Communist Strategy and Tactics in Czechoslovakia, 1918-48

Communist Strategy and Tactics in Czechoslovakia, 1918-48

Communist Strategy and Tactics in Czechoslovakia, 1918-48

Communist Strategy and Tactics in Czechoslovakia, 1918-48

Excerpt

The communist seizure of power in February, 1948, in the country created by Masaryk and Benes provoked a revulsion of feeling throughout the Western world not far short of what was felt when Hitler violated Czechoslovakia a decade earlier. Even before the new Communist-dictated government had been sworn in, the United States, Great Britain, and France declared in a joint statement that "the events which have just taken place in Czechoslovakia place in jeopardy the very existence of the principles of liberty to which all democratic nations are attached." Only a veto of the Soviet Union prevented the Security Council of the United Nations from adopting a resolution, offered by Chile, to set up a subcommittee to hear witnesses and obtain information about the coup d'état.

The impact of the coup was intensified by its unexpectedness. In the opinion of political observers with no particular ax to grind, no less than of those who favored collaboration with Communism, the Czechoslovak experiment of combining political democracy with a large degree of socialism had seemed to be succeeding almost until the moment it collapsed. The seizure of power was regarded as an act of supreme perfidy, for in this case neither the Communist Party nor the Soviet Union had even the remotest justification for the overthrow of the existing social and political order.

Czechoslovakia was genuinely friendly to the Soviet Union and placed itself voluntarily under Russia's tutelage in international affairs. Internally, the distribution of forces favored the Communist Party and assured it of a respectable if not always a dominating position in the government. There was no danger of social and economic retrogression. Thus the application of methods . . .

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