In the Shadow of Russia: Eastern Europe in the Postwar World

By Nicholas Halasz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Czecho-Slovakia

Those who revisited Prague in 1945 and remembered Bismarck's words that the master of Prague was also the master of the European continent, had a shock when they arrived by plane from London at the deserted airport of the Czech capital. They noticed two Soviet soldiers standing guard on the platform. Aloof, they seemed to observe the sky, paying no attention to what must have been the biggest event of the day-the arrival of a converted British bomber and the passengers crawling out of it.

Russian soldiers in the heart of Europe, as Prague, capital of old, historic Bohemia was rightly called, revealed the changes that World War II had brought to Europe.

But outwardly Prague had hardly changed. The old castle still loomed high above the city, which so happily combined noble old styles with the glass and concrete of modern architecture. The famous window of the castle was in its old place, from which the imperial counselor had been thrown by the Czechs in 1618 in retaliation against the religious oppression of the Hapsburg emperor -- marking the start of the Thirty Years' War. Half the Czech people had been wiped out during those bloody decades. It was the same window where Hitler had stood looking down on the city into which he had swept triumphantly in March, 1939, an act that was to boomerang in the form of World War II. And behind that window, Dr. Edward Benes was again working as President of the Republic-the man whose

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In the Shadow of Russia: Eastern Europe in the Postwar World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Part I - The Seven States 1
  • Chapter One - Poland 3
  • Chapter Two - Rumania 54
  • Chapter Three - Bulgaria 90
  • Chapter Four - Jugoslavia 110
  • Chapter Five - Albania 143
  • Chapter Six - Hungary 150
  • Chapter Seven - Czecho-Slovakia 190
  • Part II - Eastern Europe in the Cold War 231
  • Chapter Eight - The Cold War Years 233
  • Chapter Nine - The Ice Breaks 317
  • A Note on Sources 379
  • Index 381
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