Pod křídla Sovětů. Mohlo se Československo vyhnout „sklouznutí“ za železnou oponu?
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Under the Soviets’ Wing: Could Czechoslovakia Have Avoided “Sliding In” Behind the Iron Curtain?
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This article considers alternative possibilities to Czechoslovak developments after the Second World War. The most likely moment when it would have still been possible to reverse the course of events heading towards the Communist take over was, it seems to the author, during the decision facing Czechoslovak policy-makers in July 1947 about whether to join the European countries that had opted to accept the US offer of substantial economic assistance, known as the Marshall Plan. Nevertheless, he also points to the fact that it probably occurred to almost no representative of the Czechoslovak democratic parties to resist Soviet pressure on them to reject American assistance. The author therefore looks for the roots of this dependency on the Soviet Union, and fi nds them mainly in the fear of Germany in conjunction with the traumatic experience of the Munich Agreement of 1938. No matter how much any search for support had a rational core when faced with a resurgence of the German threat, it is clear that for the Czechoslovaks it was a matter of defi nite, unconditional concessions to Soviet wishes – sometimes before they had even been expressed – very often going beyond what could have still been considered the confi dent, respectable foreign policy of an independent state. This was still happening during the Second World War, and intensifi ed after the war had ended. The author then assesses the post-war possibilities for Czechoslovakia in comparison with Poland, Austria, Yugoslavia, and particularly Finland, and briefly considers what the consequences of a possible forced Sovietization of Slovakia and the division of the country would have been. In the epilogue – “dreaming of the past” – he outlines the probable development of Czechoslovakia if the Marshall Plan had been accepted in July 1947.
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