Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

   Established in 1921, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Èeskoslovenská—KSÈ) ruled over the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia from its inception in 1948. Staunch proponents of MarxismLeninism, the KSÈ advocated democratic centralism and under Stalinist leader Klement Gottwald developed into a carbon copy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The KSÈ built for itself a political monopoly and obliterated the separation between party and state, meaning its ideas became governmental policies. However, reformist tendencies within the party persisted, and the leadership of Alexander Dubcek brought economic and civil reforms as embodied in the 1968 Prague Spring and Dubcek’s “socialism with a human face.” The crushing of the Prague Spring by the Red Army curtailed this reformism and Dubcek’s 1969 successor, Gustáv Husák, took the party through a period of “normalization” in which reforms were diluted and hardliners within the KSÈ leadership were able to assert their hostility toward tolerance of dissent. Opposition groups, though, were able to continue their activities, and by 1989 the ground swell of popular discord made the KSÈ government’s position untenable. Though it continued as a party after the “Velvet Revolution” of that year, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in December 1992 spelt the end of the KSÈ. The party split into two successor organizations, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia in the Czech Republic, and the Party of the Democratic Left in Slovakia.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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