Czech Republic has gone through two major transformations in less than eleven years. In 1993, what was formerly known as Czechoslovakia, split into two separate countries. Both Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004 along with eight other nations. Two EU policy issues that affected or continue to affect Czech Republic were the adoption of the euro and ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. Czech Republic’s president is anti-EU and this plays a significant role in showing that it is important who is in power.
One of the major requirements a candidate country must have in order to join the European Union is a democratic government. Czechoslovakia had a rather tumultuous journey towards democracy, starting with Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler wanted to unify Germans and in order to do so he wanted Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland (Docalavich 2006, p.27). In 1938, France, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain signed the Munich Agreement allowing Germans to occupy the Sudetenland (Taus-Bolstad 2003, p.26). France, Italy, and Great Britain thought that by satisfying Hitler they would avoid another war and ensure peace in Europe. Power-hungry Hitler went back on his word and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. Afterwards, Hitler moved on to Poland which would be the start of World War II (Otfinoski 2004, p.15). The Soviet Union allied with Czechoslovakia against the Nazis and it was the former’s Red Army who ultimately freed them from Nazi control (Jancar 1971, p.244). Czechoslovaks were grateful to the Communists for their help and allowed them to take over the government.
Alexander Dubcek was the general secretary of the Czech Communist party in 1968 (Otfinoski 2004, p.21). Under Dubcek, Czechoslovaks experienced improvements in private and state-run businesses and increased trade and relations with Western countries (Otfinoski 2004, pp. 21-23). Dubcek guaranteed freedom of religion and press, decreased government control of industries and farms, and ended censorship (Taus-Bolstad 2003, p.33). This period of “socialism with a human face” was called Prague Spring (Otfinoski 2004, p.23). Soviets were not happy about the way Dubcek —who was subsequently arrested— was governing and invaded Czechoslovakia in August of 1968 (Taus-Bolstad 2003, p.33). After two decades of communism, the Velvet Revolution of 1989 took place when protesters marched in Prague against the regime and the easy transition of power, without blood being shed, gave the revolution its name (Docalavich 2006, p.27).
Fast forward to 1992, when a referendum took place and divided Czechoslovakia which was known as the Velvet Divorce (Docalavich 2006, p.29). Today, Czech Republic’s legislature is divided into the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 200 members who serve four-year terms and the Senate is made up of 81 members who serve six-year terms (Taus-Bolstad 2003, p.37). The legislature then elects a president, currently Vaclav...