České dvacáté století
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The Czech Twentieth Century?
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This was the Opening Address at ‘Fateful Eights in Czech History: Historical Anniversaries of 2008 and Their Signifi cance for the Czech Republic Today’, an international conference organized by the Czech Embassy in Washington, held at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., on 23–24 October 2008. In this essay the author provides a basic overview of twentieth-century Czech history, weighing the gains and losses, the victories and defeats, the ups and downs of the Czechs, the Czech nation, Czech society, on the way from gaining independence in a democratic state to losing it, and the German occupation, to the renewal of Czechoslovak independence and the destruction of democracy under a Communist régime, to the failed attempt at the reform of that régime, and the victory of the democratic revolution – all marked by the historical milestones of the years 1918, 1938/39, 1945–48, 1968, and 1989 – as well as the author’s refl ections on the long-term changes in the mentality of the country.
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