The History of Czechoslovakia: The history behind the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia

The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia

It is sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989 that led to the end of the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the restoration of a democratic government in the country.

A number of reasons are given for the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, with the main debates focusing on whether dissolution was inevitable or whether dissolution occurred in conjunction with, or even in contrast to, the events that occurred between the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the end of the joined state in 1992.

Those who argue from the inevitability stance tend to point to the differences between the two nations, which date back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and other issues. There are ethnic differences between the Czechs and Slovaks. These issues included, but were not limited to, problems with the shared state during communism, the success of the communist state in Czech lands and its failure in the Slovak lands which still resulted in the adoption of communism, because the Czechs were more influential in the running of the state than Slovaks, and the 1968 constitution, which had a minority veto.

Those who argue that events between 1989 and 1992 led to dissolution point to international factors such as the breakaway of the Soviet satellite nations, the lack of unified media between the Czech and Slovak republics, and, most importantly, the actions of the political leaders of the two nations (most specifically the disagreements between prime ministers Klaus and Mečiar)

By 1992, Slovak calls for greater autonomy effectively blocked the daily functioning of the federal government. In the election of June 1992, Klaus's Civic Democratic Party won handily in the Czech lands on a platform of economic reform. Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia emerged as the leading party in Slovakia, basing its appeal on fairness to Slovak demands for autonomy. Federalists, like Havel, were unable to contain the trend toward the split. In July 1992, President Havel resigned. In the latter half of 1992, Klaus and Mečiar hammered out an agreement that the two republics would go their separate ways by the end of the year.

Members of Czechoslovakia's parliament (the Federal Assembly), divided along national lines, barely cooperated enough to pass the law officially separating the two nations in late 1992.

On 1 January 1993, the Czech Republic (Czechia) and the Slovak Republic (Slovakia) were simultaneously and peacefully founded.

Relationships between the two states, despite occasional disputes about the division of federal property and the governing of the border, have been peaceful. Both states attained immediate recognition from the USA and their European neighbors.

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