Scholarly
    Communications Project


Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Danielle Seiler
Email address:dseiler@vt.edu
URN:1998/00606
Title:Czechoslovakia: A State of Perceived Bias
Degree:Master of Arts
Department:Political Science
Committee Chair: Dr. Charles Taylor
Chair's email:clt@vt.edu
Committee Members:Dr. Rebecca Davis
Dr. Timothy Luke
Keywords:Czechoslovakia, Velvet Divorce, Nationalism, Capitalism
Date of defense:April 28, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.

Abstract:

This thesis explores the circumstances behind the dissolution of the state of Czechoslovakia. Unlike previous works, this paper contends that the Velvet Divorce was not simply a result of the expulsion of Communism, but rather the end product of a multitude of forces, both interior and exterior to the state's boundaries. The transition from Communism was merely the catalyst.

In examining the attitudinal and eventual physical division between the majority of Czechs and Slovaks, this paper extends the criteria for consensus articulated by George Schöpflin (1993) into the context of Czechoslovakia. Schöpflin contends that support for the state in the post-Communist period is based on three characteristics: faith in the nation, belief in economic reform, and hatred for all things Communist. This thesis contends that most Czechs and Slovaks in Czechoslovakia were divided on the basis of whether they believed that their nation's right to self-determination had been fulfilled, whether they advocated more socialist or capitalist policies, and whether they benefitted from the experience of Communism. These fundamental differences contributed to the failure to reach agreement in 1992 concerning the shape of the "new" or "revived" Czechoslovakia.

Furthermore, this paper will show that the Velvet Divorce was not merely a product of internal disagreements. The creation, existence, and even dissolution of the state were influenced by global forces. Events such as the French Revolution, World War II, and even the Independence of Croatia had an impact in Czechoslovakia. The state was not born into a bubble; its borders were chronically permeable.

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