chapter  2
History, Geopolitics, and Czechoslovakia’s International Position
WithDavid W. Paul
Pages 22

Czechoslovakia’s international position is the product of obdurate historical and geographical realities endlessly woven together. The country’s location at the crossroads of Europe has facilitated a mixing and blending of different cultural influences, and the society that has been left in the wake of those crosscurrents has evolved its own distinct characteristics. The geographical location of modern Czechoslovakia has been a critical factor in its development, just as it was in the development of Bohemia and Slovakia earlier. There is a widespread consciousness among Czechs and Slovaks that their national existence is quite insecure. The Czech novelist Milan Kundera expressed this thought well in 1967 when he said, “There has never been anything self-evident about the existence of the Czech nation.” Benes’s dream that Czechoslovakia would be a bridge between East and West was unrealistic in the context of the post-war era.