Course Description

Course Name

History of the Czech Region and Contemporary Central Europe

Session: VPGS1124

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


The objective of this course is to familiarize the student with the most representative events of Czech history. By studying the events, students will get to know, not only the political changes of a country but also how history is represented through the cinema. With this information the students will be able to produce their opinions about the past, present and future of Bohemia and apply this knowledge to further topics related to the present political situation in different countries.


Introduction: Czech Countries in the Context of European History (Central Europe ? Mitteleuropa ? Europe Central - Beginnig of the Human Settlement; Slavic peoples, European powers, the Great Moravia, Premyslid dynasty, St. Wenceslaw)

Czech dukes & Bohemian Kings
The Holy Roman Empire & Convestiture Controversy
Theme for discussion: Frankish Empire and Medieval France; Medieval Poland and Hungary
Movie: The Valley of the Bees (1968), F. Vlácil; The Middle Ages with all of its existential isolation and horror.

Last Premyslid Kings & Luxembourg Dynasty (Charles IV.; Bohemian Reform Movement; the schism - role of Popes in European society; Hussite Wars; Hussite program; civil war, peace agreement - the Compacts).
Bohemian Reform Movement (European Devotio Moderna; the Schizm, role of popes in European
society, Hussite Wars)
Theme for discussion: Holy Roman Empire during High and Late Middle Ages; European Church Reform Movement

Era of Jirí of Pod?brady (Turkish problem in Europe; Jagelonian kings and Middle Europe; Jewish culture in Middle Europe).
Jagelonian kings and Middle Europe
Jewish culture in Middle Europe
Theme for discussion: Rise of Ottoman Empire

The Prague City Museum (a permanent exhibition which covers the history of Prague since the
prehistorical times to the 18th century. The best known highlight of the museum is a cardboard
model of Prague by Antonin Langweil).

The House of Habsburgs in Europe (Bohemian Kingdom since 1526, the Thirty Years' War in Bohemia;
society in 17th - 18th century; the enlightment and civil reforms).
19th century - Era of National Rebirth (Czechs and Germans in Bohemia; modern political system in
Middle Europe; political parties, economy, society).
Theme for discussion: The Thirty Years? War

World War I. and Bohemia
Independence of Czechoslovakia (T.G. Masaryk; politics; Sudeten Germans; E. Bene?; 30's economic
Theme for discussion: World War I.; Russian Revolution (1917) and Rise of USSR

The First Republic (1918 - 1938)
The Second Republic (September 1938 - March 1939)
The end of Czechoslovakia (Munich Agreement; The Second Republic; Protectorate of Bohemia and
Theme for discussion: Consolidation of Nazi Germany; European Totalitarianisms

World War II.
1945-1948 - the bridge between East and West (expulsion of Germans; Communists' coup d'état)
Theme for discussion: European Unification

Movie: Divided we fall (2000); Jan Hrebejk: In Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia, a childless couple agree
to hide a Jewish friend at great personal risk of discovery and execution.
Sekal Has to Die (1998); Vladimír Michálek: A film about relativity of moral principles, story happens in
an isolated village during WWII.

National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill ? Crossroads of Czech and Czechoslovak Statehood; Exposition
captures important milestones in Czech 20th century history.

People's democracy (political trials in Soviet block; other communist countries in Europe)
60's - Prague Spring ( A. Dub?ek; Soviet invasion; the real existing socialism)
Theme for discussion: Communist Regimes in Central Europe - Poland, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia

Normalisation (social contract; Charter 77; the end of communist era; the velvet revolution).
Middle Europe in 90's
Theme for discussion: End of Communism in Central Europe - Poland, Hungary, East Germany,
Romania; Yugoslav War

The deadline for the delivery of the final paper (both the email and the hardcopy).

Presentation of the final papers.
Writing of the final test.
Evaluation of the course.
Documentary: Citizen Havel (2008); A documentary revealing former Czech president Vaclav Havel?s
private moments and backroom dealings.

Selections from primary texts about European and World history.
Select Bibliography on Czech History : books and articles 1990-1999. Ed. J. Pánek. Prague 2000.
Select Bibliography on Czech History : books and articles 2000-2004, Ed. J. Pánek. Prague 2005.
?ornej P.: Great Stories in Czech History. Prague 2005.
?ornej P.: Fundamentals of Czech History. Prague 1992.
Poli?enský J.V.: History of Czechoslovakia in Outline. Prague 1991.

Course evaluation
Class preparation and participation 10%
Class report 20%
Midterm essay 15%
Final test 20%
Final paper 35%

The essay will be based on a selected literature. The papers (2 to 3 pages or 3,600 to 5,400 characters
including spaces) are to be delivered to the lecturer by June 28.
For the class report will students choose themes with respect to their major and minor studies and
interests. The presentation will include power point presentation and will take approximately 15
The final test is examining students? knowledge of basic facts, events and concepts that have been
discussed in lessons.
Students must choose a topic of their final paper by June 19 and inform the lecturer on their choice
(preferably by e-mail). The papers (5 to 6 pages or 9,000 to 10,800 characters including spaces) are to
be delivered to the lecturer by July 10. Final papers will be presented during the final session (July

Attendance is obligatory, and so is consistent class preparation and active participation. A single absence will not adversely affect the grade but more than that will automatically lower it. Medical absences are excused with the prompt receipt of proper documentation.

Class protocol
Students are required to be involved in class activities. They are expected to show their preparation
by participating in discussions, by asking relevant questions, being critical and analytical with the
contents presented in class as well as by sharing their ideas and opinions. It is expected that students
arrive to class on time and that they return promptly to class after any given class break.

*Course content subject to change