Czech Republic

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Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in central Europe. Before World War I part of Austria-Hungary, in 1918 the Czechs and neighbouring Slovaks joined together and formed the independent republic of Czechoslovakia. In World War II occupied by the Germans in 1939. After World War II, Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a member of the Warsaw Pact. In 1968, an invasion by Warsaw Pact troops ended the efforts of the country's leaders to liberalize Communist Party rule and create "socialism with a human face" during the "Prague Spring". With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful "Velvet Revolution" and became a sovereign state. On 1 January 1993, the country underwent a "velvet divorce" into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 1999 the Czech Republic became a member of the NATO and in 2004 a member of the European Union.