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Adolph Archer
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« on: December 24, 2012, 04:23:45 AM »

New nations seem to pop up with alarming regularity. At the start of the 20th century, there were only a few dozen independent sovereign states on the planet; today, there are nearly 200! Once a nation is established, they tend to stick around for awhile, so a nation disappearing is quite uncommon. It’s only occurred a handful of times in the last century. But when they do, they completely vanish off the face of the globe: government, flag, and all. Here then, in no particular order, are the top ten countries that had their moment in the sun but are, alas, no more.

10. East Germany, 1949-1990



Created from the Soviet controlled sector of Germany after the Second World War, East Germany was probably best known for its Wall and its tendency to shoot people who attempted to cross over it. Now, it’s one (over-reactionary) thing to shoot foreigners who are trying to enter your country illegally, but these were its own people!

Basically little more than a Soviet satellite state, the collapse of the notorious Wall and, with it, the demise of the old Soviet Union brought an end to this failed experiment in Communism, and it was integrated back into the rest of Germany in 1990. Because East Germany was so far behind the rest of Germany economically, however, its reintegration with the west almost bankrupted Germany. Today, however, things are swimming along nicely, thank you.

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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2012, 04:25:06 AM »

09. Czechoslovakia, 1918-1992



Forged from the remnants of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, during its brief existence it was one of the few bright spots in Europe, managing to maintain one of the continent’s few working democracies prior to the Second World War. Betrayed by England and France in 1938 at Munich, by March of 1939 it had been completely occupied by Germany, and vanished off the map. Later it was occupied by the Soviets, who turned it into another vassal state of the old Soviet Union until that nation’s collapse in 1991. At that time, it finally reestablished itself as a vibrant democracy.

That should have been the end of the story, and probably would have been, had not the ethnic Slavs in the eastern half of the country demanded their own independent state, breaking Czechoslovakia in two in 1992. Today, it exists as the Czech Republic in the west, and the nation of Slovakia in the east, making Czechoslovakia no more. Though considering that the Czech Republic maintains one of the more vibrant economies in Europe, the far-less-well-off Slovakia maybe should have reconsidered.
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2012, 04:28:27 AM »

08. Yugoslavia, 1918-1992



Like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia was a by-product of the breakup of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of WWI. Basically made up of parts of Hungary and the original state of Serbia, it unfortunately did not follow Czechoslovakia’s more enlightened example. Instead, it maintained a somewhat-autocratic monarchy until the Nazis invaded the country in 1941, after which it became a German possession. With the collapse of the Nazis in 1945, Yugoslavia somehow managed to avoid Soviet occupation but not Communism, coming under the socialist dictatorship of Marshal Josip Tito, the leader of the partisan Army during WWII. It remained a nonaligned authoritarian socialist republic until 1992, when internal tensions and rival nationalism resulted in civil war. The country then split into six smaller nations (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro,) making it a textbook example of what happens when cultural, ethnic, and religious assimilation fails.
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2012, 04:29:50 AM »

07. Austro-Hungary, 1867-1918



While all of the countries that found themselves on the losing side after the First World War suffered economically, and geographically to some degree, none lost more than the once-powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire, which found itself carved up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey in a homeless shelter. Out of the dissolution of the once-massive empire came the modern countries of Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, with parts of it going to Italy, Poland, and Romania.

So why did it break apart when its neighbor, Germany did not? Because it lacked a common identity and language, and was instead home to various ethnic and religious groups, most of whom had little to do with each other…to put it mildly. In effect, it suffered a large-scale version of what Yugoslavia suffered, when it saw itself similarly torn apart by nationalistic fervor. The difference was that Austro-Hungary was carved up by the victors in WWI, whereas Yugoslavia’s dissolution was internal and spontaneous.
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 04:32:06 AM »

06. Tibet, 1913-1951



While the land known as Tibet has been around for over a thousand years, it wasn’t until 1913 that it managed become an independent country. Under the peaceful tutelage of a chain of Dalai Lamas, it finally ran afoul of Communist China in 1951 and was occupied by Mao’s forces, thus ending its brief foray as a sovereign nation. China occupied an increasingly-tense Tibet throughout the ’50s until the country finally rebelled in 1959, which resulted in China’s annexation of the region and the dissolution of the Tibetan government. This finished the nation for good and turned it into a “region,” rather than a country. Today it remains a big tourist attraction for the Chinese government, though it still has issues with Beijing, by insisting it be granted its independence once again.
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 04:34:07 AM »

05. South Vietnam, 1955-1975



Created from the forceful expulsion of the French from Indo-China in 1954, someone decided it would be a good idea to split Vietnam in two, roughly at the 17th parallel, leaving a Communist north and a pseudo-democratic south. As with Korea before, it didn’t work any better in Vietnam, resulting in intermittent warfare between the two halves that ultimately dragged the United States into a conflict (again with the Korea comparisons,) that was to result in one of the most draining and costly wars in American history. Finally hounded out of the country by dissent at home, America left South Vietnam to fend for itself in 1973, which it did for only two more years, before the Soviet-backed North finally rolled over the country, bringing an end to South Vietnam and renaming Saigon—its capitol—Ho Chi Minh City. It’s been a socialist utopia ever since.

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