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Czechoslovakia, resistance to Soviet political and economic rule

Michael Rossi

Subject History » Political History
Study of History » Comparative History

Place Europe » Eastern Europe

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics democracy, foreign interventionism, nationalism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00438.x


General resistance to both the Soviet-supported Czechoslovak Communist Party and communism as a form of government in Czechoslovakia was noticeably different from the organized protests and everyday forms of passive resistance in Poland, Hungary, and East Germany. This can be attributed to a number of factors present as early as 1946. First, Czechoslovakia enjoyed relative political freedom for a few years following the end of World War II. Unlike most states of Central and Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia did not fall under the direct control of Moscow until 1948. Second, Czechoslovakia was one of the few countries in the immediate postwar period in which communists secured a sizable percentage of votes in the free elections of May 1946, winning 38 percent of the national vote and 40 percent in the Czech lands. The party's initial leverage stemmed from its association with prewar socialist parties that had formed governing coalitions with other parties, as well as its critical role in resistance movements during the war. In this regard, the communist monopoly over political and economic life in Czechoslovakia was less an outright Soviet takeover than a grafting of existing, politically legitimate institutions into the larger Soviet communist network ( Suda 1989 : 178–201). Consequently, Czechoslovakia retained a government that reflected a national character and degree of support ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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