Onderco, M. (2018) “Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia ”. In Meijer, H & Wyss, M. The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming
The end of the Cold War presented the militaries of the former Central European satellites of the Soviet Union with a unique challenge. They were uniquely well positioned to develop further mutual cooperation on favourable grounds: they were all facing a similar geopolitical puzzle – their former patron was disintegrating rather fast; the transformation process they had to undergo was similar in all of them; their military plans had all the same flaws, as all Warsaw Treaty Organization members had to prepare for the same deployment scenario (invading the West); their equipment was identical (not merely interoperable, as was the case with NATO); and their armed forces had been training together for decades. And yet, despite great potential for mutual cooperation, these countries’ leadership opted for championing the domestic industry and for addressing military issues on a national basis. The result of this process, after almost 30 years, is that their armies are still in an incomplete and halting process of transformation. Hence, this chapter tells a story about the transformation of the armed forces in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia since the end of the Cold War until today.