česky  english 

Advanced search

Czech-U.S. Relations

The United States of America stood by the establishment of the independent and democratic state of Czechoslovakia in the year 1918.  President Woodrow Wilson supported Tomas G. Masaryk and other patriots in its creation. Tomas G. Masaryk announced the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in the so called Washington Declaration of October 18, 1918, which was inspired by the founding ideas and documents of the United States.

During World War II, American soldiers also fought for the liberation of Czech lands from Nazi occupation and reestablishment of the sovereignty and independence of Czechoslovakia. Many of them gave their life during the liberation of the Czechoslovakian territory in the spring of 1945.

During the Cold War, the United States led the free world in its efforts to return freedom, independence and democracy to countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia. Tens of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks who left their communist country found a new home in the United States, from where they continued to struggle for the return of democracy to their homeland.

Thus, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989 could rely on inspirational and strong heritage in Czech-US relations. Vaclav Havel inaugurated the new era during his first visit to the United States in February of 1990 in his new function as the then President of the newly free Czechoslovakia when he delivered the famous speech to the joint session of the US Congress (the speech can be found here).

Today, Václav Havel is immortalized in the Capitol by a bust unveiled in 2014.

V.Havel Bust in the US Capitol

V.Havel Bust in the US Capitol

In the 1990s, the strong friendly relations between the US and Czechoslovakia and then the independent Czech Republic since 1993 peaked in the Czech Republic’s integration into NATO in 1999. The Czech Republic’s membership in this Alliance which includes the US is its basic guarantee of security.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Czech Republic proved that it is capable of fulfilling its allied commitments. In accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty on creation of NATO, the Czech Republic partook in the NATO operations in Kosovo, Iraq Afghanistan. There is also a close collaboration of Czech and U.S. armed forces on the state level, Army of the Czech Republic partnering with the National Guards of Nebraska and Texas.

In November 2008, the US Congress placed the Czech Republic on its list of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, which establishes a visa free travel between the US and the respective countries, and, thus, removed the last unnecessary barrier to Czech-US relations. The Congressional Czech Caucus, first established in 2008 proved a valuable instrument in promoting the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the Visa Waiver Program.

The Czech Republic has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and held the EU Presidency in the first half of 2009. During the Presidency, the Czech Republic hosted an informal EU-US summit in Prague.  A year later, in April 2010, the Czech capital hosted President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for the  signing of the New START agreement on significant reductions of the nuclear arsenals of both the US and Russia.

The bilateral relations are based on three main pillars: cooperation in the field of security and defense, economic cooperation, and shared values. Recent meetings of the leaders of the two countries have proved the strength and the potential for further cooperation, in particular in the fields of defense, civil nuclear research and other areas where Czech and U.S. interests meet. One of the current examples is the fight against terrorism and extremism. Both the Czech Republic and the U.S. work closely together as members of the international coalition against the so called Islamic State. Since 2012, the Czech Republic has also served as the U.S. protecting power in Syria.