The State against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe

By Grzegorz Ekiert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
The Party-State and Society during the
Prague Spring

ESTABLISHED as an independent state by the Paris Peace Conference in 1918, Czechoslovakia before the Second World War was the most industrialized and prosperous country of East Central Europe. It was also the most democratic, with a relatively well functioning and stable parliamentary system. Additionally, Czechoslovakia was the only country in the region that between the wars had a legal and established communist party, which controlled most of country's trade unions. In spite of the Communist party's opposition to the First Republic and its full subordination to Moscow, it operated with little restriction and was able to achieve considerable electoral support in the industrial centers of Bohemia. 1 The agreement in Munich in September 1938, in which the Western powers bowed to Hitler's territorial claims vis-à-vis Czechoslovakia, destroyed country's independence and freedom and led to its full-scale annexation by the Third Reich six months later. Bohemia and Moravia together were established as a German protectorate, and Slovakia, where the Germans easily exploited anti-Czech nationalist sentiments, was converted into a fascist puppet state. While Czechoslovakia was not spared the horrors and devastations of the war, it suffered less in human and material terms than its neighbors.

Liberated by the Red Army at the end of the war, Czechoslovakia was destined to fall prey to Soviet geopolitical ambitions and to become another victim of the shift in the international balance of power on the continent. But as Joseph Rothschild observes, “For more than two years after the end of World War II the Czechoslovak Communists refrained from any extravagant flexing of their political muscles.” 2 At the end of the war, the Czech government-in-exile headed by Eduard Benes was able to return to the country, although on Soviet insistence a sizable representation of communists was co-opted. While the government included representatives of major political parties (Communists, Social Democrats, National Socialists, Czechoslovak Populists, and all members of the Slovak National Council), the Communists slowly moved into key positions within the state structure in preparation to assume exclusive control over the country. The government implemented wide-ranging economic reforms including nationalization of industry and banking and land reform. In October 1945 President Benes signed a decree that nationalized all enterprises employing more than five hundred workers, and in some sectors of the economy, like mining, steel, and the power industry, all enterprises were nationalized. Thus, immedi-

-126-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The State against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East Central Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 435

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.