1-2 of 2 Results

  • Keywords: Czech Republic x
Clear all

Article

The Czech Republic: The Military and Politics  

Zdeněk Kříž and Oldřich Krpec

The states that existed historically in what is now the Czech Republic were characterized by frequent changes of political regime, and these changes were substantially reflected in the military. Every political regime successfully avoided a military putsch despite that regime changes and international crises opened several windows of opportunity for considering open military interference (including military coups) in politics. All of the political regimes ruling in the Czech lands sought to make the military a mirror of the civilian state and society, applying what Samuel Huntington calls subjective civilian control. Military institutions were adapted to the ruling political regime as much as possible with the aim of securing their political loyalty. Values typical of each regime were implemented in the military. In the period of 1918–1938, for example, soldiers were expected to be politically conscious citizens of a democratic state. After 1948, the communist regime devoted considerable effort to transforming soldiers into obedient members of the socialist society, faithful to Marxism-Leninism and the Soviet Union. Later on, after 1989, the civic concept of the military was again emphasized, with the identification of soldiers with democratic and patriotic values considered an ideal. All the political regimes operating on the territory of today’s Czech Republic were successful in that the military as an institution has not interfered in politics and has been consistently loyal.

Article

The Czech Republic and the European Union  

Lenka Anna Rovná and Jan Rovny

The collapse of communism in late 1989 released the Czechs to freely consider and shape the social and economic structures of their country. The diverse formulations of the contours that a democratic and market competitive Czech Republic should take were closely intertwined with the visions of Europe and the European Union. Two prominent postcommunist politicians, Václav Havel and Václav Klaus, offered two perspectives. While Václav Havel stressed the cultural, socially liberal anchoring represented by European democracy, Václav Klaus initially focused on Europe as a market-liberal economic model. By the time Václav Klaus replaced Václav Havel in the presidential office, Klaus shifted his European rhetoric from economic to sociocultural matters, opposing Europe as a limitation on Czech sovereignty. The discrete visions proposed by these statesmen are reflected in Czech public opinion, shaped between economic and sociocultural considerations. While Czech public opinion initially viewed the EU in economic terms, this changed around the time of the Czech Republic’s accession to the Union in 2004. By the early 2000s, Czechs started to view the EU rather as a sociocultural project. It was also around this time that public support for the Union started to significantly decline. The European Union, as a multifaceted organization with an encompassing legal framework, has been both an inspiration and a scarecrow in Czech politics. While for Havel, it has provided an imperfect but stable sociocultural expression of liberty and openness, for Klaus it was initially a symbol of free market economics, only to later become a much-opposed damper on Czech national independence. Klaus’s economic view dominated public understanding of the EU in the 1990s; however, the 2000s have seen a shift as the EU has come to be understood as a value-based, socially liberalizing project. While this development coincides with Havel’s vision of the EU, it has led, paradoxically, to increased public opposition to European integration.