100th Anniversary since Birth of Czechoslovakia Celebrated with Military Parade in Prague
Over 4,000 Czech, Slovak, American, British, French, and Italian troops participated in the military parade to mark Czechoslovakia’s 100th anniversary.
Slovakia and the Czech Republic have celebrated the centenary since the establishment of their formerly joint country of Czechoslovakia back in 1918 after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I.
The emancipation of the Czechs and Slovaks from the former Austrian Empire into the newly independent state of Czechoslovakia with its declaration of independence on October 28, 1918, was celebrated on Sunday with a military parade in Prague, the largest since the end of the communist regime in 1989.
Czech and Slovak troops marched in front of the Presidents of the two successor states of the former Czechoslovakia, Czech President Milos Zeman and Slovak President Andrej Kiska.
Troops from NATO allies France, Italy, the UK and the US also participated in the Czechoslovakia Centenary parade, with US Defense Secretary James Mattis also attending, the Czech National Radio reports.
The military parade included over 4,000 troops, and took place on Evropska (European) Street, one of Prague’s main boulevards, which was once named after Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Communist regime in Russia.
The parade on Sunday was part of three days of celebrations which included visits by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Not long after its foundation, in the 1930s, Czechoslovakia came under threat from Nazi Germany, which culminated into the annexation of the Sudeten region with Western acquiescence at the Munich Conference of 1938, in order to appease Hitler.
After World War II, like the rest of Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia ended up in Stalin’s hands, and was turned into a communist satellite of the Soviet Union.
The most brutal expression of this repressive state was the crushing of the Prague Spring, a reform movement led by the Czechoslovak communists, by the Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops in 1968, 50 years ago, another historical anniversary marked in 2018.
After the collapse of the Communist Bloc in 1989, which in Czechoslovakia became known as the Velvet Revolution, its leaders agreed to a peaceful separation of Czechs and Slovaks, which took effect on January 1, 1993, with Prague and Bratislava retaining cordial relations ever since.
Not so long thereafter, though, the Czech Republic (Czechia) and Slovakia came together once again as members of the European Union and NATO.
The former joined NATO in 1999, and the latter in 2004, and both joined the EU in 2004.
(Banner image: Czech Presidency)