was symbolized by the founding in 1348 of a university in Prague, one of the oldest and greatest centers of learning in medieval Europe.

The reformation of the fifteenth century sweeping across Europe resulted in the indigenous Jan Hus reform movement, with the city of Tabor in south Bohemia becoming a preeminent Hussite center. The subsequent wars and the eclipse of the Czech kingdom coincided with the rise of the Habsburgs in Germany and of the Jagiellonian dynasty in Poland-Lithuania. The Thirty Years' War brought about a dramatic transformation of the Czech society, with the nation's nobility virtually wiped out in 1620 in the Battle of the White Mountain, followed by the assertion of strong Habsburg domination over the region. The

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The Government and Politics of Postcommunist Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • I - East Central Europe 7
  • 1 - Poland 9
  • 2 - The Czech Republic and Slovakia 29
  • 3 - Hungary 55
  • II - The Balkans 69
  • 4 - Romania 71
  • 5 - Bulgaria 87
  • 6 - Yugoslav Successor States and Albania 103
  • III - The Baltic Rim 125
  • 7 - Lithuania 127
  • 8 - Latvia 147
  • 9 - Estonia 165
  • IV - East European Periphery 181
  • 10 - Belarus 183
  • 11 - Ukraine 197
  • Conclusion: Postcommunist Europe in the New European Order 211
  • Selected Bibliography 221
  • Index 227
  • About the Author 237
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