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Prague History

The history of the Czech Republic is relatively short because until the 20th century, Bohemia was part of the Austrian Empire. After World War I, in 1918, Czechoslovakia declared its independence. The new republic had three parts: Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia. The popular Tomas Garigue Masaryk became the first president. In October 1938, the Nazis occupied the Sudetenland and in March 1939, Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia. Slovakia

proclaimed its independence as a Nazi puppet state. After World War II, Czechoslovakia was reestablished as an independent state. In the 1946 elections, the Communists became the largest party with 36% of the popular vote and formed a coalition government. In 1948, the Communists staged and coup and therefore, Czechoslovakia became a communist country. In the 1960s, Czechoslovakia enjoyed liberalization under the general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek. But it was a short period of relief from Communism, as the country was crushed by a Soviet invasion in August 1968. In 1969, Dubcek was replaced by Gustav Husak and Czechoslovakia would remain a Communist country under Soviet influence. For over 20 years later, Communism ruled until the government resigned in November 1989, just a week after demonstrations known as the Velvet Revolution. At this time, Vaclav Havel was elected president of the republic. By the end of 1992, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and the Slovak Republic (Slovakia). This split became known as the Velvet Divorce, as it was a peaceful division between the two. On May 1, 2004, the Czech Republic became an official part of the European Union. Today the Czech Republic relies heavily on tourism to assist in its difficult economy. Unemployment is 9.6% with inflation at 2.1% and rising. The average wage is only about $763/month.

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