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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.