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After six years of brutal Nazi occupation (with its legacy of the Holocaust and the postwar mass expulsion of some three million Bohemian and Slovak [Carpathian] Germans), Czechoslovakia was reconstituted, this time without Ruthenia (Transcarpathian Ukraine), which was annexed by the Soviet Union.

The country is rich in mineral springs, and groundwater reserves are extensively used.

Moravians are as proud of their vineyards and wine as Bohemians are of their breweries and the Pilsner beer that originated in the town of Plzeň (Pilsen), which is also noted as the site of the Škoda Works—a heavy industrial complex that originated with the Habsburg monarchy.

Moravia was equally endowed with skilled labour, which helped make Brno into one of the leading industrial towns in textiles and engineering during the 19th century and Ostrava, in the north, into a major coal-mining region, thanks to the vast fossil fuel deposits stretching over from Silesia.

As the Czech Republic, the new country joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004.

Giant Mountains (Czech: Krkonoše; German: Riesengebirge). Farther to the east is the Oder (Odra) River lowland, a small fringe along the Polish border.

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