Ivo D. Duchacek
When the communist leaders of Czechoslovakia commemorate the successive anniversaries of their accession to power, they do so with gusto and glee. They display their pride over the exemplary fashion in which they seized power on February 25, 1948.1 Not only their opponents in 1948 but communist leaders themselves were surprised at the ease with which power had passed from the hands of the National Front Coalition government.2 Klement Gottwald, the first communist prime minister and chairman of the Communist Party, had shown his astonishment in conversation with other party leaders, reportedly in the following words: "It was like cutting butter with a sharp knife." The noncommunist majority had been sliced to pieces by a well-organized and Soviet-supported communist minority.
There thus has been well over a decade of communism in Czechoslovakia, and it is proper to inquire what happened to the country during this novel era of its history. What did the new Czechoslovakia look like? In 1960 it adopted a new name, that of Socialist Republic, and a new constitution which recorded Czechoslovakia's claim to be second only to the Soviet Union in the matter of building communism; the higher form of proletarian development (that is, socialism, in Lenin's sense of the word) was allegedly reached in 1960. Had Czechoslovakia in truth become the showplace of Marxism?____________________