PDF | Ladislav Fuks, "Spalovač mrtvol" | ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Unreliable narration in fiction by Ladislav Fuks | The (), "Variace pro temnou strunu" () and "Spalovac mrtvol" (). The Cremator (Czech: Spalovač mrtvol) is a Czechoslovak horror comedy/ drama film . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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Spalovač mrtvol. První rozhlasová dramatizace slavného románu Ladislava Fukse z roku Hra o tom, jak se z obyčejného, spořádaně žijícího člověka. Movie Analysis: Spalovač mrtvol (eng. The Cremator) - Download as Word Doc . doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. Spalovač mrtvoli is. First published as Spalovač mrtvol, by Československı spisovatel,. Prague, All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a.
This was now non-negotiable and it inexorably pulled local communist leaders away from the people they led at the very time that their authority strengthened, creating a perversely inverse and unsustainable relationship between power and popular legitimacy. The Black Book of Communism: Rowman and Littlefield, , And to acquiesce in the former was to acquiesce in the latter. This could make relatively small adjustments within the satellites a cause of significant Soviet alarm and attention. But this is not always the case.
The Hogart Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, His religious inspiration comes from the Book of Tibet, which Mr. Kopfrkingl praises through the whole movie. Kopfrkingl psychical stated corresponds with the environment.
At the beginning he is well established and adjust member of civilised society. His extensive interest of death is expressed through his work as a cremator and through his unusual but acceptable artistic taste. He manages to satisfy his extraordinary tension of death drive in socially acceptable way. As Freud writs every man has some primary drives that are part of him as natural being.
With the development of human society this drives gained bad reputation and to satisfy them directly it started to be morally unacceptable. Hence man eventually had to adjust his behavior to new social conditions, what also changed his psychical state. Freud recognizes two sources of changes: Internal reasons are based on eroticism and man's need for love. By the value of being loved we learn how to give up direct satisfaction of primary tensions. Through the processes of inhibition, channelization towards other goals, reaction formations, etc.
This is also the source of bad conscience, which is a social anxiety, and not some profane trait that judge our behavior. Freud fined it interested that the children with especial strong bad tensions in their childhood usually grow in exceptionally good adults. On the other hand external reasons do not have such profound effect.
They are results of social constrains and not love relations , where one do not transform his unacceptable tensions, but only gives up to satisfy them, to be socially accepted. But this is not always the case.
We usually put great trust in others and judge their good act as results of his sincere internal positive motives, and not a result of strong external restrictions. Their real psychical tensions will only be exposed in extraordinary circumstance. Especially in utilitarian societies external appeal satisfies the social demand for proper behaviors. By Freud opinion that was exactly the type of European societies at the beginning of 20th century.
They worked on the base of sanctions for socially unaccepted acts and in lesser degree on love premiums. In the same way is depictured society in the movie. In the movie the social changes are triggered by German occupation of Czechoslovakia. The new social pressures to adjust Nazi demands also change Mr.
He fall under the influence of his Nazi friend and under Nazi ideology. The first explanation of this change could be that Mr. By Freud the general social situation do not leads to pathological states in this type of people, but they often have symptoms of characteristics deformations and are under permanent pressure.
The change in social demands that raise the gap between their actual behavior and the demands of their drives could leads to more severe reaction effects in the form of neurological sickness. On the other hands, they use any social changes offered to satisfy the inhibited drives. Out of this three indicators Mr.
Kopfrkingl fall only under the last one. He was well integrated in previews social system and he did not show any indication of pressure. There was also no indication of potential neurological sickness. Thus Mr. Kopfrkingl change of behaviour does not roots in the change of his psychical state from condition of permanent pressure of drives to the new conditions of satisfaction.
His change of behaviour roots in different psychological phenomena. Freud explains how sometimes human can fall back to more primary psychical stages, although they have already developed more sophisticated psychical structures. This is the consequence of specifics of psychical development. He compares it 8 Ibid. When a village grows into a city, the village gets lost in the city. All that remains are only shadows of the village, while the substance is lost. On the other hand in the psychical development every primary state remains in coexistence with newer one.
The primary stage usually remains unexposed when the new forms are developed. They burst out only in specific social conditions. This reengagement of primary drives could be only temporal, or it could permanently destroy latter developed stages.
Kopfrkingl behaviour much better. His deeply rooted excessive death drive finds more direct way to satisfy itself in the new social conditions that Nazi ideology broth.
The need of new regime to eliminate the unwelcomed part of new society is a social condition that opens up the more direct satisfaction of primitive drive. The consequences of this were profound for the Hungarian body politic not only until , but to this day. However, the consequences were also not limited to Hungary.
For his Soviet successors as much as for Stalin, political conditions in Central and Eastern Europe were manipulated in order to buttress and maintain Soviet power; not the other way around.
Consistently, Soviet leaders felt threatened by perceived infidelities to their political parameters, ideological essentials, and foreign policy alignment. This could make relatively small adjustments within the satellites a cause of significant Soviet alarm and attention. It does not presume or necessitate a lack of ideological sincerity in Soviet leadership. Nor does it mitigate the role that ideological constructions played in prompting Soviet leaders to act when and how they did.
That uniformity was not just a matter of bilateral relations between the Soviet Union and individual satellites, but was also a multilateral one. The communist states of Europe were woven together by their Soviet sponsors in both economic and political dependence.
Just as, economically, each was forced to rely on the production of the others, so too, politically, were the regimes supposed to provide mutual pragmatic justification and ideological legitimacy. This made Soviet-dominated Europe more akin to a chain of weak-links than a conventional empire.
In tying the fate of these disparate states together for the sake of its own direction of the whole, the Soviet Union created another level of vulnerability.
As the role that reform in Poland played in igniting the Hungarian uprising demonstrates, change in one satellite state affected the others in ways that both Soviet and satellite leaders could not control. After , the leaders of communist satellites were politically absorbed with the attempt to both restore their legitimacy and keep power for the Party, while selectively exposing the ways in which it had attained, sustained, and used it.
This was the knot that the Hungarian communists had proven ultimately unable to tie before and in But particularly after , this conundrum was further complicated by the need for communist leaders to also respond to and protect themselves against the ways in which their fellow satellite leaders dealt with it.
Stalinist Purges in Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia had, in many ways, a paradoxical place in the post-War Soviet sphere. Its relatively advanced economy and long-established industrial base made it both a more ideologically natural seat of communist power and an outlier in a bloc full of countries only introduced to large-scale industrial development by the communist takeover.
Just as the poisoned legacy of Stalinism meant that Hungarian popular legitimacy could not be gained through the retention of one-party domination, communist domination in Hungary could not be maintained without Soviet support. The transition to complete communist control in Czechoslovakia had been achieved in relatively unequivocal fashion during the first half of All these people are at liberty, they will protest vehemently about the things said in court and will try to undermine the credibility of the charges.
As pressure was also being applied by the Poles, Gottwald relented and requested that Stalin send him Soviet advisers to assist in a renewed campaign against alleged internal conspirators. With the Rajk trial underway in Budapest and their work there done, Komarov and Likhachev answered the call and arrived in Prague at the end of September In the following two years, prominent arrests focused on Party figures who had, during the War, either been in exile in London or fought in the Slovak Uprising against the Nazis and the fascist Slovak government.
It was overtly connected to all the other show trials that had taken place already across the Soviet sphere.
Princeton, , Only three received the relative leniency of life imprisonment: Those condemned to die were executed in Prague in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday December 3. Stalinism, in this sense, outlived Stalin longer in Czechoslovakia than anywhere else in the Soviet sphere, including the Soviet Union itself. In its post- Communist-takeover constitution of , Czechoslovakia had in form retained many elements of its pre-War parliamentary and liberal system.
And, as we have seen, Gottwald had been unusually reticent about launching into constructed cases against Party loyalists. Hutchinson, , Karel Kovanda London: IB Tauris, The executed were cremated and their ashes scattered. Now other former leaders, long incarcerated, learned their fate: Many explanations have been suggested for this anomaly.
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression Cambridge: Harvard University Press, , There was nowhere to turn in Czechoslovakia for leading Communists who were not implicated in the purges, dead, or condemned in prison.
There were some relaxations in economic policy, beginning in the autumn of , but they were peripheral changes that brought no lasting shift in strategy or emphasis. However, despite being a significant first step for the Party, acknowledging that there were recent wrongs to be addressed, it was mostly a case-study in obfuscation and whitewashing.
Of those re-investigations, only fifty resulted in secretive exonerations. But was not the beginning of a renewed Stalinist modus vivendi in Czechoslovakia, despite initial signals to the contrary.
The George Washington University: As in pre Hungary, official positions had both been partially discredited and incoherently and incompletely replaced. In them typical and general problems are condensed and signalled. They are the sensitive nerve and the cornerstone of an era, which is unrepeatedly unique yet embraces everything. Later and more slowly than elsewhere, yet just as meaningfully, the Skilling, The five variables we employed to understand the Hungarian process remain helpful: What procedures were launched to investigate the past?
Who did the investigating? Who controlled and pressurized the investigators? What kind and level of rehabilitation was offered to those who were declared retroactively or posthumously innocent of the charges by which they were condemned?
Which old or new fabrications were the exonerated left with in order to, in some way, justify the original conclusions? And, perhaps most crucially of all, who was informed about these processes and their conclusions? The lowest level of revision is the bare and unheralded release of political prisoners before the expiration of their sentence. Such was the case of the Slovak so-called bourgeois- nationalists condemned in But this was done with no publicity, exoneration, or restoration.
In May of , 5, political prisoners were likewise conditionally released to coincide with the fifteenth anniversary of liberation. But amnesty conveys the power of the one granting mercy and contains no necessary connotation of error on the part of the powerful. Significant external pressure in favour of continued revision was provided by Khrushchev in October At the 22nd Soviet Party Congress, the Soviet leader aggressively, and this time publicly, returned to his criticisms of Stalinism and Stalin.
The goal of communist historical revisionism, either initially or ultimately, was often forgetfulness; the ideological need to remove the memory of a person, an event, or an era from the popular, academic, and political consciousness. So it was on a grand scale with Stalin; a figure who had been mythologized into abstraction over decades of propaganda. But Stalin had been present and pivotal in too many of the developments that Khrushchev had to stand upon to permit an unreservedly negative view of the late dictator.
But even in the former case, the fact that Khrushchev needed to return publicly to the issue of Stalin, eight years after his death, demonstrated the impossibility of driving his person, legacy, or deeds into the oblivion of forgetfulness where only the truly vanquished go.
Condemnation proves the ongoing salience and importance of the one condemned. He was speaking specifically of his rivals Malenkov, Molotov, and Kaganovich, against whom he had triumphed in June , when they had tried to oust him from the leadership. You cannot bring back the dead now, but the true facts must be recorded in the history of the Party. As so often is the case, it started with symbolism. Volume I New York: Crosscurrents, , This was not an absurd idea; after all, Khrushchev also had Stalin-era complicities that he had submerged in order to play the role of Leninist purist in the post-Stalin reforms.
The impression was the worst of both worlds — a weak intransigence. It was a group that was relatively high-level without being compromised. Both were typical of the guilty innocence that that had so far been the extent of the succour offered by the Party to its own victims. Old stories imposed as fact upon the people at the cost of lives and livelihoods were declared false, and the recent past disappeared further into a fog of contradiction and disillusion.
What could be constructed in its place? Was real resolution and redress possible? The report had been seen and discussed at the highest levels, but the crucial questions remained: How much of the report would be disseminated and to whom?
What would be the consequences of the report for the victims mentioned? Would this signal a continuation of the process for the many victims, particularly non-communists, whose fate had not yet been reviewed? What would be the consequence for those who were exposed as perpetrators of the injustices? And, lastly, what did all this portend for the future direction and reform of the party and state? The interplay between revelation, retribution, and rehabilitation was unpredictable and surprising — as was the contingent revision of the history of the recent past to which it all amounted.
Sometimes revelation led to retribution and rehabilitation, but the reverse also occurred.
And beyond vague statements, the details of the Kolder Commission were kept from the public; even Party insiders were only gradually shown a small proportion of the findings. Reform-minded, or just plain curious, communists were left looking for revelations and rehabilitations to match the first retributions, as well as for wider retribution. It was historical judgement in search of history; a pregnant situation. Who else was to blame and how; and why had fraudulently charged men and women, whose prior condemnations had been trumpeted, still not been exonerated?
Official silence was finally confronted. Especially since the new Czechoslovak constitution of , Slovak autonomy within the republic had been curtailed. Most historians have labelled the Kolder report as another limited exercise in damage control. There is some truth in that. The ongoing importance of rehabilitation and historical revision up to and during the Prague Spring demonstrates that Kolder had left undone much of what reformers wanted achieved in this area.
Nevertheless, in August the revelations unpicked the tangled web of to far more than had been openly done before, cutting ground from under the regime that it would never fully regain. There were still caveats, however. That was early Ibid. He made tentative but definite moves toward economic, social, and cultural reform, starting in , but seeking to limit with one hand what he was permitting with the other. Khrushchev had been removed as Soviet leader, in an October power- play engineered by Suslov, and replaced with the conservative Leonid Brezhnev.
Central European University Press, , And the ongoing revision of the history of the recent past, with all that this entailed, was at the heart of this push.
He had barely avoided Soviet intervention in dramatic days of meetings with Khrushchev in October There is no other way to renew confidence between the society and the Party. His article was not merely a statement of intent and principle; it brought the public into the moral and political debates behind the leadership struggle that had until then been largely behind-the-scenes.
I am referring to a series of tasks that should have been implemented a long time ago, as well as to topical and pressing matters in the economic and social system.
This means we must do whatever is necessary to rehabilitate communists and other citizens who were unjustly sentenced in political trials so that we, as communists, can look at ourselves in the face without shame. We must face the truth, as well as our historical legacy — especially the progressive traditions of the resistance struggle — and we must grant all our citizens whatever they are entitled to.
This was a stirring a call to historical revision as a cathartic sine qua non of genuine reform. And the issue of rehabilitation and historical revision would, from now on, be one that rebounded between the reformers attempting to change the Party and state from within and those discussing and urging from without. March, was the month, as we shall see, in which demands and programs of reform in Czechoslovakia gained the momentum and energy of a movement.
The commission would labour through the rest of the Prague Spring, its final report indefinitely delayed domestically by the August invasion. The rehabilitation law, meanwhile, made its way rapidly through the legal process, was ratified by parliament, and came into force on August 1.
In the resulting free-for-all, there was new attention on punishment for those who had committed the injustices that no-one tried anymore to deny. It was no longer possible for people to be distracted with the sleight of hand insinuating that the dead had only the dead to blame. For once, this external process mirrored, rather than weakly shadowed, the internal, official one. The ongoing role that rehabilitation and historical revision played in the Prague Spring was one of the matters that drew the critical attention of the Soviet Union.
It was not that Brezhnev sought to create a neo-Stalinist regime; the point was that Brezhnev championed and represented a retreat from the unpredictability and political instability that de-Stalinization had caused within the Soviet Union. He had a conservative distaste for anything that disrupted the orderly and unhindered rule of the Party hierarchy. This made him conventionally in communist terms suspicious of any independent political expression, leaving Czechoslovak reformers always, to an extent, out on a political limb during the Prague Spring.
This was, of course, an entirely logical concern that stemmed from the Soviet experience. Further obfuscation and half-baked obscurantism would be worse than the clean break with the recent past that a thorough reckoning could offer. With these perspective-driven arguments repeated ad nauseam, the two sets of leaders increasingly talked past each other as the spring turned to summer.
At the Czechoslovak-Soviet summit of May 4 and 5, Brezhnev gave voice to his concerns about rehabilitation. Lexington, But as the scope, urgency, and activity of the Prague Spring grew and, as we have seen, drew attention and concern from abroad, the historical context in which it was understood could likewise not remain purely domestic.
With the Czechoslovak situation in flux, there was a need for people on every side of the issue, at home and abroad, to place it in a context which defined it, explained it, and had the potential to shape it. How and why this happened will direct the remainder of our attention in this essay. Additionally, mainly by way of contrast, we will observe examples from non-state voices within the Prague Spring and the other leaders of Warsaw Pact communist states.
To do this we will draw upon records of meetings between these relevant leaders during this period, as well as internal discussions within these states and other public policy positions expressed in the press. As we explore, our analysis will be divided into two main chronological periods. The first period begins in March, when events in Czechoslovakia rose to the top of the Soviet Politburo agenda , and ends in June, while the second period takes us through those fraught July and August days up to and briefly beyond the invasion itself.
As we saw earlier in this study, definitions and categories matter because, to a large extent, they determine and justify how and why people and institutions behave as they do. Usually both are occurring, with definition fuelling determination strengthening definition. At every step in the process, we will see how these players, schooled by both general European and specific communist experience, connected the meanings they accorded to history with the definitions they applied to the present.
And, unsurprisingly, just as the definitions of the Ibid. March to June: Avoidance, Contrast, and Warning From March to June, the use of as an historical analogy and comparison with contemporary events in Czechoslovakia reflected the nearly unanimous desire among the relevant parties to avoid its repetition. Of course, there was not the same unanimity about what a repetition of would most saliently entail.
These differences did not always mean a different interpretation of the events—although different interpretations were relevantly apparent. But across the differences, we can observe a tendency to employ as a sort of case-study pointing to what must be avoided and negatively indicating how it could be avoided.
Understandably, the most salient feature of for Czechoslovak leaders was often the Soviet military intervention that brought the uprising to an end. This was a worst-case scenario and, as we shall see, frequently an inconceivable one that was ultimately out of their hands. Therefore, Czechoslovak leaders tended to employ references to Hungary in as a way of demonstrating its stark difference to the contemporary Czechoslovak situation, in order to prove to the Soviets and others that outside hostility and intervention was both unnecessary and inappropriate.
For Soviet leaders, the most salient aspect of was what they viewed as the Hungarian trigger of, in the circumstances, an inevitable Soviet intervention — the loss of Party power and the emergence of a supposedly violent, anti-Soviet, and organized counter-revolution.
As one can see immediately, there is a key foundational difference in how the Soviet and Czechoslovak comparisons rest on the historical events. In the Czechoslovak usage, neither a positive or negative view of the Hungarian events is either necessary or necessarily implied; it is enough to demonstrate divergence.
However, the Soviet use of is, for obvious reasons, predicated on a deeply negative understanding of the initial Hungarian part in those events. This would not have mattered if the Soviet leaders had agreed with their Czechoslovak counterparts and seen no parallels.
But the Soviets consistently saw things differently. Therefore, in this period, Soviet leaders employed what they saw as parallels between and as warnings. Warnings that come from the senior to the junior partner in a relationship obviously carry urgency and intent. But why only warnings and not ultimatums or threats?
In both internal discussions and meetings with Czechoslovak leaders between March and June, Brezhnev and others made connections with in order to make the case that counter- revolutionary forces were active, counter-revolution itself was being prepared, and counter- revolution was in danger of breaking out.
But since most Soviet leaders were also keen to avoid a Soviet military intervention at this stage, this case and these connections were mostly left unsaid in public statements. Between March and June, therefore, for both Czechoslovak and Soviet leaders, comparisons with were designed to persuade the other. By doing this, they urged caution and restraint on both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. This was a notable position because the leaders of Bulgaria, the GDR East Germany , and Poland proved to be the most uncompromising and unwavering external forces in both their negative assessment of the Prague Spring.
Warnings and History: Soviets from March to June In our own time, we are familiar with the politically-minded routinely dressing up their selectively drawn conclusions about the past and presenting them as objective restraints or imperatives on the present. It should be no surprise to see the Soviet leadership doing the same in regard to a situation in Czechoslovakia that it had come, by March, to regard as a crisis.
One was the Polish crisis that just preceded the events in Hungary, but did not end in either escalating domestic disturbance or Soviet military intervention. The violence that many associated with the Hungarian uprising had no parallel in the Prague Spring and, therefore, the Polish crisis could sometimes be utilized as an alternative and pacifying comparison.
University of California Press, , Therefore, Yugoslavia could be used as an example of a country which had pursued its own path without abandoning socialism or embracing the West. Nevertheless, avoiding a repeat of the Yugoslav excommunication, meant, for Soviet leaders, keeping Czechoslovakia firmly within the Soviet sphere, not acquiescing tamely in its autonomous development.
Principally, although the post-War European settlement was nowhere near as tenuous as it still had been in , the Soviet leadership was focused with increasing concern on West Germany. Across the satellites, economic malaise had caused communist leaders to look to the booming West German economy as a salvific economic partner. Romania had already bucked Warsaw Pact solidarity in by restoring diplomatic relations and establishing economic connections with West Germany; in , both Hungary and Czechoslovakia were looking for ways to follow suit.
And this was despite the fact that Czechoslovakia was the only Warsaw Pact country other than Romania since in which Soviet troops were not stationed. This meant that any concern about Czechoslovakia within the Soviet leadership would be translated into European security fears more readily than concern about most other satellite states. Those who embraced intervention during the Prague Spring, rather than seeking to avoid it, could leverage this connection effectively in advocating for and engineering their preference.
Roper, Romania: The Unfinished Revolution Amsterdam: Harwood, , And all of this contextual foundation undergirding the Soviet response to the Prague Spring was also mediated through the individual experience and structural role of different leaders. While we can talk of a standard Soviet line represented by Brezhnev, even within the Politburo there were those whose quick leap to pugnacity foreshadowed the July and August line.
Within the Politburo and in conversation with other communist states, it was a warning from history. With Romanian objections to the NPT noted but ignored, the other six delegations met without the Romanians on March 7 to formulate a joint declaration.
The absence of the dissenting would be a feature of bloc meetings about Czechoslovakia over the coming months. Despite being a rare alternative voice on security matters within the bloc, Romania would not play a significant role in the crisis.
Romania was in some Dawisha, However, Albania had refused to participate in Warsaw Pact meetings since and was a de facto non-member by this time. In fact, it was this decisive loosening of censorship in Czechoslovakia that grasped the attention of the Soviets in the fortnight after Sofia.
From this point on, they would often both metaphorically and literally view developments in Prague through the effusions of expression that followed in the Czechoslovak media. The history of censorship in communist Czechoslovakia was already an idiosyncratic one.
For most of the communist period, censorship had been a de facto, rather than de jure, part of Czechoslovak life. In this context, the introduction of a press law in was a contradictory development. On the one hand, it did not alter the self-censorship that party-state editorial patronage produced, while institutionalizing censorship under the remit of a new Central Publication Board that was placed within the jurisdiction of the feared Interior Ministry.
On the other hand, the letter of the law only authorized the prohibition of state security secrets a category subject to arbitrary enlargement and permitted flexibility over the publication of other matters. Although he did not elaborate, for the moment, on the connection and the parallels he had in mind, the message was clear enough; this was a serious situation requiring Soviet attention. Junctures and Disjunctures in 19th and 20th Centuries Philadelphia: Benjamins, , 99; Kenneth N.
Skoug, Jr. An American Embassy Perspective Westport: Document on Czechoslovak Communism in Crisis Cambridge: Press, , 54; Golan, However, in the coming months, the Soviets would frequently assert both.
These combined warnings of both already being repeated and imminently to be repeated reflected the vagaries and contradictions at the heart of the communist concept which defined, for the Soviets, what was and what could not be allowed to be: As discussed earlier in the essay, counter-revolution was, in communist discourse, simultaneously an objective force, a cause that could be served, and an event. And Andropov had the ear of the Politburo on both the analogy and its application.
Now, as KGB Chairman, he was privy to detailed reports from Czechoslovakia courtesy of his many agents in the field. But his actions in had been duplicitous, to say the least. And in , he was able to both serve as a gatekeeper of information about Czechoslovakia that reached his colleagues on the Politburo, as well as a manufacturer of evidence through his illegal agents.
More of that later, but, for the time being, more specificity was needed to put meat on the bones of the warning to Czechoslovakia. The slippery conceptual flexibility of counter-revolution was not enough to make the case. The actual events of and , past and present, perceived and remembered, could not be connected and equated without care and the risk of contradiction. Again, there is ambiguity here.
But while Andropov was indicating that the situation was still preparatory in nature, his analogy emphasized a portentously familiar momentum. Mark Stolarik, ed. Bolchazy-Carducci, , 20; Prozumenshchikov, Petro Shelest, the General Secretary of the Party in Ukraine, presented his fellow Politburo members with a memorandum from the Secretary of the Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia, which bordered Czechoslovakia, concerning a meeting with the First Secretary of the neighbouring eastern Slovak region.
The Czechoslovak comrades believe that full democracy requires the elimination of any kind of censorship, the ending of instructions and orders from above to the radio, press, and television, the elimination of judicial proceedings and repression against citizens for their political views and statements, and the rehabilitation of all those who were oppressed … the StB [secret police] organs will be reduced to a minimum and the regular police will be expanded.
Citizens will be permitted to leave the country, either permanently or temporarily, without any sort of restrictions; and the electrified fence along the border with [West Germany] will be removed. It was in this context that the leaders of six Warsaw Pact states Romania was not invited gathered in Dresden two days later.
This turned into a denunciation of the actions of the entire party, of all [its] achievements and of all its work in the past 20 to 25 years … Everything is denounced. Dissent in Czechoslovakia, Brezhnev insisted, endangered Soviet security.
It was a wide-ranging attack, brusquely delivered, but its function was, nevertheless, warning. But one needs the desire, the willpower and also the courage in order to implement the necessary actions. It is true that the communique set a mood which made it indirectly clear that developments in Czechoslovakia were of critical importance. Before they took place, the Soviet commander-in-chief of Warsaw Pact forces, Marshal Ivan Yakubovskii, visited Prague and requested that Pact military exercises in Czechoslovakia, which had been planned for September, be brought forward to June.
In contrast with the contrived formality of years past, the festivities had featured warm and spontaneous support for the new reform orientation of party and government. First, Brezhnev was adamant that the existence and nature of anti-communist and anti-Soviet activity in Czechoslovakia was, in and of itself, proof that a single, Western-supported manipulator was behind it all.
Second, despite having no actual evidence to support his suppositions, he used them to transition into his warning from history. These Western supporters of Czechoslovak counter-revolutionaries, Brezhnev explained, must be warning them to take care not to provoke Soviet intervention, as had happened in Hungary.
This was a fascinating line of argument, which we will witness taking centre stage later in the year. But he also projects that idea onto the intentions of hypothetical covert Western manipulators and speculates that their awareness of Soviet red lines demonstrated in could enable them to avoid the triggers of Soviet intervention while still achieving an insidious counter-revolution.
Again this was a warning about what would inevitably occur if what was being allowed to happen continued. Composed of former political prisoners, it was focused on this issue which, as we said earlier, remained an important rallying point for criticism and dissent. As we saw earlier, this incident had been the prime piece of evidence utilized within Hungary in the aftermath of the uprising to prove that it had been a bloody and murderous counter-revolution.
They began with the counter-intelligence officers and then began to hunt for the leaders of the Hungarian Communist Party … who were the most revolutionary and devoted to the cause of the Revolution.
Learning from the Socialist Experiment Alresford: London, , E-book. Citizen Intellectuals and Philosopher Kings Budapest: Basic, , There was an additional attempted victim in this plot: Rainer and Katalin Somlai, eds. Reactions and Repercussions Budapest: The Institute for the History of the Revolution, , And where was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, why did it not fulfil its internationalist duty?
But that would miss the point of the warning. The Soviet Party would do its duty and intervene, Brezhnev is hinting, before any such nightmare scenario could take place. The primary consequence that Brezhnev is urging the Czechoslovaks to avoid, by clamping down on dissent, is not the mass murder of Communists, but Soviet intervention. For Brezhnev, insisting upon parallels between and was a way of indicating the inevitable denouement of such a repetition - if there was no retrieval of control and course correction in Prague.
It is clear that the Soviet leadership was intent on communicating both its willingness to intervene and the ways for Czechoslovak leaders to ensure that such intervention would be unnecessary. But in May, the Soviets also stepped up their efforts to add credibility to this warning. Adding credibility to the warning meant, primarily, flexing the military muscles of the Soviet- led Warsaw Pact, and this was the main purpose of moving the Warsaw Pact military manoeuvres in Czechoslovakia to the early summer.
Czechoslovak Politics, Cambridge: Meanwhile, between May 10 and 23, 80, Soviet and Polish troops and tanks were utilized in military manoeuvres near the Czechoslovak border in the south of Poland. After the exercises were complete, the assembled forces remained in situ. And Brezhnev and other members of the Politburo clearly saw parallels with the Hungarian past in the Czechoslovak present— particularly, they assessed, in the kind of open expression of dissent and criticism of the Party that had preceded the actual uprising in This situation, the Soviet leaders insisted, adding an additional security dimension, must be the result of both foreign manipulation and well-organized subversion.
The Soviet leadership believed that this situation urgently necessitated a re-assertion of Party control in Czechoslovakia. As the Soviet led Warsaw Pact military preparations suggested, the invasion of could be emulated in , if necessary. But how did the recipients receive this warning? Denying the Parallels: Czechoslovak Leaders It seems obvious to say it, but, during the Prague Spring, the leaders of Czechoslovakia were mostly thinking about Czechoslovakia.
Their plans and policies were emerging out of an assessment, right or wrong, of the historical, political, social, moral, and economic needs and demands of both the Czech and Slovak nations and the Czechoslovak state.
And naturally, therefore, guiding parallels and analogies were gleaned from the domestic past. Perhaps just as obviously and understandably, no other nation looked at the Prague Spring in this way. When confronted with the comparison, they made a defensive contrast that emphasised the major differences between the two situations.
As intimated earlier, the Soviet sphere in Dawisha, And nothing demonstrated this more than the nervousness that often gripped satellite leaders at signs of reform or dissent in a neighbouring communist state.
This was a fear based on experience, not paranoia. Demands for reform spread, and bloc leaders, already caught between the competing demands of domestic legitimacy and external security, knew it.
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