In the Stadium of Life, Normalization Was an Olympic Pool of Murky Waters
11. 6. 2021 / Muriel Blaive
Foto: Muriel Blaive
K stému výročí založení Komunistické strany Československa poskytla Muriel Blaive rozhovor Institutu české levice. V něm přesvědčivě rozbíjí představu, že komunismus byl jakýmsi "zotročením českého národa ze zahraničí", něčím, co s Čechy samotnými nemělo nic moc společného. Dokladuje, že od samého založení byla KSČ stranou extremistickou a byla v tom sebejistá, protože se v tom mohla spoléhat na podporu velké části českých občanů. S komunismem flirtovali mnozí a neodsoudili ho ani Edvard Beneš, ani Jan Masaryk, který dokonce z nepochopitelných důvodů v komunistické vládě po převratu r. 1948 zůstal. Po druhé světové válce, paradoxně, protože komunismus měl přece být kosmopolitní, se pro Čechy komunismus mísil s národovectvím a chránil je před německým nebezpečím, také si libovali, že mají existenční jistoty. Gottwald byl zločinec, jenže dodnes neexistuje žádný jeho podrobný životopis.
To, co je na tomto rozhovoru Muriel Blaive opravdu pozoruhodné, je, že zaznamenává, že kultura národovectví, xenofobie a nesnášenlivosti byla integrální, dlouhodobou součástí myšlení lidí, kteří vládli v poválečném Československu desítky let - a je zjevné, že tato kultura nezmizela a začíná převládat i dnes. Je to voda na můj mlýn, protože dlouhá léta tvrdím, podle své zkušenosti, že československý komunistický režim byl populistický a ultrapravicový a k těmto hodnotám se mnozí v ČR dnes instinktivně vracejí. (JČ)
Přinášíme anglický originál rozhovoru, český překlad vyšel ZDE
Muriel Blaive1, Interview with Jan Klán, Institut české levice, On the 100th Anniversary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia)
IČL: How do you assess the position of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) in the context of the European communist movement over the years from its foundation until 1990? Was the Communist Party a demonstrably subordinate component of the Soviet communist doctrine and policy? If so, to what extent did it also play an active role in Czechoslovakia and in the European communist movement?
MB: KSČ was one of few communist parties (we can also think of the German and French CPs) that enjoyed genuine popular legitimacy at the time of their creation. Indeed, the Czech lands were an ideal playground for the Marxist theory (not so for Slovakia.)
The reason for it was socio-political: it was connected to the level of industrialization of Bohemia, with an already existing and organized working class, a developed economy, and a social-democratic tradition. But it was also cultural and religious: Czech culture, which had long lived under oppression, had developed a dislike for Austrian aristocracy, privileges, superiority. Egalitarianism was a constitutional part of Czech identity at the beginning of the twentieth century. Doubtless because the Catholic religion had been imposed by the Austrian ruler upon a domestic protestant preference inherited from a time of past glory (Jan Hus), religion was comparatively weak compared to neighboring countries. Moreover, the Czechs had no history of conflict with the Russians the way the Poles and the Hungarians did, on the contrary a current of Russophilia existed in Czech culture. And finally, communist parties spoke to national minorities. The KSČ disproportionately recruited among Czechoslovak Germans, Hungarians, and Jews for easily understandable reasons: the communist party was a uniting force in a disunited world, one that promised empathy and respect for every identity.
Because it enjoyed genuine popular support, KSČ could afford to be one of the most uncompromising communist parties. A party leadership can be inflexible only when it knows it is backed by real power; when its power is less assured, it becomes sensitive to pressures mounting from the bottom. Dogmatism is a luxury, and when it is applied in the wrong context, as was the case of the German, Polish, and Hungarian parties in the 1930s under the “class against class” strategy decreed from Moscow, it becomes suicidal. There the three parties vanished until 1945.
You ask if there are any documentary proofs that the KSČ was subordinated to the Soviet doctrine and politics as if it were debatable that it was. I do not think there can be any doubt about it, from the moment it was bolshevized in the 1920s. Jacques Rupnik’s monograph on the history of the KSČ provides abundant documentary evidence. The year when Klement Gottwald became general secretary of the party, 1929, he also became a member of the Czechoslovak Parliament. This anecdote is recounted over and over again, but it is worth repeating because it is so eloquent: he claimed, “We are the party of the Czechoslovak proletariat and our headquarters is in Moscow. We go to Moscow to learn from the Russian Bolsheviks how to twist your necks. And as you know, Russian Bolsheviks are masters at that.”2
The Czechoslovak communists and sympathizers were believers but the Czech and Slovak citizens who cared to inform themselves could be left in no doubt as to what Stalinism meant in practice after the publication of Jiří Weil’s novel Moskva-hranice (1937.3) In a moving narrative, Weil describes his experiences of repression as a committed communist living in the Soviet Union from 1933 to 1935, an experience that was very distant from the promises of the theory and his original ideals. But the Czech critique ignored the lessons of the novel for the most part.
At home and abroad, the Czechoslovak comrades were known for their particularly zealous enforcement of the Moscow dogma. Be it from former comrades’ memoirs4, or the account of Karel Bartošek5, it is quite certain that Artur London and other Czechoslovak comrades were amongst the most dogmatic Komintern representatives during the war in Spain (1936-1939.) It was also the case of Evžen (Jenő) Fried in France in the 1930s. Fried was a fiercely Stalinist Hungarian from Slovakia who pushed for the Stalinization of the French Communist Party and eliminated its moderate wing. He explained to the French comrades that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was justified since the Second World War was a war amongst imperialists6 - before completely turning face in 1941 and later dying in the Belgian resistance.
After the war, Stalin was intent on cooperating with the West and with the democrats in the countries occupied by the Red Army. The moderate post-1945 policy, the “national road to socialism” line adopted in each country, was dictated by Stalin and all leaders enforced it with undisguised enthusiasm. Milovan Djilas’ memoirs, Conversations with Stalin, offer a fascinating glimpse into this faked tolerance and honesty7 – faked because while Stalin was preaching moderation, the Red Army was occupying Central Europe at great cost to the local populations (except Czechoslovakia, which the Red Army already left on 1 December 1945.)
After the war, a new organization, the Cominform, replaced the Komintern, although it was less dogmatic and mainly less powerful. Giuliano Procacci edited the minutes of the three Cominform meetings. We can observe how the tone of the Soviet delegation changes from 1947 to 1949. All benevolence disappears and after the break with Tito in 1948, Stalin demands complete subservience from the other communist parties.8 Slánský and Gottwald, who were preaching tolerance and respect of the democrats in 1945, who had promised there would be no collectivization of the agriculture and Czechoslovakia would attain socialism in its own way, a national and democratic way9, changed tone after 1947. Czechoslovakia would be Stalinist, and this change precipitated the February 1948 takeover.
That the KSČ was subordinated to the USSR during Stalinism is obvious, but the destalinization in 1954-1956 was also imposed by Moscow, as I showed in my book.10 In 1968, the Prague Spring could take place because Brezhnev gave his blessing to Dubček during his trip to Prague in late 1967. And after the 1968 interlude, the KSČ was again subordinated to the Soviets during normalization, which surely needs no demonstration insofar as the country was occupied. Finally, 1989 happened as a direct consequence of Gorbachov’s disengagement from Central Europe in 1988.
A more relevant question would be to know if the subservience of the KSČ to Moscow means that communism was imposed from the outside upon a reluctant Czechoslovakia. There the answer is negative: first, because Czechoslovakia embraced communism voluntarily, and second because the forces who opposed it offered such feeble resistance as to be almost irrelevant. The KSČ easily won the 1946 elections. The Czechoslovak population then collectively collaborated with the communist regime under various forms: by enrolling into the Party (49% of the Czech active population was KSČ member by the end of 1948!11), by collaborating with the StB, or simply by accepting the communist rule, be it grudgingly at times – Václav Havel’s plays Audience, Unveiling, and Protest are enlightening in this respect.12 Communism could have been imposed by force upon Czechoslovakia the way it was upon Poland and Hungary, but the fact is that it did not need to be.
The main reason for this was patriotism and even nationalism: not only was the Soviet Union and its Czechoslovak representative, the KSČ, the only power capable of guaranteeing that the expelled Sudeten Germans would not return, but the KSČ was the only force in Czechoslovakia capable of reuniting and reconciling the Czech lands and Slovakia after the fascist interlude in Slovakia and the disastrous collapse of the interwar “Czechoslovak ideology” – which had been, in reality, a form of Czech ethnonationalism imposed upon Slovakia.13 Czechoslovakia was a country where communism was strongly allied to nationalism/patriotism, which greatly contributed to its popular legitimacy. This is quite ironic if we consider the internationalist dimension of the communist ideology in the first years of the Komintern. But it can’t be denied that Stalin’s bid to bind communism with nationalism in each country and to empty the ideology of “international proletarianism” of any content beneath its surface flourish, was remarkably successful. As Václav Havel judiciously remarked, no one cared about the “Proletarians of the world, unite!” sign in the greengrocer’s window.14
Czechoslovak democrats also have their share of responsibility in the easy advent of communism. President Beneš and the democrats tolerated the increasingly manifest postwar abuses of the KSČ in domestic politics because they needed to close their eyes to the complete collapse of the interwar system they had promoted. Jan Masaryk described to his friend John Foster Dulles, President Eisenhower’s future Secretary of State, how he had to close his nose with one hand while voting at the UN with the other, so foul-smelling were the Soviet proposals.15 What defense of democracy is this? The democrats closed their eyes on the abuses, which sometimes veered into ethnic cleansing, that accompanied the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans. Law no. 115/1946, which pardoned all excesses committed against the Germans, set the standard for future abuses of human rights, and it is one door that the democrats eagerly opened. As Benjamin Frommer has shown, the severity of the judicial postwar settlement with the Nazi collaborators was another blow to democracy, as well as a sinister model for the upcoming communist repression.16 The democrats then ingloriously renounced the Marshall Plan in July 1947. In February 1948, it is the democrats who precipitated a crisis by resigning from the government, it is a democrat, the son of the founding president himself, Jan Masaryk, who betrayed the democrats by refusing to resign (it is true that they had not bothered to consult him), it is a democratic president who surrendered and nominated the new communist government, and it is the democratically elected Parliament of 1946 that swore in the new communist government without one single vote against (although nine MPs did resign.)17
Similarly, the Prague Spring was buried by Alexander Dubček in person. He did not resist the occupation forces, he signed the agreements in Moscow, he stayed in power, and he undid himself the reforms he had done. To say that normalization was “the fault of the Soviets” would thus be very incomplete. Normalization was first and foremost First Secretary Husák’s responsibility and that of his colleagues and collaborators. In this sense, its relationship with Eurocommunism was severed. These were two distinct realities, that answered to two very different contexts. Czechoslovak normalizers had more in common with French communists, who were similarly rooted in longue durée French culture, than with the more moderate Italian communists.
In short, the communist regime would probably not have taken hold of Czechoslovakia without the international context in 1948, but the communist ideology was deeply inscribed in Czech culture. Those who wanted to know knew what communism in practice would entail, but most people chose not to see and let it happen, or even enthusiastically supported it.
IČL: According to your assessment of history as well as your personal experience, how did Western influences, the Western European socialist and communist tradition, the Italian historical compromise, developments in France, Eurocommunism, and reformism in the communist movement in the post-Soviet space reflect in the formation, tradition, and history of the KSČ and later in the post-communist KSČM?
M.B. Eurocommunism was in many ways an intellectual continuation of the Prague Spring – this is symbolized by the fact that the famous Czech communist intellectual Jiří Pelikán emigrated to Rome, and later became a member of the European Parliament for the Italian socialist party. But as we know, the Prague Spring was dead and buried in normalized Czechoslovakia. Both the Czechoslovak and French communists were rather the heirs of Stalinism. Both exercised the kind of rule that is made possible in the long run by having enough support to afford to err. They distributed privileges and bought loyalty in exchange – this is the (in)famous “social contract” I have described in the past years to the virtuous indignation of the anticommunists. That the KSČ had built a genuine basis of support became obvious after 1989, insofar as a substantial part of the electorate continued voting for it. It did not want to reform itself because it was proud of its track record and it represented many citizens who regretted the simpler pre-1989 lifestyle and/or who deplored the excesses of wild capitalism – not without reason, I might add. Interestingly, the French communists followed a similar path. They, too, did not want to evolve despite their dwindling electoral support, comforted by the fact that they still had a strong militant base. As a result, both of them are now a civic organization that is not without popular support, but they are practically finished as political parties.
IČL: To what extent do you consider the development of Czechoslovakia after the Second World War until the full seizure of power by the Czechoslovak communists in February 1948 to be a consequence of the war, the activities of the communist resistance and the domestic post-war political development, and to what extent a consequence of the collapse of the anti-Hitler coalition and the action of external forces. Can you provide documentary evidence?
MB: There are several factors explaining the postwar development, some endogenous, some exogenous. The explanation will typically vary with the personal values and beliefs of the historian assessing this period, and also with the contemporary context at the time when he or she is writing. I do not think it would be productive or even possible to define precise degrees of responsibility for each factor. All contributed; all interacted.
As exogenous factors, I would cite the 1929 economic crisis, that created havoc in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s as it did elsewhere. The moral, political, and military betrayal of Czechoslovakia by France and Britain at Munich in 1938 was certainly crucial. The Nazi occupation and its terror regime were constitutive of the postwar identity. And finally, the Soviet sacrifice from 1941 to 1945 and its liberation of Czechoslovakia were certainly a major factor.
As endogenous factors, I would cite the collective enthusiasm of the Sudeten Germans for Nazism, the collapse of the Czech paternalism that had typified the First Republic, the failure of the country to fight for its ideals in 1938, the Slovak fascist betrayal in 1939, the betrayal of the conservative parties during the war, and the weakness of the anti-Nazi resistance. I would point you here to two more novels by Jiří Weil, Life With A Star and Mendelssohn Is on the Roof18, as well as Josef Škvorecký’s The Cowards19, for an accurate description of the passive, one might say even indifferent behavior of the Czech population to other peoples’ suffering. The Czechs were not particularly antisemitic, yet they did very little to help their Jewish compatriots, and even less for the Roma. Even if it was justified by fear, I cannot believe that this attitude left no trace on the collective psyche – and a guilty conscience is perhaps easier to manipulate.
After the war, what is remarkable is the revenge that took at times the form of ethnic cleansing on the civilian German population20, and the inexcusable pardoning of these crimes. All the rest derived from these two factors: it rendered the communists indispensable, and therefore the restriction of democratic life that they imposed was accepted without a blink. Half of the political spectrum was ousted. As mentioned above, a guilty conscience concerning collaboration with the Nazis and/or the expulsion of the Germans was offset by a particularly ruthless treatment of wartime collaborators, another blow to the democratic spirit. The democrats also fatefully let the KSČ take over the territorial administration (National Committees) and redistribute the German land and belongings to its own benefit.
To cut a long story short, from the moment the democrats accepted, and depended on, the communists’ help to accomplish their national cleansing agenda, democracy was doomed. The democrats lost their souls by abandoning their traditional defense of democracy and human rights.
We can remark that all this was made possible because the communists also lost their souls by abandoning their traditional defense of national minorities. Stalin’s sudden turnabout seems to have occurred in 1943. In contradiction to its previous policy, the USSR now endorsed homogenous national communities, thus effectively sacrificing national minorities, especially of course the Germans. Stalin and Beneš found a renewed ground for agreement in Moscow. The Czechoslovak communists of German descent “Czechized” their names and the KSČ became the champion of Czechoslovak patriotism at the expense of its German and Hungarian minorities.
In your questions, you have repeatedly prompted me to supply “documentary evidence”, however all this has long been documented, there is nothing new in the sources that I am mentioning here.21 They have been freely accessible for decades for those who were interested in them. The question is, why was almost no one interested in them?
IČL: Was the 1968 Prague Spring an expression of national specificities or a reflection of objective processes in European society? Did the Prague Spring enrich European left-wing (communist, Eurocommunist, socialist) traditions? If so, what reactions of Western Europe can you name or describe? What practical relevance can historical research on the Prague Spring have for contemporary society?
MB: In my eyes, the Prague Spring is first and foremost a slow reaction to the deteriorating economic situation – the Stalinization of the economy had reached its absolute limits by 1963.22 However, the loosening of censorship opened the gates to a flood of guilt on the part of communist intellectuals who had promised a radiant future to the country in 1948 and who had led it instead to the political and economic hardships of Stalinism and the terrible injustices of the show trials and collectivization. It is often argued that the Prague Spring came late because there was so much terror that Czechoslovak society was anesthetized in 1956. However, I have shown in my book on 1956 that such was not the case. Passed the shock of the terror years, the people did get used to the Stalinist regime, and did find some advantages in it: first and foremost, security against the Germans, but also security against unemployment, generally the advantages of the welfare state, and let us not forget the vast social promotion that accompanied the downfall of the previous elites. 1968 is not a “delayed 1956” – it was not brought on by popular wrath. On the contrary, Alexander Dubček was very popular.
The Prague Spring did coincide with a general mood of reckoning in the West. Younger generations there were rebelling against the corseted, authoritarian, and paternalistic societal model of their parents and grandparents, rebelling against the senselessness of war in Vietnam, reckoning with the Nazi past in Germany23, rebelling against the authoritarianism and censorship of De Gaulle’s France. In short, they were shaking loose the model of conservative society they had grown up in. Western movements were led by youngsters who wanted to change the future, and who were more often than not even more radical and leftist than the communists. The Prague visit of Rudi Dutschke and Daniel Cohn-Bendit in spring 1968, and the systemic misunderstanding with Czech students that accompanied it, are quite enlightening in this respect.24 While the youthful Western revolutionaries despised bourgeois democracy, seen from Prague the very same bourgeois democracy was a dream.
Indeed, the Prague Spring was led by middle-aged intellectuals who wanted to repair past mistakes and injustices. In his autobiography, which was published only in French, historian Karel Kaplan has eloquently described his mental state when he discovered that the show trial victims were innocent: “For more than ten years, I progressed on the path to truth. The road was interspersed with discoveries, disappointments, sleepless nights, painful questioning and self-examination, a path marked by overthrown idols and dead illusions. I went through a heart-rending inner conflict resulting from this confrontation between the ideals and reality, the illusions and the facts. […] I experienced this encounter with sources on two counts, as a historian and as a man who had brought his modest contribution to the edification of the work whose deep truth he was now searching.”25 How had all this been possible? The Prague Spring was meant for the KSČ to find an answer and to protect the communist rule from future such abuses.
Despite this cultural, political, and intellectual misunderstanding, Western elites were dazzled by the brilliance of “socialism with a human face.” Alexander Dubček promised a purified version of socialism, a third way that would combine the social and intellectual advantages of communism (egalitarianism, equal opportunities, welfare state) with respect for human rights and freedom. One had to be singularly conservative not to find this program appealing.
Was communism doomed to fail or could the Prague Spring have saved the communist ideology had the Warsaw Pact armies not invaded Czechoslovakia? It is up for debate, but my answer is that it could not have. Even such a well-intentioned version of communism could not find the strength to acknowledge that it has misled the country. Slánský might have headed an objectionable regime, but he and his co-defendants were innocent of the crimes they were accused of at the Slánský trial. A full reckoning would have entailed acknowledging that the KSČ had sacrificed national interests to the Soviet demands; in other words, this would have raised the issue of high treason. This was even truer concerning Horáková and the other democrats. There was no need to execute Horáková, it was an unforgivable moral transgression of the communist regime. The ambivalent attitude of the 1968 leadership towards Gottwald betrays as much. Dubček and Husák stopped short of saying what needs to be said about Gottwald to this day: he betrayed his promise to lead the country on a national path to socialism. To this day, there is no academic biography of Klement Gottwald, as if acknowledging this ideal as an illusion, or a lie, was still too painful. We can observe that Havel, Klaus, and Zeman also kept silent on Gottwald.
The reason for this collective silence is in my mind quite obvious: if we did, or when we do, produce a quality biography of Gottwald that restitutes the importance of his role as a social actor, the whole communist era will finally find its legitimate place in Czech history. Communism was no accident of history, nor something un-Czech – quite on the contrary, communism is an important episode of Czech history, one that needs to be adequately acknowledged and reckoned with. It did not appear out of the blue but inscribed itself in a specific context, and it left palpable (if unacknowledged) traces in the collective consciousness.
IČL: What do you consider to be the key points of normalization in the Czech concept and how do you define it yourself if you have a different opinion? How is the 1969-1989 period of “normalization” in the traditional sense judged from the outside, specifically in Germany, France, Italy, the UK?
MB: In my understanding, normalization is both a long slippery slope to the collapse of communism and an ideal standpoint to observe the accommodation of the population to the communist rule. It is clear from all testimonies that almost no one expected the end to come anytime soon practically until November 1989. So, we can study how people endeavored to lead their lives in this constrained environment.
Retrospectively, it has become clear that 1968 marked the beginning of the widening gap in the standard of living between Czechoslovakia and Western countries, for instance neighboring Austria. The 1970s mark a great take-off in terms of development and standard of living in Western Europe (it had happened even sooner in the US.) The trauma and consequences of the Second World War were finally put aside. People became “rich” and came to terms with their misgivings about surrendering to consumer society. This is what the normalization regime was absolutely incapable of delivering. Things did not get worse, but they improved only very slowly, and by the second half of the 1980s were frankly stagnating.
When I started my studies in 1987, I kept hearing about a new phenomenon, which I didn’t quite understand at first: globalization. Seen from today’s viewpoint, it is obvious that the communist rule was at the end of its rope and would imminently collapse. What kind of an authoritarian, communist regime could we have had in the era of the internet, social media, and mass travel? In this sense, the Polish Netflix crime series 1983 is fundamentally ahistorical. Communism in power as it was practiced simply could not have lived on in the upcoming era of mass communication. At least not European communism. The Chinese development shows that another model was possible, but the latter entailed opening the borders and allowing free enterprise and shameless individual enrichment – the European communist parties in power were much too priggish for this. Also, the Chinese regime is embedded in patriotism in a way no European regime ever was, not even the Czechoslovak.
As I hinted before, normalization society embodies the dilemma of living under a stabilized dictatorship. The normative ambiguity of survival is impressively sketched. You have a regime propped by a foreign power that is all at once a liberator and an occupying force. You have a leadership that is both discredited and working hard to regain some legitimacy and coopt a new supporting class. You have intellectual elites that feel guilty for the 1950s and proud of the 1960s. You have a population that is left to decide whether and how much they will cooperate with this regime, this “new normal”, to gain a certain level of peace and quiet in their everyday lives. In the stadium of life, normalization was an Olympic-sized pool of murky waters in which all sorts of survival strategies took place. This is my definition. For a historian studying practices of domination, this is highly fertile ground.
IČL: What are the limits and what influences are reflected in contemporary historical research on the communist movement and the activities of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and what risks must be faced by the researcher who today seeks an honest understanding and description of this historical reality?
MB: The greatest obstacle to a productive interpretation of Czech communist history is ideological anticommunism. Czech memory politics have been obsessed after 1989 with the urge to de-historicize the communist period from national history, to expel it from memory, to pretend no national and social endorsement of the past regime ever took place. The pointlessness of this attitude could not be better illustrated than by the 1993 law that vilified communism as illegal and criminal while simultaneously proclaiming the laws passed under communism as valid until further notice.26
It is not only absurd but damaging for many individuals and for the social fabric in general to act as if communism had no part in Czech history. By pre-ordaining a certain narrative that makes room only for heroes, victims, villains, and traitors, the individuality of the people living under communism, the complexity of their fates, and quite simply their identity, is denied, erased, and reshaped. Contrary to what its promoters hope, this process does not result in a shiny new nation, washed out of all its sins. Instead, it creates a society that is ill at ease, does not clearly understand why, and resorts to disillusioned silence or indignant condemnation where the past is concerned.
What Czech society should have learned from its communist experience is that to rewrite history from the top down in a vain exercise. Instead of emulating one of the worst traits of the communist power practice, it would be better inspired to build something new, to face its painful past, and to acknowledge that the communist experience is an irreducible part of Czech twentieth-century history. Only then will Czech society be able to cope with it, and to proceed to a badly needed form of national reconciliation.
How much longer can we endure this undignified post-communist period? It is high time to move on, or it will soon outlast the duration of communism itself. As Havel put it, salvation lies in taking responsibility. To take responsibility is now the order of the day, on all sides.
1 I would like to thank Marián Lóži, Jitka Pallas, Veronika Pehe, and Lubor Jílek for their critical remarks and comments on this text.
2 Jacques Rupnik, Histoire du parti communiste tchécoslovaque. Des origines à la prise du pouvoir, Paris, Presses de la FNSP, 1981, p. 78.
3 Jiří Weil, Moskva-hranice: román, Prague, Družstevní práce, 1937.
4 Ota Hromádko, Jak se kalila voda. Výbor z kriminálních příběhů a úvah, Cologne, Index, 1982.
5 Karel Bartošek, L’aveu des archives. Prague-Paris-Prague, 1948-1968, Paris, Le Seuil, 1996.
6 See Annie Kriegel, Stéphane Courtois, Eugen Fried: le grand secret du PCF, Paris, Le Seuil, 1997.
7 Milovan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962.
8 Giuliano Procacci (ed), The Cominform Minutes of the Three Conferences 1947/1948/1949, Milan, Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, 1994.
9 Rudolf Slánský, Co je komunisticka strana?, Prague, ÚV KSČ, 1945; Rudolf Slánský, Současné problémy a úkoly Komunistické strany Československa, Prague, ÚV KSČ, 1945; Rudolf Slánský, Vedoucí silou ve státě musí být pracující lid, Prague, Svoboda, 1945; Klement Gottwald, O politice KSČ v dnešní situaci, Prague, ÚV KSČ, 1945.
10 Muriel Blaive, Promárněná příležitost. Československo a rok 1956, Prague, Prostor, 2001.
11 Jiří Maňák, Proměny strany moci. Studie a dokumenty k vývoji KSČ v období 1948-1968, 1. a 2. část, Prague, ÚSD, Studijní materiály výzkumného projektu Československo 1945-1967, Svazek 8 a Svazek 9, 1995.
12 See in particular the dialogue between Vaněk and Staněk in Protest: Václav Havel, Jan Novák, The Vaněk Plays, London, Theater 61 Press, 2012.
13 See for instance the quite shameful lack of consideration for Slovak culture in Edvard Beneš, Détruisez l’Autriche-Hongrie! Le martyre de Tchéco-Slovaques à travers l’histoire, Paris, Delagrave, 1916; see also T.G. Masayrk, Les Slaves après la guerre, Prague, Orbis, 1923.
14 Václav Havel, John Keane, The Power of the Powerless, London, Routledge, 1985.
15 See John Foster Dulles, War or Peace, New York, Macmillan, 1957, p. 143.
16 Benjamin Frommer, National Cleansing: Retribution Against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
17 See “Těsnopisecká zpráva o 95. schůzi Národního shromáždění republiky Československé v Praze ve čtvrtek dne 11.března 1948”, in Těsnopisecké zprávy o schůzích Národního shromážění repzubliky Československé. Schůze 80-96 (od 29. října 1947 do 11. března 1948), Prague, 1948, p. 2-3.
18 Jiří Weil, Life With A Star, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1998 (original 1949); Jiří Weil, Mendelssohn Is on the Roof, New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991 (original 1960.)
19 Josef Škvorecký, The Cowards, London, Victor Gollancz, 1958 (original 1958.)
20 See Kateřina Tučková, Vyhnání Gerty Schnirch, Brno, Host, 2009.
21 For instance, it is all in my book on 1956, which I published in Czech in 2001: Muriel Blaive, Promarněná příležitost. Československo a rok 1956, Prague, Prostor, 2001.
22 See George R. Feiwel, New Economic Patterns in Czechoslovakia. Impact of Growth, Planning, and the Market, New York, Praeger, 1968, p. 85.
23 See Harald Welzer, Sabine Moller, Karoline Tschuggnall, "Opa war kein Nazi": Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust im Familiengedächtnis, Frankfurt am Main, Fischer, 2002.
24 See Jacques Rupnik, “1968: The Year of Two Springs”, Eurozine, 16 May 2008, https://www.eurozine.com/1968-the-year-of-two-springs/#.
25 Karel Kaplan, Dans les archives du Comité central: trente ans de secrets du Bloc soviétique, Paris, Albin Michel, 1978, p. 95-96. See also Muriel Blaive, “The Reform Communist Interpretation of the Stalinist Period in Czech Historiography and Its Legacy”, East European Politics & Societies, forthcoming, 2021.