I am continually surprised at the number of people who confuse the two. I have also been startled by the number of Jeopardy contestants--all smart people--who look like deer in the headlights when posed a question about Slovakia or Central Europe. I have observed host Alex Trebek, whose father is Ukrainian, and new host, Mayim Bialek, who is of Hungarian descent, winch more than a few times over the years.
But then what did we ever learn in school about Central and Eastern Europe? We started out with the Egyptians, then moved on to the Greeks and Romans. We leaned a bit about the Renaissance and Italy. Then America was discovered, shifting our focus to the New World and the Western European countries that colonized it.
Even my Slovakian grandparents never talked about "the old country". During my visit to their hometown, I learned that virtually no one returned. All was behind them.
"What, exactly, was behind them?", I wondered. I set out to learn the history of the Central Europe and discovered some amazing things. For example, if it had not been for Poland and Hungary (which included the Slovaks) Western Europe may be Muslim today. If it had not been for the mighty Slovak and Hungarian castles, Europe may have been controlled by the Mongols.
I learned that for centuries my ancestors lived as virtual slaves--subject to the whims of the Magyar king and lords of the castle they built. Their Catholic religion was imposed upon them by by the Moravians and Austrians, although they spent 150 years as Lutheran under rebellious lords.
My novel, Slovakland, covers the Slovaks from the Dark Ages until the great migration. Come and read what it's all about. You may be surprised at what you find.