Czechoslovakia was one of the most active members of the Soviet bloc in sub-Saharan Africa, with a policy oscillating between euphoric activism and pragmatism. Officials in Prague sought to establish good relations with many African countries, generally on a pragmatic economic basis, as in the case of Ethiopia. The Czechoslovak Communists gave high priority to Ethiopia because of the country's strategic position and its long-standing cooperation with Czechoslovakia. Although ideological factors played some role, economic pragmatism was the dominant feature of Czechoslovak policy in Africa in the 1950s and early 1960s. Not until the mid-1960s did the Soviet Union become the primary architect of the Soviet bloc's “Africa policy.” After the 1974 coup in Ethiopia, which saw the overthrow of the Haile Selassie regime, Czechoslovakia's relations with Ethiopia markedly improved for both ideological and pragmatic reasons.

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