The partition of Czechoslovakia
The subject is the post-communist state, examined through an analysis of the break-up of Czechoslovakia. The thesis argues that the separation was not merely a symptom of the transition, of the multiple stresses afflicting the state, but that it was manufactured by the Czech right as a technocratic partition and sold to the Czech electorate as the cost of continuing reform. The thesis considers the Czech right's definition of a 'functioning federation', its basic insensibility to Slovak national grievances, its roots in neo-liberal conceptions of economic reform, and the impact of this definition in blocking constitutional negotiations. The research charts how Slovak party politics developed in response to this dominating Czech vision of the future state. Persistent, broad-based public opposition to separation is found to have been deflected and neutralised by the under-developed nature of party competition, by the profound weakness of the federal parliament and by the absence of constitutional norms. The thesis opens with an introductory history. Chapter two provides a scene-setting account of the last six months of the Czechoslovak federation, the 'endgame' during which the separation was arranged and completed. The third chapter maps out six competing explanations for the split, to be tested in subsequent chapters. Chapter four considers the merits of a nationalist conflict analysis, and concludes that this theoretical emphasis tends to over-determine the separation, overplaying as it must the slim evidence of assertive nationalism in either republic. Chapter five argues that identifiably transitional imbalances in the party system prohibited the clear mediation of Czech Slovak relations. Chapter six examines the character of the constitutional deadlock up until June 1992. The penultimate chapter addresses economic aspects of the Czech Slovak conflict after 1989. The final chapter concludes.