Communism in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1960

By Edward Taborsky | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE EDUCATIONAL WEAPON

THE LOWERING of an Iron Curtain against Western influences is only half of the communist battle for the human mind. The other half consists of a monumental endeavor to purge the people's brains of adverse native influences and to substitute new sets and criteria of values. While mercilessly cutting off contacts with the outside world, the KSČ leaders and their ideologists have been doing their utmost to convince their subjects of the superiority of communism and to win acceptance of Marxist-Leninist precepts. Along with the growth of a socialist economy the "completion of the socialist revolution in the field of ideology and culture," has been given top priority by the Eleventh Party Congress. "Without it," emphasized Novotný in his report to the Congress, "the construction of a socialist society is unthinkable."1

Schools rank foremost among the communist media of indoctrination. "In solving this task [of overcoming the influence of bourgeois ideology and broadening the impact of communist ideas] the Party places school education first."2 Keenly aware of the necessity of shaping the mind when it is most malleable, communist leaders have converted the country's classrooms from the kindergarten to the university into workshops for the making of the new "communistic man." "We must educate our new intelligentsia in our courses and schools in the spirit of the most progressive world outlook, in the spirit of dialectical and historical materialism, in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism," declared Gottwald in issuing directives to the Ninth Party Congress in 1949.3 And in unfolding his strategy for "the "completion of the cultural revolution" at the Eleventh Party Congress in 1958, Gottwald's successor, Novotný, emphatically restated the Party's resolve to anchor youth education "fully on the foundations of Marxism- Leninism and to lead it decisively in the communist spirit."4

Throughout the nine years separating the two Party congresses no

____________________
1
Rudé právo, June 19, 1958.
2
ibid.; also, Život strany, No. 2 (January 59), pp. 77ff.
3
Rudé právo, May 26, 1949.
4
ibid., June 19, 1958.

-506-

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