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Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar greeted by a crowd in 1993.

Reuters

The Velvet Divorce at 30: How Czechoslovakia did what others couldn’t

Exactly 30 years ago this Sunday, as Yugoslavia was slouching towards Europe’s ugliest bloodletting since World War II, another Slavic hodgepodge state a few hundred miles to the north did something nearly unprecedented in modern history: It broke up … peacefully.

As best anyone can tell, Czechoslovakia is the only country to have dissolved itself without bloodshed since Norway split from Sweden in 1905.

In fact, the greatest act of violence that attended the Czechoslovak breakup may have been on the ice: The Czech hockey team thrashed Slovakia 7 to 1 in their first meeting as independent countries a year later.

So how did Czechoslovakia’s uniquely peaceful split happen, and why?

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