The ‘Anti-Prague Spring’: Neo-Stalinist and Ultra-Leftist Extremism in Czechoslovakia, 1968–70
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McDermott and Sommer’s chapter focuses on an important, but under-researched controversy in the history of the Prague Spring: the beliefs, mentalities and impact of the ultra-reactionary ‘neo-Stalinists’ in the Czechoslovak Communist Party. Conventional wisdom has it that the party and nation stood solidly behind Dubček’s reforms, aside from a tiny band of ‘traitors’. The authors suggest that while the bulk of party activists broadly supported the ‘renewal process’, there was a tenacious core of sectarians vocally promoting the thesis that ‘counter-revolution’ was stalking Czechoslovakia and, crucially, such ideas influenced large swathes of regional officials, party members and industrial workers. McDermott and Sommer conclude that these diffuse anti-reformist undercurrents were mobilised after the invasion to affect the relatively smooth transition from the Prague Spring to ‘normalisation’.
KeywordsCzechoslovak Politics Fraternal Assistance Political Cabinet Warsaw Pact Invasion Social Fascists
We wish to thank Jitka Bílková, Pavel Kobera, Božena Vlčková, Jitka Vondrová and especially Jiří Hoppe for their kind assistance in locating archival sources for this chapter.