Comparatively speaking, the modern history of the Czechs and Slovaks has been less violent than that of their central European neighbours. So when communism disintegrated in 1989, it was hardly surprising that their break with the past earned the title of the Velvet Revolution. The citizens of Prague and Bratislava first trickled, then poured into the streets and discovered that their oppressors of four decades had more or less gone, leaving them free to shape their new future in peace.1 They are still engaged in that process as they try to make policy through the ballot box and take on more than the rudiments of a market. But they have also chosen to go their separate national ways. The Czechoslovak state that had existed with but one interruption from the end of the First World War divided into the Czech and Slovak Republics on New Year’s Day 1993. And even the divorce earned the title ‘velvet’.