Brief History

Thanks to its position in the heart of Europe, Czechia has been the crossing of the ancient trade routes from South to North and East to West for millennia. The country is formed by three “lands”: Bohemia being the biggest one, Moravia (the Eastern part) and Silesia (a small region in the North-East, another part of which is in Poland), all speaking the same Czech language with light local dialects. Some sources simply use the names Bohemia and Czechia as synonyms. The name Bohemia refers to a Celtic tribe of Boii that occupied the territory in the later Iron Age (Boiohaemum in Latin means Home of the Boii; btw, the name of the German state Bavaria, originally Baiovaria, refers to Boii as well). Later the Celts partly withdrew and partly merged with German tribes and then the Slavic tribes came from the East (and stopped here – this is the western-most country speaking a Slavic language today).
The Czech history is rich and full of twists and turns, ranging from being one of the most powerful countries in the world in 14-16th centuries to being on the brink of extinction in the 17th-18th centuries – as the Czech language was mostly replaced by German, the country being a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the years 1583 to 1611, Prague was the capital of the Habsburg Monarchy before it was moved to Vienna.
The history of the modern Czech (and Slovak) state begins in 1918 after the World War I., when the independent Czechoslovakia was declared after its separation from Austro-Hungarian Empire. The progress of this top industrial country was interrupted by the World War II and, most of all, by a sad betrayal of its former military allies. In 1938, the states of Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, meeting Hitler’s demands and granting him the bordering parts of Bohemia (called Sudetten). That was where the Czech defense line against Germany was set up (the frontier fortification system here was even better than the famous Maginot Line in France), thus the agreement directly lead to Hitler’s occupation of the whole Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. And 6 years later, as the World War II was coming to an end, another treaty took place in Yalta where the spheres of political influence were sealed between Russians and Americans. The demarcation line was approved that made sure Czechoslovakia was to be liberated by Russian Army, thus remaining under Russian political influence. As the armies were approaching central Europe from East and West, it became clear that the Russians were in delay. The U.S. Army was able and prepared to continue to Prague and liberate the Czech capital a week before the Russians made it but the American military officials held it off , being aware of the treaty and possible negative reaction from Russians. And that is where the 40 years of communism in Czechoslovakia began. And even though the country got rid of the communist regime and Russian influence in 1989, it has not fully recovered from the moral and economic devastation it brought. So far for our belief in allies, both Western and Eastern. As we are a small country on the border of the East and West, we need allies. But none of them are proving dependable enough (EU being far from an exception, regarding former communist countries more as colonies rather than equal partners). That is one of the reasons for the long-term tension in the Czech political situation.