Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War

By John O. Crane; Sylvia E. Crane | Go to book overview

16 The Government Reconstituted on Home Ground (1945)

Eduard Beneš had given the Western Powers due notice of his intention to reorganize his government on home ground to conform to the reality of Communist hegemony in the local administrative committees emplaced by the liberating Red Army. Stalin himself had told Beneš he thought the Czechoslovak Communists tended to swing too far to the left, risking offense to sensibilities in Western chancelleries. The leftward pull was sugarcoated by the "provisional character" of the new administration, which was to govern until free elections would be held following liberation of the entire country. Throughout his extended deliberations with the Communist exiles in Moscow, they all understood that the first liberated government would contain representatives of the London government-in-exile, the Communists in Moscow, and representatives of the Slovak National Council.

The structure of the new government, announced by Beneš at Košice on April 7, 1945, manifested this "swing to the Left," according to British Ambassador Philip Nichols, who noted that the new "strong Communist elements" had been "wholly absent from the last administration." The conservative Agrarians were banned, as were the Rudolph Gajda-led Fascist groups, as all these leaders were "badly compromised by their [collaborationist] activities since 1938." Hubert Ripka reminded Nichols sharply in London, however, that the "drastic decision" to liquidate the Agrarian Party of the small peasants had been agreed to "by all the parties in the Cabinet. It was not an exclusive decision forced by the Communists."1

The government included five experts, ministers of no particular

-235-

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Czechoslovakia: Anvil of the Cold War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xvii
  • Notes xxvi
  • 1- The Independence Movement Commences 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2- Founding of the Legions: Entrapment in Anti- Bolshevik Intervention 11
  • Notes 26
  • 3- The Legions Anabasis To the Sea 30
  • Notes 46
  • 4- Masaryk in America 50
  • Notes 62
  • 5- Drawing the Frontiers 63
  • Notes 70
  • 6- Internal Stabilization 72
  • Notes 84
  • 7- The Beneš Succession: Storm Warnings (1935-38) 85
  • Notes 101
  • 8- The Sudeten Fires Flare (1938) 103
  • Notes 121
  • 9- Summer Turmoil (1938) 124
  • Notes 130
  • 10- The Runciman Mission (summer 1938) 131
  • Notes 148
  • 11- Munich (september 1938) 151
  • Notes 169
  • 12- Aftermath of Munich (1938-41) 172
  • Notes 185
  • 13- War on Two Fronts (1941) 187
  • Notes 202
  • 14- Wartime Conferences And Treaties 205
  • Notes 215
  • 15- The Slovak Uprising: The Government's Return Home 218
  • Notes 232
  • 16- The Government Reconstituted On Home Ground (1945) 235
  • Notes 245
  • 17- Nationalities Transfers And Allied Army Withdrawals (1945) 247
  • Notes 255
  • 18- Democratic Socialization (1945-46) 257
  • Notes 271
  • 19- Cold War Beginnings (1946) 273
  • Notes 287
  • 20- Storm Signals (1947) 290
  • Notes 306
  • 21- The Communist Coup (1947-48) 308
  • Notes 318
  • 22- The Death of Jan Masaryk (1948) 320
  • Notes 332
  • Abbreviations 333
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 343
  • About the Authors 353
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