Both Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were created in 1918, after World War I collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The objective was similar in both cases: to unite different-but-similar peoples in common, independent states.

With their highly developed industries and rich cultural traditions, Bohemia and Moravia - the regions that make up the current Czech Republic - played an important role within the Habsburg monarchy. In addition to Vienna and Budapest, Prague was certainly the empire's third capital. When it became clear at the beginning of 1918 that the monarchy would not survive the war, Tomas Masaryk and Edvard Benes, who were at the head of the Czech national movement, demanded full independence. Together with representatives of the Slovak national movement, they settled on a common state.

This common state was by no means homogeneous: Of the 14 million people, 7 million were Czechs, 2.5 million Slovaks and more than 3 million Sudeten Germans. There were also large minorities of Hungarians, Ukrainians, Poles and Roma.

Although the rights of minorities were guaranteed in the formation of the state, the Czechs tended to assert their dominance in economic and cultural matters.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the calls for independence became increasingly louder — especially in Slovakia. And Klaus and Meciar began their talks on the peaceful dissolution of the common state.

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