Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

some traditional Slovak organizations. By then, lawyers were clamoring for the restoration of the rule of law and the independence of the courts. Although Novotny was forced to give up his post as first secretary of the party in January 1968, he remained president of the republic. On March 30, he was ousted even from this position. He retired from politics and died in 1975 in obscurity.


Bibliography

Rothschild Joseph, Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe Since World War II ( Oxford, 1992); Skilling Gordon H., Czechoslovakia's Interrupted Revolution ( Princeton, NJ, 1976). Ulc Otto, Politics in Czechoslovakia ( San Francisco, 1974, Wolchik Sharon , "Czechoslovakia," in Joseph Held, ed. The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century ( New York, 1992).

Pelikan, Jiri (1923- ). A member of the underground Czechoslovak Communist party in the late 1930s, Pelikan was arrested by the Germans in 1940. However, he escaped and was hidden by friends until the end of the war. He became the president of the Czechoslovak Students' Union in 1948 and was elected to parliament in the rigged elections of that year. He was appointed chairman of the University Committee of the Communist party from 1948 to 1951. From 1953 to 1963, he was the president of the International Union of Students. Between 1963 and 1968, he was director of Czechoslovak television. He also filled various party posts during this time. From October 1969 to September 1969, he served as cultural attache in the Czechoslovak embassy in Rome. When he was recalled, he refused to return to Czechoslovakia and went instead to London, where he edited a work on the Czechoslovak show-trials.


Bibliography

London Arthur, On Trial ( London, 1968); Pelikan Jiri, ed. The Czechoslovak Political Trials, 1950-1954 ( London, 1971); Skilling Gordon H., Czechoslovakia's Interrupted Revolution ( Princeton, NJ, 1976).

Persistence of Stalinism in Czechoslovakia. There were many reasons for the survival of Stalinism in Czechoslovakia into the late 1980s. One of the most important of these reasons was that, given the relatively developed state of the Czechoslovak economy during the interwar years, Stalinist economic policies did not do as much damage as they did in other East European countries. To some extent, the country even derived some benefits from these policies and, above all, it could rid itself of the troublesome German minorities. Economic discontent and national feelings towards Soviet domination was, therefore, not as strong as in other East European countries. In any caw, Czechoslovakia had a long history of affinity with Big Slavic Brother. The Czech intelligentsia quickly adapted to the Stalinist system and soon became its beneficiary. The Communist party, also part of the prewar political system, enjoyed considerable support after the war on account of the role it played in the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The terrorist apparatus that had been built up in Czechoslovakia after World War

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