Nové aspekty „pražského jara“ ve staronovém pojetí českých soudobých dějin
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New Aspects of the ‘Prague Spring’ in the Resurrected Conception of Czech Contemporary History
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The author considers Jiří Hoppe’s Opozice ’68: Sociální demokracie, KAN a K 231 v období Pražského jara (Prague: Prostor 2009) to be a defi nite contribution to what we know about the Czechoslovak events of 1968 in terms of facts. Nonetheless he takes issue with the interpretational framework in which these facts have been placed here. Hoppe, according to him, has implicitly accepted the totalitarian model of the historical interpretation of the Communist period in Czechoslovakia, when the ruling party stood against society throughout the period. Though Hoppe claims that nascent civil society in 1968 was on the threshold of a revolution aiming at democracy and a market economy, and that the Reform Communists were, in their efforts to prevent the emergence of a political opposition, unfaithful to their own declared reforms, the validity of this model also relates to the period of the ‘Prague Spring’. At the same time it is problematic to measure the attitude of the Reform Communists against today’s liberal values; an analysis of the starting points of their programme would demonstrate that those points did not go beyond the bounds of Leninism. Though their aim was ‘socialist democracy’, rather than liberal democracy, one cannot simply claim that they betrayed the reforms. On the other hand, Hoppe is nonplussed when he tries to assess the radical reform efforts, for example, of the Prague Municipal Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, for they would mar his dichotomous picture of the Prague Spring. The weakness of his approach is that it does not open the way to other questions or even to a more complex revealing of the nature of the social processes of the Prague Spring of 1968.
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