12. 06. 2018 14:21
The Velvet Revolution, which led to the fall of communism in 1989, is the most crucial historical event for both Slovaks and Czechs, according to a survey carried out by the Sociological Institutes of the Slovak and Czech Academies of Science and the think-tank IVO. Slovakia's independence in 1993 came in second place, followed by the country joining the EU in 2004. Czechs placed the so-called Prague Spring -a period of attempts to reform the communist regime in 1968 -in top three. The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army and its allies that followed is given as the most traumatic event for both Czechs and Slovaks. Then the opinions on this topic of trauma diverge. Czechs travel back in time to 1938 and the so called Munich Agreement that allowed Hitler to occupy Czechoslovakia while Slovaks placed the era of when Vladimir Mečiar was the prime minister (1994-1998) on second place, followed by the rise of the communist regime in 1948.
The top of the positive historical events slightly differ too. Slovaks chose the National Uprising of 1944 followed by the country becoming independent and the fall of the communist regime while Czechs cheer the most for the fall of communism, the period of the first Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938) and the creation of the Czech Republic.
"Czechs and Slovaks' opinions on the events and personalities of the 20th and 21st century are similar and it's obvious why, given the common history of these two people. We have some differences which can be explained by the fact that each side joined Czechoslovakia with their own past history, level of development and expectations," said sociologist Zora Bútorová adding that the age of respondents played an important factor in this survey as some have lived through more historical events than others.
Having seen Vaclav Havel or Gustáv Husák live, or only as a picture on a history schoolbook, played a role how Czechs and Slovaks decided which personalities influenced their destiny in a good or a bad way. Slovaks placed Milan Rastislav Štefánik, Alexander Dubček a Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in the top three. The founder of Czechoslovakia Masaryk is the most popular among Czechs followed by Jan Palach and Vaclav Havel. The villains' group has communist leader Vasil Biľak as a common denominator. Slovaks added Vladimir Mečiar and Josef Tiso while Czechs stuck to communist comrades, namely Klement Gottwald and Gustáv Husák.