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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Questioning of communism : a study of conflict in Czechoslovakia in 1968 Cicvak, Elias


The purpose of this thesis is to study the conflict in Czechoslovakia in 1968 which developed through different stages of the questioning of Communism since the Communist takeover in 1948. The term "Questioning of Communism" refers to the examination of the basic principles and practices of Communism on which the Communist Party operates. The principles of Communism include such principles as "democratic centralism", the leading role of the Communist Party, the monopoly of power, the "nationality question", centralized planning, political bureaucracy in the society, etc. This study deals with the two areas of conflict: outside the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and inside the party. Outside the party, conflict erupted between the social groups (such as the economists, the Slovaks, the students, the intellectuals and the non-Communist political parties) and the party. Conflict within the party erupted between the conservatives and the liberals and resulted in the change in the leadership in the party in 1968. This thesis concentrates mostly on the causes of conflict and its roots prior to 1968, and on the accommodation of conflict by the Communist Party in 1968. Prior to 1968, conflict was not accommodated by the party. Rather, the participants in conflict were suppressed by the Communist Party. An analysis of conflict in Czechoslovakia in 1968 confirms that Czechoslovakia does not conform to the pattern of violent conflict in Communist states illustrated by the experience of East Germany, Poland and Hungary. A new pattern of accommodation of conflict by the Communist Party introduced in Czechoslovakia in 1968 was due to the liberal democratic policies of the Communist Party leadership under Alexander Dubcek. However, despite the successful domestic policies of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia did not succeed in her democratic experiment because she neglected her foreign policy with the Soviet Union.

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