purges, became symbols of national oppression. Slovaks in general considered Rudolf Slansky (see Slansky Trial) and his group, executed in 1952, Jewish dogmatists who had largely been responsible for the Stalinist terror of the late 1940s and the Czechs who had been purged at that time simply as irrelevant to their situation. But the Slovaks who died or were imprisoned, including the Jewish Eugene Loebl, Vladimir Clementis, Laco Novomesky, and even Gustav Husak, were regarded as genuine national heroes. Traditionally, Slovak communists were more independentminded than their Czech comrades. Above all, they were not part of the cabal who were partly responsible for the show trials. In addition, the sharp dividing line that separated the intellectuals in the Czech party from ordinary members did not exist in the Slovakian case. The national resentment over Czech domination became part and parcel of the Slovak party's ideology.
In 1968, during the Prague Spring, (see Prague Spring, 1968) the Slovak communists resurrected their claim to equality with the Czechs. They went so far as to demand the establishment of a completely independent Slovak party organization. They proposed to revive the Slovak National Council that had been created during the uprising of 1944. However, after the Soviet intervention, Slovak demands became more muted. The shrewd Soviet move to make Husak the leader of the Czechoslovak Communist party and of the government of the republic placated Slovak communists.
However, with the collapse of the communist regime in the state, Slovak nationalism was reborn with a vengeance. It led to the emergence of an autonomous Slovak government that became the leader of a newly independent Slovak state on January 1, 1993. The Czechoslovak state that existed for 75 years thus disappeared from the map of the world.
Mates Pavel, "The New Slovak Constitution," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 43 ( October 30, 1992), pp. 39-42; Peche Jiri, "Czech-Slovak Conflict Threatens State Unity," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 1 ( January 3, 1992), pp. 83-86; -----, "Czechoslovakia's Political Balance Sheet," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 25 ( June 19, 1992), pp. 24-25; -----, "Czechs and Slovaks Prepare to Part," Radio Free Europe Research Report 1. 37 ( September 18, 1992), pp. 12-15.
Smrkovsky, Josef (1911-1974). Smrkovsky joined the Czechoslovak Communist party in the early 1930s and was sent to Moscow to study at the school maintained by the COMINTERN for the indoctrination of foreign communists. In 1934, he returned to Czechoslovakia and became a functionary of the Communist party. During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia Smrkovsky worked in the underground communist movement and, after the German attack on the Soviet Union, he was one of the leaders of the resistance.
In 1945, Smrkovsky entered the inner circle of the party's leadership by becoming a member of the Politburo. However, he was swallowed up in the purges that followed the Slansky trial (see Slansky Trial). He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to