Czechs and Germans'Our relationship to Germany and the Germans has been more than merely one of the many themes of our diplomacy. It has been a part of our destiny, even a part of our identity. Germany has been our inspiration as well as our pain; a source of understandable traumas, of many prejudices and misconceptions, as well as of standards to which we turn; some regard Germany as our greatest hope, others as our greatest peril. It can be said that the attitude they take toward Germany and the Germans has been a factor through which the Czechs define themselves, both politically and philosophically, and that it is through the type of that attitude that they determine not only their relationship to their own history but also the type of their conception of themselves as a nation and a state.'
´Czechs and Germans on the Way To a Good Neighbourship´, Prague, February 17, 1995
In view of their shared history, relations between the Czechs and the Germans figured prominently on Václav Havel’s domestic and foreign agenda from the moment he assumed office as President of the Republic. This culminated in the signing of the Czech-German Declaration of January 1997 in whose preparation and diplomatic negotiation Václav Havel played a major role.