Czech Republic: A Nation of Velvet (Postcommunist States and by Rick Fawn


By Rick Fawn

Czechoslovakia has captured the nation's mind's eye through the 20th century. The Allied betrayal of the rustic to Nazi Germany in 1938 used to be to illustrate the appalling outcomes of naive appeasement of aggression. The wholesale reform of Soviet communism within the Prague Spring of 1968 gained western help, and sympathy whilst it was once beaten via Warsaw Pact tanks. The fierce communist regime thereafter was once introduced down virtually magically in 1989. Czechoslovakia additional to the foreign political vocabulary the time period, 'Velvet Revolution', and the velvet metaphor has characterized a lot of the country's path-breaking postcommunist transformation and its peaceable break-up in 1993.In separate chapters on heritage, politics, economics, international kinfolk and the hot Czech identification, this booklet not just applauds the successes of the Czech Republic on the grounds that 1993, but additionally uncovers the frayed edges of the velvet state.

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Additional resources for Czech Republic: A Nation of Velvet (Postcommunist States and Nations)

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13 Alfred Cobban, The Nation State and National Self-Determination (London: Collins, 1969), p. 94. 14 Milan Hauner, ‘Military Budgets and the Armaments Industry’, in Michael Kaser and E. A. Radice (eds), The Economic History of Eastern Europe, 1919–1975, Vol. II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986). 15 Korbel, Twentieth-Century Czechoslovakia, p. 158. 36 THE CZECH REPUBLIC 16 ‘Theodor Prochazka, The Second Republic, 1938–1939’, in Mamatey and Luža, pp. 235–70. 17 Yeshayahu Jelinek, The Parish Republic: Hlinka’s Slovak People’s Party (Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 1976).

One enduring legacy of the intervention was that whatever genuine sympathy and support Czechs and Slovaks had held for the Soviet Union and for communism evaporated and was replaced by fierce anticommunism. But an equal legacy was that the current generation of Czechoslovaks would overwhelmingly become passive and accepting of Soviet domination and of communist entrenchment in Czechoslovakia. The Soviets were able to call upon another faction within the KSČ leadership and initiate a process euphemistically called ‘normalization’ to weed out reformers and to solidify hardline communist rule.

But unlike in Poland or Hungary, there was no faction in the Czechoslovak leadership intent on serious reform or on accommodating the interests and demands of the opposition. 54 The context in Czechoslovakia was very different. Instead of seeking a negotiated compromise, the regime continued its crackdown on dissent. The regime responded to the few demonstrations with violence and imprisonment, such as with the March 1988 Bratislava rally for religious expression and the protests to mark important national anniversaries, including the foundation of the Republic in 1918 (generally ignored by the regime), and the twentieth anniversaries of the Soviet intervention and Palach’s death.

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