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20. století

February 1948

Communist revolution
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February 1948 is an unfortunate milestone in the history of the Czech Republic because during that month the Communist Party came into power in post-war Czechoslovakia. The result was the beginning of the communist totalitarian regime.
The communists had prepared long in order to take power and the post-war situation helped them to accomplish their goal. Shortly after World War II, the "KSČ" (Communist Party of Czechoslovakia) had a significant increase in its membership base, members joined because of the party's popularity and its post-war reputation. In addition, people with various backgrounds were joining the party. The party achieved its first victory in 1946, when the chairperson of KSČ, Klement Gottwald, became the prime minister of Czechoslovakia. The Communists also took advantage of the fact that President Beneš was in poor health.
The opposition was under control and the normal course of elections was eliminated. The February 1948 preambles started quickly culminating in the February 13th 1948 government crisis. The Communists controlled strategic posts in the government administration and in the security forces. They took immediate advantage of it using this to

apply pressure on their political ennemy.Hence, the non-Communist ministers in the government resigned assessing this change as an abuse of government power. They assumed that President Beneš would not accept their resignation and would call for early elections. However, things turned out differently.
On February 24th, a workers general strike was ordered, which was organized by the Communists. The strike forced the National-Socialist Party to cooperate with the Communists. In addition, the People’s Militia, which was a paramilitary unit of the Communist Party was used. On February 25th, President Beneš accepted the resignation of the ministers and agreed to appoint a government following Klement Gottwald´s proposals. Then, a sad event followed. On March 10th, under unclear circumstances, Jan Masaryk died, the last non-Communist minister, son of the first Czechoslovak President T. G. Masaryk. The following day, the new government was confirmed, with the Communist Party as leader. In May, elections were held with enforced participation and in June President Beneš resigned. Consequently, Klement Gottwald was elected President and the 40-year era of totalitarian regime began.


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