Dictionary of East European History since 1945

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Velvet Revolution. Since then, the of the Czechoslovak Communist party has disappeared. In the elections held in 1990, it received about 13 percent of the votes, about the same ratio it had attracted during the interwar years.


Bibliography

Suda Zdanek, Zealots and Rebels: A History of the Ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia ( Stanford, CA., 1980); Toma Peter A., "The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia," in Stephen Fischer-Galati, ed., The Communist Parties of Eastern Europe ( New York, 1979).

Constitutions of 1948 and 1960. After the rigged elections of 1948 the newly elected National Assembly created a new constitution for Czechoslovakia. It was actually introduced a day after the elections, showing that it had been prepared well ahead of the elections. The document did not include any reference to the privileged position of the Communist party nor of the administrative decrees of nationalization introduced after the coup d'etat. However, it did contain enough restrictions on individual liberties to make it less than a democratic document. President Benes refused to sign the document. When he resigned, he was replaced by the dominant communist, Klement Gottwald, who signed the constitution.

The constitution of 1960 came about as the result of the decision of the Politburo to record the changes that had occurred after 1948. The new document was first approved by the party's Central Committee and rubber-stamped by the National Assembly in July 1960. The document "legalized' the" dictatorship of the proletariat" retroactively. It proclaimed the successful construction of socialism. However, since the document had mainly propaganda purposes, it had no real significance in Czechoslovak politics. The 1960 constitution proudly proclaimed that Czechoslovakia was the second nation in the world (after the Soviet Union, of course), to have completed the task of building true socialism. It also outlined the road to a future utopian communism.

The preamble stated that the establishment of a "people's democracy" was the correct way toward socialism. The document copied the major features of the Stalinist constitution of 1936 although it was less detailed. Article 4 declared that the Czechoslovak Communist party was the vanguard of the working class and the guiding force of society and the state. Article 8 provided for the abolition of private property (retroactively, of course) and defined state ownership as "ownership by the people." Articles 9 and 10 further defined the limits of property-ownership. Despite the overwhelming "triumphs" proclaimed by the communist leaders, they were showing in this document a desperate need for internal legitimacy. The 1960 constitution had no other purpose.


Bibliography

Kral Vaclav, ed., The Origin and Development of People's Democracy in Czechoslovakia (In Czech) ( Prague, 1961).

Cultural Policies. The Stalinization of Czechoslovak culture began immediately after

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