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democracy, communism, Czechoslovakia, politics, Brezhnev Doctrine


Eastern European Studies | European History | Political History | Political Science | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies


The Czechoslovak experiment of 1968 was an inspiring and yet tragic event. For seven months, the Czech people labored to bring democracy to a nation which for twenty years had known only tyranny. Under the guidance of an innovative Communist party headed by Alexander Dubcek, Czechoslovakia witnessed the legalization of freedom and the death of past repressive practives. The brief period of democratization began with the fall of the Stalinist dictator Antonin Novotny, and ended with the Soviet-led invasion of August 20. In analyzing the Czechoslovak experiment, this study has a two-fold objective. First, this dissertation focuses upon the development and implementation of democratized Communism in Czechoslovakia. To fulfill this objective, the first three chapters examine in detail the introduction and meaning of the reform program offered by the Dubcek regime. Chapter One discusses the circumstances which led to the publication of the government's Action Program on April 5. The chapter charts the purge movement which toppled Novotny and his followers from influential government and party positions--a step necessary for the implementation of reform. Chapter Two explores the continuation of Dubcek's democratization program in the face of mounting pressure from forces aligned politically on the left and right. The Dubcek regime discovered that it occupied a delicate center position between the demands of Moscow and her sympathizers, and the demands of the advocates of instant democracy in Czechoslovakia. Chapter Three relates the Czech government's decision to stand solidly behind democratization, even if ti meant open defiance of the Soviet Union.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science


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