Area: 78,864 sq. kilometers; about the size of
Cities: Capital--Prague (pop. 1.16
million). Other cities--Brno (376,172),
Ostrava (314,744), Plzen (165,529).
Terrain: Low mountains to the north and south,
hills in the west.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Czech(s).
Population (est.): 10.2 million.
Annual growth rate: 0.1%.
Ethnic groups: Czech (90.4% or 9.25 million);
Moravian (more than 380,000); Slovak (193,000);
Roma (171,000); Silesian (11,000); Polish
(52,000); German (39,000); Ukrainian (22,000);
and Vietnamese (18,000).
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant.
Health: Life expectancy--males 72.3 yrs.,
females 78.5 yrs.
Work force (5.13 million): Industry,
construction, and commerce—54.3%;
government and other services--41%;
Type: Parliamentary republic.
Independence: The Czech Republic was established
January 1, 1993 (former Czechoslovak state
Constitution: Signed December 16, 1992.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of
state), prime minister (head of government),
cabinet. Legislative--Chamber of
Deputies, Senate. Judicial--Supreme
Court, Constitutional Court.
Political parties (June 2002 election): Czech
Social Democratic Party (CSSD), 70 seats; Civic
Democratic Party (ODS), 58 seats; Communist
Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM), 41 seats;
Christian and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak
Peoples Party (KDU-CSL), 21 seats; Freedom Union
(US), 10 seats.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Administrative subdivisions: Two
regions--Bohemia and Moravia; 13 administrative
districts and Prague.
GDP (2004): $107.7 billion (at current prices
and exchange rates).
Per capita income (2004): $10,551.
Natural resources: Coal, coke, timber, lignite,
Agriculture: Products--wheat, rye, oats,
corn, barley, hops, potatoes, sugar beets, hogs,
Industry: Types--motor vehicles,
machinery and equipment, iron, steel, cement,
sheet glass, armaments, chemicals, ceramics,
wood, paper products, and footwear.
Trade (2005): Exports--$79 billion
(est.): motor vehicles, machinery, iron, steel,
chemicals, raw materials, consumer goods.
Imports--$78 billion (est.). Trading
partners--Germany (32%), Slovakia, Poland,
France, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia,
U.K., China, United States.
The majority of the 10.2 million inhabitants of
the Czech Republic are ethnically and
linguistically Czech (95%). Other ethnic groups
include Germans, Roma, and Poles. After the 1993
division of the Czech and Slovak Federal
Republic, some Slovaks remained in the Czech
Republic and comprise roughly 3% of the current
population. The border between the Czech
Republic and Slovakia is open for citizens of
the former Czechoslovakia. Laws establishing
religious freedom were passed shortly after the
revolution of 1989, lifting oppressive
regulations enacted by the former communist
regime. Major denominations and their estimated
percentage populations are Roman Catholic (39%)
and Protestant (3%). A large percentage of the
Czech population claim to be atheists (40%), and
16% describe themselves as uncertain. The Jewish
community numbers a few thousand today; a
synagogue in Prague memorializes the names of
more than 80,000 Czechoslovak Jews who perished
in World War II.
The Czech Republic was the western part of
the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic. Formed
into a common state after World War I (October
28, 1918), the Czechs, Moravians, and Slovaks
remained united for almost 75 years. On January
1, 1993, the two republics split to form two
The Czechs lost their national independence
to the Hapsburgs Empire in 1620 at the Battle of
White Mountain and for the next 300 years were
ruled by the Austrian Monarchy. With the
collapse of the monarchy at the end of World War
I, the independent country of Czechoslovakia was
formed, encouraged by, among others, U.S.
President Woodrow Wilson.
Despite cultural differences, the Slovaks
shared with the Czechs similar aspirations for
independence from the Hapsburg state and
voluntarily united with the Czechs. For
historical reasons, Slovaks were not at the same
level of economic and technological development
as the Czechs, but the freedom and opportunity
found in Czechoslovakia enabled them to make
strides toward overcoming these inequalities.
However, the gap never was fully bridged, and
the discrepancy played a continuing role
throughout the 75 years of the union.
Although Czechoslovakia was the only east
European country to remain a parliamentary
democracy from 1918 to 1938, it was plagued with
minority problems, the most important of which
concerned the country's large German population.
Constituting more than 22% of the interwar
state's population and largely concentrated in
the Bohemian and Moravian border regions (the
Sudetenland), members of this minority,
including some who were sympathetic to Nazi
Germany, undermined the new Czechoslovak state.
Internal and external pressures culminated in
September 1938, when France and the United
Kingdom yielded to Nazi pressures at Munich and
agreed to force Czechoslovakia to cede the
Sudetenland to Germany.
Fulfilling Hitler's aggressive designs on all
of Czechoslovakia, Germany invaded what remained
of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939,
establishing a German "protectorate." By this
time, Slovakia had already declared independence
and had become a puppet state of the Germans.
At the close of World War II, Soviet troops
overran all of Slovakia, Moravia, and much of
Bohemia, including Prague. In May 1945, U.S.
forces liberated the city of Plzen and most of
western Bohemia. A civilian uprising against the
German garrison took place in Prague in May
1945. Following Germany's surrender, some 2.9
million ethnic Germans were expelled from
Czechoslovakia with Allied approval under the
Reunited after the war, the Czechs and
Slovaks set national elections for the spring of
1946. The democratic elements, led by President
Eduard Benes, hoped the Soviet Union would allow
Czechoslovakia the freedom to choose its own
form of government and aspired to a
Czechoslovakia that would act as a bridge
between East and West. The Czechoslovak
Communist Party, which won 38% of the vote, held
most of the key positions in the government and
gradually managed to neutralize or silence the
anti-communist forces. Although the
communist-led government initially intended to
participate in the Marshall Plan, it was forced
by Moscow to back out. Under the cover of
superficial legality, the Communist Party seized
power in February 1948.
After extensive purges modeled on the
Stalinist pattern in other east European states,
the Communist Party tried 14 of its former
leaders in November 1952 and sentenced 11 to
death. For more than a decade thereafter, the
Czechoslovak communist political structure was
characterized by the orthodoxy of the leadership
of party chief Antonin Novotny.
The 1968 Soviet Invasion
The communist leadership allowed token reforms
in the early 1960s, but discontent arose within
the ranks of the Communist Party central
committee, stemming from dissatisfaction with
the slow pace of the economic reforms,
resistance to cultural liberalization, and the
desire of the Slovaks within the leadership for
greater autonomy for their republic. This
discontent expressed itself with the removal of
Novotny from party leadership in January 1968
and from the presidency in March. He was
replaced as party leader by a Slovak, Alexander
After January 1968, the Dubcek leadership
took practical steps toward political, social,
and economic reforms. In addition, it called for
politico-military changes in the
Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact and Council for
Mutual Economic Assistance. The leadership
affirmed its loyalty to socialism and the Warsaw
Pact but also expressed the desire to improve
relations with all countries of the world
regardless of their social systems.
A program adopted in April 1968 set
guidelines for a modern, humanistic socialist
democracy that would guarantee, among other
things, freedom of religion, press, assembly,
speech, and travel; a program that, in Dubcek's
words, would give socialism "a human face."
After 20 years of little public participation,
the population gradually started to take
interest in the government, and Dubcek became a
truly popular national figure.
The internal reforms and foreign policy
statements of the Dubcek leadership created
great concern among some other Warsaw Pact
governments. On the night of August 20, 1968,
Soviet, Hungarian, Bulgarian, East German, and
Polish troops invaded and occupied
Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovak Government
immediately declared that the troops had not
been invited into the country and that their
invasion was a violation of socialist
principles, international law, and the UN
The principal Czechoslovak reformers were
forcibly and secretly taken to the Soviet Union.
Under obvious Soviet duress, they were compelled
to sign a treaty that provided for the
"temporary stationing" of an unspecified number
of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia. Dubcek was
removed as party First Secretary on April 17,
1969, and replaced by another Slovak, Gustav
Husak. Later, Dubcek and many of his allies
within the party were stripped of their party
positions in a purge that lasted until 1971 and
reduced party membership by almost one-third.
The 1970s and 1980s became known as the
period of "normalization," in which the
apologists for the 1968 Soviet invasion
prevented, as best they could, any opposition to
their conservative regime. Political, social,
and economic life stagnated. The population,
cowed by the "normalization," was quiet.
The Velvet Revolution
The roots of the 1989 Civic Forum movement that
came to power during the "Velvet Revolution" lie
in human rights activism. On January 1, 1977,
more than 250 human rights activists signed a
manifesto called the Charter 77, which
criticized the government for failing to
implement human rights provisions of documents
it had signed, including the state's own
constitution; international covenants on
political, civil, economic, social, and cultural
rights; and the Final Act of the Conference for
Security and Cooperation in Europe. Although not
organized in any real sense, the signatories of
Charter 77 constituted a citizens' initiative
aimed at inducing the Czechoslovak Government to
observe formal obligations to respect the human
rights of its citizens.
On November 17, 1989, the communist police
violently broke up a peaceful pro-democracy
demonstration and brutally beat many student
participants. In the days that followed, Charter
77 and other groups united to become the Civic
Forum, an umbrella group championing
bureaucratic reform and civil liberties. Its
leader was the dissident playwright Vaclav
Havel. Intentionally eschewing the label
"party," a word given a negative connotation
during the previous regime, Civic Forum quickly
gained the support of millions of Czechs, as did
its Slovak counterpart, Public Against Violence.
Faced with an overwhelming popular
repudiation, the Communist Party all but
collapsed. Its leaders, Husak and party chief
Milos Jakes, resigned in December 1989, and
Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia on
December 29. The astonishing quickness of these
events was in part due to the unpopularity of
the communist regime and changes in the policies
of its Soviet guarantor as well as to the rapid,
effective organization of these public
initiatives into a viable opposition.
A coalition government, in which the
Communist Party had a minority of ministerial
positions, was formed in December 1989. The
first free elections in Czechoslovakia since
1946 took place in June 1990 without incident
and with more than 95% of the population voting.
As anticipated, Civic Forum and Public Against
Violence won landslide victories in their
respective republics and gained a comfortable
majority in the federal parliament. The
parliament undertook substantial steps toward
securing the democratic evolution of
Czechoslovakia. It successfully moved toward
fair local elections in November 1990, ensuring
fundamental change at the county and town level.
Civic Forum found, however, that although it
had successfully completed its primary
objective--the overthrow of the communist
regime--it was ineffectual as a governing party.
The demise of Civic Forum was viewed by most as
necessary and inevitable.
By the end of 1990, unofficial parliamentary
"clubs" had evolved with distinct political
agendas. Most influential was the Civic
Democratic Party, headed by Vaclav Klaus, who
later became Prime Minister. Other notable
parties that came to the fore after the split
were the Czech Social Democratic Party, Civic
Movement, and Civic Democratic Alliance.
By 1992, Slovak calls for greater autonomy
effectively blocked the daily functioning of the
federal government. In the election of June
1992, Klaus's Civic Democratic Party won handily
in the Czech lands on a platform of economic
reform. Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia emerged as the leading party
in Slovakia, basing its appeal on fairness to
Slovak demands for autonomy. Federalists, like
Havel, were unable to contain the trend toward
the split. In July 1992, President Havel
resigned. In the latter half of 1992, Klaus and
Meciar hammered out an agreement that the two
republics would go their separate ways by the
end of the year.
Members of the federal parliament, divided
along national lines, barely cooperated enough
to pass the law officially separating the two
nations. The law was passed on December 27,
1992. On January 1, 1993, the Czech Republic and
the Republic of Slovakia were simultaneously and
Relationships between the two states, despite
occasional disputes about the division of
federal property and governing of the border,
have been peaceful. Both states attained
immediate recognition from the U.S. and their
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The President of the Czech Republic is Vaclav
Klaus. He was elected on February 28, 2003 and
sworn into office on March 7, 2003. As formal
head of state, the president is granted specific
powers such as the right to nominate
Constitutional Court judges, dissolve parliament
under certain conditions, and enact a veto on
legislation. Presidents are elected by the
parliament for 5-year terms.
The Czech political scene supports a broad
spectrum of parties ranging from the
unreconstructed Communist Party on the far left
to several nationalistic and non-parliamentary
parties on the extreme right. The center-left
Social Democrats (CSSD) emerged in first place
in the 2002 elections and were able to form a
government with a narrow parliamentary majority
in a left-center-right three-party coalition.
Former Prime Minister Klaus' Civic Democrats
(ODS) and the Communists went into opposition.
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla (CSSD) led a
three-party coalition government with a one-vote
majority from 2002 through June 2004. He was
replaced in August 2004 by Stanislav Gross (CSSD),
who ruled until April 25, 2005. Upon Gross’s
resignation, President Klaus named CSSD Deputy
Chair and Minister of Regional Development Jiri
Paroubek as the new Prime Minister. Paroubek’s
government consists of the same three parties
with the same one-vote majority. The next
parliamentary elections are scheduled for June
The legislature is bicameral, with a Chamber
of Deputies (200 seats) and a Senate (81 seats).
With the split of the former Czechoslovakia, the
powers and responsibilities of the now defunct
federal parliament were transferred to the Czech
National Council, which renamed itself the
Chamber of Deputies. Chamber delegates are
elected from 14 regions--including the capital,
Prague--for 4-year terms, on the basis of
proportional representation. The Czech Senate is
patterned after the U.S. Senate and was first
elected in 1996; its members serve for 6-year
terms with one-third being elected every 2
The country's highest court of appeal is the
Supreme Court. The Constitutional Court, which
rules on constitutional issues, is appointed by
the president. Its members serve 10-year terms.
Principal Government Officials
Prime Minister--Jiri Paroubek (CSSD)
Foreign Minister--Cyril Svoboda (KDU-CSL)
Ambassador to the U.S.--Petr Kolar
The Czech Republic maintains an
at 3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20008, (tel. 202-274-9101).
Of the former communist countries in central and
eastern Europe, the Czech Republic has one of
the most developed and industrialized economies.
Its strong industrial tradition dates to the
19th century, when Bohemia and Moravia were the
industrial heartland of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. The Czech Republic has a well-educated
population and a well-developed infrastructure.
The country's strategic location in Europe,
low-cost structure, and skilled work force have
attracted strong inflows of foreign direct
investment. This investment is rapidly
modernizing its industrial base and increasing
The principal industries are motor vehicles,
machine-building, iron and steel production,
metalworking, chemicals, electronics,
transportation equipment, textiles, glass,
brewing, china, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals.
The main agricultural products are sugar beets,
fodder roots, potatoes, wheat, and hops. As a
small, open economy in the heart of Europe,
economic growth is strongly influenced by demand
for Czech exports and flows of foreign direct
At the time of the 1948 communist takeover,
Czechoslovakia had a balanced economy and one of
the higher levels of industrialization on the
continent. In 1948, however, the government
began to stress heavy industry over agricultural
and consumer goods and services. Many basic
industries and foreign trade, as well as
domestic wholesale trade, had been nationalized
before the communists took power.
Nationalization of most of the retail trade was
completed in 1950-51.
Heavy industry received major economic
support during the 1950s, but central planning
resulted in waste and inefficient use of
industrial resources. Although the labor force
was traditionally skilled and efficient,
inadequate incentives for labor and management
contributed to high labor turnover, low
productivity, and poor product quality. Economic
failures reached a critical stage in the 1960s,
after which various reform measures were sought
with no satisfactory results.
Hope for wide-ranging economic reform came
with Alexander Dubcek's rise in January 1968.
Despite renewed efforts, however, Czechoslovakia
could not come to grips with inflationary
forces, much less begin the immense task of
correcting the economy's basic problems.
The economy saw growth during the 1970s but
then stagnated between 1978-82. Attempts at
revitalizing it in the 1980s with management and
worker incentive programs were largely
unsuccessful. The economy grew after 1982,
achieving an annual average output growth of
more than 3% between 1983-85. Imports from the
West were curtailed, exports boosted, and hard
currency debt reduced substantially. New
investment was made in the electronic, chemical,
and pharmaceutical sectors, which were industry
leaders in eastern Europe in the mid-1980s.
The "Velvet Revolution" in 1989 offered a
chance for profound and sustained economic
reform. Signs of economic resurgence began to
appear in the wake of the shock therapy that the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) labeled the
"big bang" of January 1991. Since then, astute
economic management has led to the elimination
of 95% of all price controls, large inflows of
foreign investment, increasing domestic
consumption and industrial production, and a
stable exchange rate. Exports to former
communist economic bloc markets have shifted to
western Europe. Thanks to foreign investment,
the country enjoys a positive
balance-of-payments position. Despite a general
trend over the last 10 years toward rising
budget deficits, the Czech Government's domestic
and foreign indebtedness remains relatively low.
The Czech koruna (crown) became fully
convertible for most business purposes in late
1995. Following a currency crisis and recession
in 1998-99, the crown exchange rate was allowed
to float. Recently, strong capital inflows have
resulted in a steady increase in the value of
the crown against the euro and the dollar. The
strong crown helped to keep inflation low. In
2004, it was about 2.8%, mainly due to increases
in value added tax rates and higher fuel costs,
and hovered at 2% for 2005. The Czech National
Bank forecasts inflation of 2.4-2.8% for 2006.
The Czech Republic plans to adopt the euro in
The Czech Republic is gradually reducing its
dependence on highly polluting low-grade brown
coal as a source of energy, in part because of
EU environmental requirements. According to the
OECD, in 2003, fossil fuel plants accounted for
80.4% of the nation’s total primary energy
supply. Two nuclear plants contributed 15.3% and
biomass and hydro plants the remaining 4.3%.
Russia (via pipelines through Ukraine) and, to a
lesser extent, Norway (via pipelines through
Germany) supply the Czech Republic with liquid
and natural gas.
The government has offered investment
incentives in order to enhance the Czech
Republic's natural advantages, thereby
attracting foreign partners and stimulating the
economy. Shifting emphasis from the East to the
West has necessitated adjustment of commercial
laws and accounting practices to fit Western
standards. Formerly state-owned banks have all
been privatized into the hands of west European
banks and oversight by the central bank has
improved. The telecommunications infrastructure
has been upgraded and the sector is privatized.
The Czech Republic has made significant progress
toward creating a stable and attractive climate
for investment, although continuing reports of
corruption are troubling to investors.
Its success allowed the Czech Republic to
become the first post-communist country to
receive an investment-grade credit rating by
international credit institutions. Successive
Czech governments have welcomed U.S. investment
in addition to the strong economic influence of
western Europe and increasing investment from
Asian auto manufacturers. Inflows of foreign
direct investment in 2005 were $10 billion,
doubling the previous year’s total. By U.S.
Embassy estimates, the United States is among
the top five investors in the Czech Republic
since the revolution.
The Czech Republic boasts a flourishing
consumer production sector. In the early 1990s
most state-owned industries were privatized
through a voucher privatization system. Every
citizen was given the opportunity to buy, for a
moderate price, a book of vouchers that he or
she could exchange for shares in state-owned
companies. State ownership of businesses was
estimated to be about 97% under communism. The
non-private sector is less than 20% today.
Unemployment was running about 8% through
2005. Rates of unemployment are higher in the
coal and steel producing regions of Northern
Moravia and Northern Bohemia, and among
less-skilled and older workers.
The economy grew by 4.8% in 2005 and should
see similar growth in 2006. The government has
committed itself to reducing the deficit to 3%
of GDP by 2008 to meet the Maastricht
requirements for adoption of the euro, and has
taken some steps to reduce expenditures and
raise revenues. With satisfactory economic
growth, tax hikes, and belt-tightening at the
ministries, the government actually managed to
reduce the deficit to 3% of GDP in 2004 and to
2.8% for 2005, but projects a deficit of 3.8%
for 2006. The International Monetary Fund has
cautioned that the strong 2005 budget
performance masks underlying risks, and
considers fiscal adjustment a key vulnerability
in the Czech Republic’s aspirations to adopt the
euro in 2010.
The Czech Republic became a European Union (EU)
member on May 1, 2004. Most barriers to trade in
industrial goods with the EU fell in the course
of the accession process. The process of
accession had a positive impact on reform in the
Czech Republic, and new EU directives and
regulations continue to shape the business
environment. Free trade in services and
agricultural goods, as well as stronger
regulation and rising labor costs, will mean
tougher competition for Czech producers. Future
levels of EU structural funding and agricultural
supports were key issues in the accession
negotiations. Even before accession, policy set
in Brussels had a strong influence on Czech
domestic and foreign policy, particularly in the
area of trade.
The Czech Republic’s economic transformation
is not yet complete. The government still faces
serious challenges in completing industrial
restructuring, increasing transparency in
capital market transactions, transforming the
housing sector, reforming the pension and health
care systems, and solving serious environmental
The Czech Republic has made a significant
contribution to the War on Terrorism relative to
its size. It deployed a
nuclear/biological/chemical (NBC) defense unit
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
and a field hospital in support of the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
in Afghanistan. When the U.S. intervened in
Iraq, the Czechs moved their field hospital from
Afghanistan to Basra and deployed an NBC unit to
Kuwait. Both the field hospital and the NBC unit
have now returned home. Currently, the Czechs
are supplying a military police unit to Iraq.
The Czechs are providing a number of civilian
training and assistance programs, including
training Iraqi judges, police, diplomats,
medical personnel, and others in both the Czech
Republic and the Middle East. In April 2004, the
Czech Government deployed a Special Forces unit
to OEF in Afghanistan, and a group of
specialists to ISAF. The Special Forces unit
returned to the Czech Republic in September
2004. In March 2005, the Czechs deployed
military reconnaissance troops to serve with a
German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team under
The Czech Republic became a member of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on
March 12, 1999. A major overhaul of the
Czechoslovak defense forces began in 1990 and
continues in the Czech Republic. Czech forces
are being downsized from 200,000 to
approximately 35,000, and at the same time
reoriented toward a more mobile, deployable
force structure. The Czechs have made good
progress in reforming the military personnel
structure, and a strong commitment to
English-language training is paying off.
Compulsory military service ended in December
2004. Public support for NATO membership remains
around 50%-60%. The Czech Government currently
spends slightly less than 2% of GDP on defense.
This puts Czech defense spending on a par with
the European NATO average.
The Czech Republic has good to excellent
relations with all of its neighbors, and none of
its borders are in question. The Czech Republic
is a member of the UN and OSCE and has
contributed to numerous peacekeeping operations,
including IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia and KFOR in
Kosovo, as well as Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
From 1948 until 1989, the foreign policy of
Czechoslovakia followed that of the Soviet
Union. Since independence, the Czechs have made
integration into Western institutions their
chief foreign policy objective.
The Czech Republic became a member of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, along with
Poland and Hungary, on March 12, 1999. The Czech
Republic became a full member of the European
Union on May 1, 2004. Both events are milestones
in the country's foreign policy and security
orientation. The Czech Republic is scheduled to
host the rotating EU Presidency during the first
half of 2009.
The Czech Republic is a member of the United
Nations and participates in its specialized
agencies. It is a member of the World Trade
Organization. It maintains diplomatic relations
with more than 85 countries, of which 80 have
permanent representation in Prague.
Millions of Americans have their roots in
Bohemia and Moravia, and a large community in
the United States has strong cultural and
familial ties with the Czech Republic. President
Woodrow Wilson and the United States played a
major role in the establishment of the original
Czechoslovak state on October 28, 1918.
President Wilson's 14 Points, including the
right of ethnic groups to form their own states,
were the basis for the union of the Czechs and
Slovaks. Tomas Masaryk, the father of the state
and its first President, visited the United
States during World War I and worked with U.S.
officials in developing the basis of the new
country. Masaryk used the U.S. Constitution as a
model for the first Czechoslovak constitution.
After World War II, and the return of the
Czechoslovak Government in exile, normal
relations continued until 1948, when the
communists seized power. Relations cooled
rapidly. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia
in August 1968 further complicated
U.S.-Czechoslovak relations. The United States
referred the matter to the UN Security Council
as a violation of the UN Charter, but no action
was taken against the Soviets.
Since the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989,
bilateral relations have improved immensely.
Dissidents once sustained by U.S. encouragement
and human rights policies reached high levels in
the government. President Havel, in his first
official visit as head of Czechoslovakia,
addressed the U.S. Congress and was interrupted
21 times by standing ovations. In 1990, on the
first anniversary of the revolution, President
George H.W. Bush, in front of an enthusiastic
crowd on Prague's Wenceslas Square, pledged U.S.
support in building a democratic Czechoslovakia.
Toward this end, the U.S. Government has
actively encouraged political and economic
The U.S. Government was originally opposed to
the idea of Czechoslovakia forming two separate
states, due to concerns that a split might
aggravate existing regional political tensions.
However, the U.S. recognized both the Czech
Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993. Since
then, U.S.-Czech relations have remained strong
economically, politically, and culturally.
Relations between the U.S. and the Czech
Republic are excellent and reflect the common
approach both have to the many challenges facing
the world at present. The U.S. looks to the
Czech Republic as a partner in issues ranging
from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and seeks
opportunities to continue to deepen this
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Embassy in Prague is located at Trziste 15,
11801 Prague 1, Czech Republic; tel:
420-2-5753-0663 or 420-2-5753-2715; emergency
after hours 420-2-5753-2716.
J. Cabaniss, Jr.
Deputy Chief of Mission--Cameron Munter
Political-Economic Officer--Michael Dodman
Commercial Officer--Greg O’Connor
Consular Officer--Richard Appleton
Management Officer--Martin Hohe
Regional Security Officer--Jim Pelphrey
Public Affairs Officer--Michael Hahn