The Peaceful Division of Czechoslovakia. The Conditions for Cooperative Conflict Resolution in the Czech and Slovak Parts of the Country
The division of Czechoslovakia is regarded as a paradigmatic case of peaceful conflict resolution. Yet the specific causes, reasons, and contexts for it have until now remained unanalyzed. The starting point of this project is that a democratization of the political process was a prerequisite for the division into two separate states. The political importance of the respective Minister-Presidents Václav Klaus and Vladimír Meciar, however, has been overrated: important actors, groups, parties, interest groups, and other forces made the actions of the main protagonists even possible - and either actively supported or at least passively tolerated them. The successful division of the country occurred despite all the opinion polls showing a consistent, clear preference among the population for maintaining a common state. Nevertheless, no discernable social mobilization took place advocating holding the state together. This project investigates whether sustainable alternatives to division existed. Against the backdrop of drawing Eastern Europe more into the European integration process, it is of particular interest to what extent the democratization process and the transition to a market economy continued once the division took place, or whether old communist or new authoritarian structures that also exert influence on the transformation process have increased in importance, or have even had a decisive influence.