odd question

Discussion in 'Culture' started by judi, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. judi

    judi Active Member

    I know that this question may sound foolish or senseless but I have to ask;
    can somebody explain me shortly why czechoslovakia split, are those the same people, what are the differences, how it was originaly, do they "hate" each other, what are the relations at the moment and are they happy with the result?

  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    I'm not sure exactly why Czechoslovakia split, and my experience is that most Czechs and Slovaks don't know why either. A few Czechs I've met blame the Slovaks, saying that they wanted their own country, so let them have it. A few Slovaks I've met blame the Czechs, saying that the Czechs thought the Slovaks an economic burden that they'd just as soon be rid of. Most Czechs and Slovaks I've talked to, however, blame the politicians, and I think this is probably closest to the truth.

    Now the Czechs and Slovaks are very closely related in ethnicity, language, and even culture. The Czech Republic is more industrialized, while Slovakia is more rural--about 90% of the population of Slovakia live in towns of less than 100K people. The Czech and Slovak languages share (as I've been told) a word base that is 70% similar one to another. In general they are mutually intelligible, such that any Czech can understand most to all Slovak and vice versa. Religious belief is more predominant in Slovakia, with Czech (particularly Bohemians) being more atheist. The history of the two ethnic groups, however, is quite different, the Czechs being controlled more or less by the Austrian Empire over the past several hundred years, whereas the Slovaks were long under Hungarian rule. Note, one perhaps should separate Bohemians and Moravians into distinct groups, but as their ethnicity and history is fairly close and for the sake of simplicity, I'm lumping them both together under the name "Czechs" (no offense meant to Moravians).

    I've never heard any sentiments of hate from either side toward the other. Typically they seem to treat each other simply as neighbors. Perhaps one could accurately compare their relationship to that of the U.S. and Canada., both politically and culturally. Most Czechs and Slovaks I know say that the split was a mistake. Perhaps that says something about how happy they are with the split. I think that the CR was able to westernize and strengthen its economy faster due to the split, whereas Slovakia has seemed to slow in both economy and westernization since the split (speaking in terms of relative progress after the split to before the split). Maybe, for these reasons more Czechs will be happy about the results of the split than Slovaks, I don't know. Perhaps some native Czechs and Slovaks (if there are any on this site) could add their two cents worth to that last question.
  3. judi

    judi Active Member

    thank you Sova :)

    long and detailed answer, thank you for your time,
    that was very nice of you :)

    even if it was a mistake it is good to see that they have done that without war
  4. Jirka

    Jirka Well-Known Member

    Hi Judi,

    I am Czech and my opinion about split of Czechoslovakia is that there should have been a referendum. I'm sure you can hear a wide spectrum of opinions on the reasons and process of the event from different people. Some small polls indicate that slightly more people in the Czech Republic would have disagreed with the split.

    I remember Slovakia showed its ambition to be independent in 1968 when political situation in Czechoslovakia had been liberalized. Old generation may also keep in mind that Slovakia was an ally of Nazi Germany during the World War II. So perhaps the split was a fairly natural historic development in the region after all.

    On personal level I believe majority of people in the two countries are pretty pragmatic, as opposed to sentimental, about politics and it could have been anticipated even back in 1993 that we would join the European Union one day and become united in another way as it is now...

  5. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    In my entirely biaised opinion, Slovakia had been a squeaking wheel that needed frequent oiling and we are better off without them. As far as sentiments go, there is a a good deal of shadenfreude on both sides, but no real hostility.
  6. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member


    Just to clarify, as your comment may easily be misinterpreted to mean that the Slovak people in general supported the Nazis. Although the Slovak government allied itself with Nazi Germany, there actually was a very organized resistance movement among the Slovak people, Slovenkse Narodne Povstanie (SNP) (Slovak National Uprising), which indicated that a large portion of the population didn't agree with the alliance to the Nazis. In fact, most Slovaks I talked with on the subject agreed that the alliance was based solely on the part of politicians, hoping (1) to maintain some autonomy (and therefore some political power, both individually and collectively) during the German occupation and (2) to form a state independent of the Czechs. Let's remember also that Tiso (then president of Slovakia) was against Nazification of Slovakia. Yes, there were politicians, who were all for Nazification, although the general populace was not for it. Yes, at the time, many Slovaks were happy to split from Czechoslovakia, but they were not in general pro-Nazi.

    Your next statement,
    is also easily misinterpreted, since Meciar's motivations for initiating the split with the Czechs had nothing to do with the Nazis. I assume that you are referring solely to the fact that widespread separatist desires for independence existed in Slovakia even 60+ years ago. This is of course true, and no doubt contributed to the split in 1993. But let's be careful not to confuse support for an independent Slovakia with support for the Nazis.

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