Political History

Czechoslovakia: the Velvet Revolution and Beyond by Robin H. E. Shepherd

By Robin H. E. Shepherd

Czechoslovakia, some of the most inflexible and authoritarian of the previous Soviet Union's satellite tv for pc states, began the transition from communism with excessive hopes. yet a decade of switch has uncovered the entire volume of the wear wrought to the rustic via a long time of communist rule. For something, the rustic couldn't carry jointly, splitting aside into autonomous states in 1993. This e-book appears on the political and financial adjustments of 2 nations in transition and argues that a lot continues to be performed earlier than they've got shaken off the legacy of a very harsh communist past.

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7 With these considerations in mind, party leader Antonin Novotny largely shunned Sik's recommendations. But the genie was out of the bottle. Sik's ideas had been aired publicly and significant sections of the party had been impressed. The genesis of the Prague Spring can partly be traced back to the second wave of 'destalinisation' in 1961. Thousands of political prisoners were released and many former communists, including the Slovak 'bourgeois nationalists' such as Gustav Husak, stepped out of jail and eventually back into the party.

Their struggle was a lonely one. By the mid-1980s the dissidents may have numbered only around a thousand or so in a country of over 15 million. It wasn't as though they could have defeated the system in the material sense if there had been millions of them. But their significance was enormous. They testified to the refusal of the spirit of freedom and truth to lie down in the face of overwhelming odds. Their very existence was an indictment of the corrupt elite which ran the country and it pricked the consciousnesses of the population at large.

9 The document begins with the standard assessment of the rise to power of the communist party. As Dubcek said, the document could not be a provocation. ' 10 The tone was cautious and the heretical nature of the content was interspersed with warnings about the 'aggressive attempts of world imperialism' and thus disguised by the traditional references to Marxist-Leninist ideology. It upheld the idea of the leading role of the party and it pledged Czechoslovakia's allegiance to the Warsaw Pact. But it also made some of the most radical demands for democratisation ever to come out of a Soviet Bloc country.

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