Date of Award
Master of Science
Like many of the Soviet satellite countries in 1989, the wake of the Velvet Revolution brought forth a long awaited breath of freedom for the people of Czechoslovakia. A sense of euphoria imbued every moment leading up to November 24, the day Alexander Dubcek returned from political exile, and met with Vaclav Havel, leader of the new opposition party, the Civic Forum, to address nearly 250,000 people in Wenceslas square chanting Dubcek's name. Dubcek was elated to relate to the crowd that Socialism with a human face, which he created in 1968, was once again alive and well. He then handed over the reigns to Havel as he urged support for the new Civic Forum, by claiming that it now truly represented the people of Czechoslovakia. However, something was soon to be lost in the excitement of the moment, something that had been a vitally important aspect of the movements that fueled the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Soon, everyone would forget about "Socialism with a human face". The Czechoslovak Socialist movement seemingly got what it wanted: an end to authoritarian Communism in Czechoslovakia. At the same time, there is really nothing Socialist about today's Czech Republic. A somewhat prevalent and logical theory is that today's Czech Republic is exactly what the Czechoslovak people had always wanted, and that "Socialism with a human face", was in reality a facade for the Capitalist, liberal democracy that was in fact being sought after, but unattainable under the prevailing Soviet influences that still had a strong hold of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Yet, in an analysis of the Czech Socialist movement that examines the political writings, speeches, and policies of Dubcek, Havel and Klaus, the three most prominent Czech political figures of this time period, it becomes apparent that this simply cannot be the case. This thesis provides an analysis of the literature, something the literature currently seems to be devoid of, to demonstrate that there was an undeniable deviation from the Socialist ideologies that had been the prevailing, mainstream political ideologies of Czechoslovakia, beginning most abruptly and transparently in 1989 with the Fall of Communism.
Michael L. Smith
Smith, Michael L., "Dubcek, Havel and Klaus : transformations in political ideologies and the disappearance of Czech Socialism" (2006). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 19060.