Thursday, April 13, 2017


South Africa has seen a dramatic transition over the 23 years since 1994. Slovakia became independent on 1 January 1993. The history of both countries is tied to an unravelling of the Cold War and Apartheid. The Slovak Republic was a client state of Nazi Germany during World War II. This was the first Slovak state, but Czechoslovakia was reconstituted after the War. A series of 'population transfers' was agreed at Potsdam... not far from Berlin where the fates of Africa and Europe had been carved up at the end of the 19th Century. Communist rule ended in 1989 and Slovakia and the Czech Republic later became separate countries in the 'Velvet Divorce'. In a September 1992 poll, only 37% of Slovaks and 36% of Czechs favoured the dissolution. Those in control proceeded anyway. The President resigned rather than overseeing a dissolution he opposed. The significance of the divorce has been lessened by the freedom of movement of workers policy of the EU which guarantees the right to work and live anywhere in the Union. Free feet become more important tool of democracy than politicians and forced population swaps. 

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