COMMUNISM'S PERNICIOUS ISMS
WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT of the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1948, the Party's "heroic era" came to an end and that of "socialist construction" began. Like their Soviet tutors and so many other revolutionaries before them, the Czechoslovak Communists were soon to discover that, far from lessening their worries, the seizure of power had only multiplied them. As Milton has said, "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe."
What are, then, the major inner-Party problems and dilemmas that have confronted the KSČ since its conversion from a weapon of revolution to an instrument of power? Some of them have been mentioned in preceding chapters but the matter deserves a more systematic treatment. Nothing mirrors the true character of the KSČ better than an exploration and diagnosis of the ailments that continue to plague the Party's body politic in spite of all the remedies administered by its chief medicine men.
Of all the specters haunting the orthodox Leninist-Stalinists in the last years of the Stalin era none was exorcized more ferociously and fought more vigorously than Titoism. To be labeled a "Titoist" meant not only political disgrace but often criminal prosecution that could, and sometimes did, involve capital punishment. Untold thousands of Communists were demoted, purged, and liquidated throughout the satellite world for having been stricken by that black plague.
Initially, the leaders of Czechoslovak communism yielded ground to no one in the anti-Titoist crusade. After Tito had been denounced by the Cominform in 1948 they staged a nation-wide witchhunt for Titoists. Except possibly for Hungary and Albania, this persecution had been more widespread and more virulent in Czechoslovakia than in any other country within the Soviet orbit. Perhaps more than anywhere else Titoism was used as a convenient tool in settling personal rivalries in the uppermost crust of Party leadership, such as Gottwald versus Slánský and S+̆irokČ versus Clementis. Rudolf Slánský, the
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Publication information: Book title: Communism in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1960. Contributors: Edward Taborsky - Author. Publisher: Princeton University Press. Place of publication: Princeton, NJ. Publication year: 1961. Page number: 119.
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