Berlin - March 15 used to be considered a day of special hatred for everything German for decades and this only changed after the 1989 overthrow of the Communist regime, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), now on a visit to Germany, said today.
Premiér Bohuslav Sobotka navštívil 13. března v Berlíně památník Berlínské zdi a zapsal se zde do pamětní knihy. ČTK Stříhavka Jakub
Sobotka spoke about March 15, the day when Nazi Germany occupied Bohemia and Moravia in 1939, in a lecture delivered to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
"For decades, March 15 was considered a day of special hatred for everything German in the former Czechoslovakia," Sobotka said.
"We needed freedom to realise again the value of cooperation and compromise and to stop considering hatred a sort of prop," he added.
"Only after Social Democracy was renewed in Czechoslovakia after 1989, the value of former cooperation of Social Democrats speaking various languages in interwar Czechoslovakia started to be seen," Sobotka said in the institution close to the German Social Democrats.
Sobotka said Prague's occupation by Nazi Germany's troops had meant not only another tragedy for Czechs, but also a final refutation of the appeasement policy.
"Only the brutal destruction of the Munich Agreement from September 1938 [that forced Czechoslovakia to cede its borderland to Germany] made the powers declare that it was not valid during the war," Sobotka said.
"With this, the violent change in one of the most stable borders in Europe stopped to be valid as well," he added.
Sobotka said it was a pity that in the 1920s and 1930s, there were not more people who "were ready to look for a joint path in the spirit of democratic values for which Social Democrats were setting an example."
He voiced the wish to keep developing the two countries' good relations such as in the form of the Czech-German Future Fund.
Established in 1997, the Czech-German Future Fund sponsors various forms of the two countries' cooperation.
"I feel the need for communication and closeness," he added.