By Rick Fawn

Czechoslovakia has captured the nation's mind's eye through the 20th century. The Allied betrayal of the rustic to Nazi Germany in 1938 used to be to illustrate the appalling effects of naive appeasement of aggression. The wholesale reform of Soviet communism within the Prague Spring of 1968 gained western aid, and sympathy while it used to be overwhelmed by means of Warsaw Pact tanks. The fierce communist regime thereafter used to be introduced down nearly magically in 1989. Czechoslovakia additional to the overseas political vocabulary the time period, 'Velvet Revolution', and the velvet metaphor has characterized a lot of the country's path-breaking postcommunist transformation and its peaceable break-up in 1993.In separate chapters on historical past, politics, economics, overseas kinfolk and the recent Czech id, this ebook not just applauds the successes of the Czech Republic considering 1993, but in addition uncovers the frayed edges of the velvet state.

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As a result, a federal parliament was complemented by the establishment of Slovak and Czech republics, each with its own parliament, prime minister and executive. In addition, the federal parliament was made bicameral, with a House of Nations and a House of the People. The latter was simply representational by direct election throughout the country, but the former was constituted on the basis of 75 MPs elected separately from each of the two republics. These substantial governmental changes could be construed as a deliberate and genuine effort to recognize and enshrine Slovak national interests in the political policy process.

While that may have been viewed as a large concession by the more populous Czechs, the Slovak National Council narrowly rejected the measure on the grounds that it contained too many concessions. The future of the federation would be fought out in the elections of 5– 6 June 1992. The elections suggested that Czechoslovak pluralism was vibrant: 40 parties ran, 13 more than two years earlier. But this pluralism was constrained and would determine the future of the country. 1 1992 ELECTION RESULTS64 from the Communist Party, no other party truly operated across the Federation; instead, the election was waged across one or the other republics.

Socialism in its egalitarian sense may have been attained in Czechoslovakia, but only in a crude and unintended fashion: the bulk of the population was now economically ‘equal’. But instead of advancing the economic status of the many, it achieved a lowest common 18 THE CZECH REPUBLIC denominator which impoverished many more people than it had elevated. Despite official statements to the contrary, Czechoslovakia continued to brew an economic crisis. In 1961–63 economic growth stopped altogether, an unprecedented occurrence for the communist bloc.

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