Revolutions of 1989
The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations, sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848; the events of the full-blown revolution first began in Poland in 1989 and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria and Romania. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance, demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country. Protests in Tiananmen Square failed to stimulate major political changes in China, but influential images of courageous defiance during that protest helped to precipitate events in other parts of the globe. On 4 June 1989, the trade union Solidarity won an overwhelming victory in a free election in Poland, leading to the peaceful fall of Communism in that country in the summer of 1989.
In June 1989, Hungary began dismantling its section of the physical Iron Curtain, leading to an exodus of East Germans through Hungary, which destabilised East Germany. This led to mass demonstrations in cities such as Leipzig and subsequently to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, which served as the symbolic gateway to German reunification in 1990; the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991, resulting in eleven new countries, which had declared their independence from the Soviet Union in the course of the year, while the Baltic states regained their independence in September 1991. The rest of the Soviet Union, which constituted the bulk of the area, became the Russian Federation in December 1991. Albania and Yugoslavia abandoned Communism between 1990 and 1992. By 1992, Yugoslavia had split into five successor states, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, renamed Serbia and Montenegro in 2003 and split in 2006 into two states and Montenegro.
Serbia was further split with the breakaway of the recognised state of Kosovo in 2008. Czechoslovakia dissolved three years after the end of Communist rule, splitting peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1992; the impact of these events was felt in many Socialist countries. Communism was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia, Ethiopia and South Yemen. During the adoption of varying forms of market economy, there was a general decline in living standards for many former Communist countries. Political reforms were varied, but in only four countries were Communist parties able to retain a monopoly on power, namely China, Cuba and Vietnam. Many communist and socialist organisations in the West turned their guiding principles over to social democracy and democratic socialism. Communist parties in Italy and San Marino suffered and the reformation of the Italian political class took place in the early 1990s. In South America, the Pink tide swept through the early 2000s; the European political landscape changed drastically, with several former Eastern Bloc countries joining NATO and the European Union, resulting in stronger economic and social integration with Western Europe and the United States.
Socialism had been gaining momentum among working class citizens of the world since the 19th century. These culminated in the early 20th century when several states and colonies formed their own communist parties. Many of the countries involved had hierarchical structures with monarchic governments and aristocratic social structures with an established nobility. Socialism was undesirable within the circles of the ruling classes in the late 19th/early 20th century states, its champions suffered persecution. This had been the practice in states which identified as exercising a multi-party system; the Russian Revolution of 1917 saw the first communist state in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government. During the period between the world wars, communism had been on the rise in many parts of the world in towns and cities; this led to a series of purges in many countries to stifle the movement. Violent resistance to this repression led to an increase in support for communism in Central and Eastern Europe.
In the early stages of World War II, both Nazi Germany and the USSR invaded and occupied the countries of Eastern Europe after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Germany turned against and invaded the USSR: the battles of this Eastern Front were the largest in history; the USSR joined with the Allies and in conferences at Tehran and Yalta, the Allies agreed that Central and Eastern Europe would be in the "Soviet sphere of political influence.". The USSR fought the Germans to a standstill and began driving them back, reaching Berlin before the end of the war. Nazi ideology was violently anti-communist, the Nazis brutally suppressed communist movements in the countries it occupied. Communists played a large part in the resist
An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is smaller and has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral. An upper house is different from the lower house in at least one of the following respects: Powers: In a parliamentary system, it has much less power than the lower house. Therefore, in certain countries the Upper House votes on only limited legislative matters, such as constitutional amendments, cannot initiate most kinds of legislation those pertaining to supply/money, cannot vote a motion of no confidence against the government, while the lower house always can.
In a presidential system: It may have nearly equal power with the lower house. It may have specific powers not granted to the lower house. For example: It may give consent to some executive decisions, it may have the sole power to try impeachment cases against officials of the executive or judicial branch, following enabling resolutions passed by the lower house. It may have the sole power to ratify treaties. In a semi-presidential system, like France It may have less power than the lower house: in France, the Government can decide to legislate a normal law without the Sénat's agreement, but It may have equal power to the lower house regarding the constitution or the territorial collectivities, it may not vote a motion of no confidence against the government, but it may investigate State cases. It may make proposals of laws to the lower house. Status: In some countries, its members are not popularly elected, its members may be elected with a different voting system than that used to elect the lower house.
Less populated states, provinces, or administrative divisions may be better represented in the upper house than in the lower house. Members' terms may be for life. Members may be elected in portions, for staggered terms, rather than all at one time. In some countries, the upper house cannot be dissolved at all, or can be dissolved only in more limited circumstances than the lower house, it has fewer members or seats than the lower house. It has a higher age of candidacy than the lower house. In parliamentary systems the upper house is seen as an advisory or "revising" chamber; some or all of the following restrictions are placed on upper houses: Lack of control over the executive branch. No absolute veto of proposed legislation, though suspensive vetoes are permitted in some states. In countries where it can veto legislation, it may not be able to amend the proposals. A reduced or absent role in initiating legislation. No power to block supply, or budget measures In parliamentary democracies and among European upper houses the Italian Senate is a notable exception to these general rules, in that it has the same powers as its lower counterpart: any law can be initiated in either house and must be approved in the same form by both houses.
Additionally, a Government must have the consent of both to remain in office, a position, known as "perfect bicameralism" or "equal bicameralism". The role of a revising chamber is to scrutinise legislation that may have been drafted over-hastily in the lower house and to suggest amendments that the lower house may reject if it wishes to. An example is the British House of Lords. Under the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, the House of Lords can no longer prevent the passage of most bills, but it must be given an opportunity to debate them and propose amendments, can thereby delay the passage of a bill with which it disagrees. Bills can only be delayed for up to one year before the Commons can use the Parliament Act, although economic bills can only be delayed for one month, it is sometimes seen as having a special role of safeguarding the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom and important civil liberties against ill-considered change. The British House of Lords has a number of ways to block legislation and to reject it, the House of Commons can use the Parliament Act to force something through.
The Commons will bargain and negotiate with the Lords such as wh
1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia
The Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, promulgated on 11 July 1960 as the constitutional law 100/1960 Sb. was the third constitution of Czechoslovakia, the second of the Communist era. It replaced the 1948 Ninth-of-May Constitution and was changed by the Constitutional Law of Federation in 1968, it was extensively revised after the Velvet Revolution to prune out its Communist character, with a view toward replacing it with a new constitution. However, this never took place, it remained in force until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992; the Ninth-of-May-Constitution was superficially similar in many respects to the 1920 Constitution and contained a mixture of liberal democratic and Communist elements. In contrast, the 1960 Constitution was a Communist document, it borrowed from the 1936 Soviet Constitution. This was reflected in the change of the country's official name from the Czechoslovak Republic to Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Due to President and party boss Antonín Novotný's devotion to Nikita Khrushchev and oneupmanship among other Eastern Bloc countries, Czechoslovakia was declared the first country after "our great ally, the fraternal Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" which achieved socialism.
Thus the constitution's preamble said that "socialism has won in our country" and so "finishing the socialist construction, we are changing over to building an advanced socialist society and gathering strength for the transition to communism." Infamous Article 4 stipulated that "the leading force in the society and the state is the vanguard of the working class, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia." The 1960 Constitution limited the autonomy granted to Slovakia. This provision was Novotný's idea; the executive branch of the Slovak government was abolished and its duties assigned to the Presidium of the Slovak National Council, thus combining executive and legislative functions into a single body. The legislative National Assembly was given authority to overrule decisions of the Slovak National Council, central government agencies took over the administration of the major organs of Slovak local government; the constitution was first amended by constitutional laws 110/1967, 28/1968, the Constitutional Law of Federation 143/1968 and accompanying 144/1968 on ethnic minorities, further by constitutional laws 57/1969, 155/1969, 43/1971, 50/1975, 62/1978, 135/1989 and several times during 1990–1992.
The Constitution consisted of 112 articles divided into 9 chapters. Chapter 1, entitled "The Social Order," declares Czechoslovakia to be "socialist state, founded on the firm bond of workers and intelligentsia, in whose lead is the working class"; the paragraph whereby it was "a unitary State of two fraternal nations possessing equal rights – the Czechs and the Slovaks" was changed into "federal state" and moved into the Law of Federation in 1968. Article 2 states that "all power in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic shall belong to the working people." State power will be exercised "by the working people through representative bodies which are elected by, surveiled by, accountable to them." Principles of the "socialist economic system, in which the means of production are socialised and the entire national economy directed by plan" and the rules of democratic centralism, are laid out. "Socialist ownership" takes two forms: state ownership of natural resources, the means of industrial production, public transportation and communications and insurance companies, mass media and health and scientific facilities.
Small private enterprises "based on personal labour and excluding exploitation of others' workforce" are permitted within limits formally. Personal ownership of consumer goods, "family homes, savings earned through labour" is guaranteed, as is inheritance of such property. Chapter 2 describes the duties of citizens. Equal rights regardless of race, or sex are guaranteed. Education is compulsory to the age of fifteen. "All citizens have the right of work and compensation for w
History of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
The First Czechoslovak Republic emerged from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in October 1918. The new state consisted of territories inhabited by Czechs and Slovaks, but included areas containing majority populations of other nationalities Germans and Ruthenians; the new state comprised the total of Bohemia whose borders did not coincide with the language border between German and Czech. Despite developing effective representative institutions alongside a successful economy, the deteriorating international economic situation in the 1930s gave rise to growing ethnic tensions; the dispute between the Czech and German populations, fanned by the rise of National Socialism in neighbouring Germany, resulted in the loss of territory under the terms of the Munich Agreement and subsequent events in the autumn of 1938, bringing about the end of the First Republic. Following the Pittsburgh Agreement of May 1918, the Czechoslovak declaration of independence was published by the Czechoslovak National Council, signed by Masaryk, Štefánik and Beneš on October 18, 1918 in Paris, proclaimed on October 28 in Prague.
Towards the end of the First World War which led to the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, several ethnic groups and territories with different historical and economic traditions were blended into new state structures. In the face of such obstacles, the creation of democracy in Czechoslovakia was indeed a triumph. Initial authority within Czechoslovakia was assumed by the newly created National Assembly on November 14, 1918; because territorial demarcations were uncertain and elections impossible, the provisional National Assembly was constituted on the basis of the 1911 elections to the Austrian parliament with the addition of 54 representatives from Slovakia. National minorities were not represented. Hungarians remained loyal to Hungary. On November 12, 1918, ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia declared the short-lived Republic of German Austria with the intent of unifying with Germany, relying on President Wilson's principle of self-determination; the National Assembly of Czechoslovakia elected Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as its first president, chose a provisional government headed by Karel Kramář, drafted a provisional constitution.
The Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919. The Czech delegation was led by Kramář and Beneš, premier and foreign minister of the Czechoslovak provisional government; the conference approved the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, to encompass the historic Bohemian Kingdom and Carpathian Ruthenia. The inclusion of Ruthenia provided a common frontier with Romania, an important ally against Hungary. In March 1919 there were reports that: Austria and Czechoslovakia had broken off diplomatic relations. Czechoslovakia's government in Prague alleged a conspiracy between Austria and Saxony to invade Czechoslovakia; the dispute was over possession of the German-speaking parts of Moravia. Czechoslovakia wanted to hold onto this area because of its many valuable mines. Czechoslovakia sent Czech troops into the German area to stop disorders, the Vienna press printed reports of Czech troops firing on and killing Germans in that area, including 15-20 in Kaaden, 3 in Eger, 2 in Karlsbad. During this, on about 1 March Herr Mayer, Austria's Minister of War, went to go to Eger and was arrested at Gratzen after crossing the border, but was allowed to continue to Eger.
In January 1920 Czechoslovakian army breaking prior agreements with Poland, crossed the demarcation line and by force of arms occupied the Zaolzie, where a 60% majority of the population was Polish, compared to 25% Czechs. After brief fights they made a truce on the power of which Czechoslovakia occupied areas to the west of Olza River; the Czech claim to Lusatia, part of the Bohemian Kingdom until the Thirty Years' War, was rejected. On September 10, 1919, Czechoslovakia signed the Minorities Treaty, placing its ethnic minorities under the protection of the League of Nations; the establishment of the Constitution of 1920 installed a parliamentary system and representative democracy with few constituents for each representative. This allowed a great variety of political parties to emerge, with no clear front runner or leading political entity. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was elected the country's first president in the 1920 election and his guidance helped to hold the country together. A coalition of five Czechoslovak parties, which became known as the "Pětka", constituted the backbone of the government and maintained stability.
Prime Minister Antonin Svehla led the Pětka for most of the 1920s and designed a pattern of coalition politics that survived until 1938. Masaryk was re-elected in 1925 and 1929, serving as President until December 14, 1935 when he resigned due to poor health, he was succeeded by Edvard Beneš. Beneš had served as Czechoslovak foreign minister from 1918 to 1935, created the system of alliances that determined the republic's international stance until 1938. A democratic statesman of Western orientation, Beneš relied on the League of Nations as guarantor of the post war status quo and the security of newly formed states, he negotiated the Little Entente in 1921 to counter Habsburg restoration. The leaders of Czechoslovakia needed to find solutions for the multi
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 until 23 April 1990, when the country was under communist rule. Formally known as the Fourth Czechoslovak Republic, it has been regarded as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Following the coup d'état of February 1948, when the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized power with the support of the Soviet Union, the country was declared a people's republic after the Ninth-of-May Constitution became effective; the traditional name Československá republika was changed on 11 July 1960 following implementation of the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia as a symbol of the "final victory of socialism" in the country, remained so until the Velvet Revolution in November 1989. Several other state symbols were changed in 1960. Shortly after the Velvet Revolution, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was renamed to the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic; the official name of the country was the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Conventional wisdom suggested that it would be known as the "Czechoslovak Republic"—its official name from 1920-1938 and from 1945-1960.
However, Slovak politicians felt this diminished Slovakia's equal stature, demanded that the country's name be spelled with a hyphen, as it was spelled from Czechoslovak independence in 1918 until 1920, again in 1938 and 1939. President Havel changed his proposal to "Republic of Czecho-Slovakia"—a proposal that did not sit well with Czech politicians who saw reminders of the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Nazi Germany annexed a part of that territory; the name means "Land of the Czechs and Slovaks" while Latinised from the country's original name – "the Czechoslovak Nation" – upon independence in 1918, from the Czech endonym Češi – via its Polish orthographyThe name "Czech" derives from the Czech endonym Češi via Polish, from the archaic Czech Čechové the name of the West Slavic tribe whose Přemyslid dynasty subdued its neighbors in Bohemia around AD 900. Its further etymology is disputed; the traditional etymology derives it from an eponymous leader Čech. Modern theories consider it an obscure derivative, e.g. from a medieval military unit.
Meanwhile, the name "Slovak" was taken from the Slavic "Slavs" as the origin of the word Slav itself remains uncertain. During the state's existence, it was referred to "Czechoslovakia" or sometimes the "CSSR" and "CSR" in short. Before the Soviet liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, Edvard Beneš, the Czechoslovak leader, agreed to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's demands for unconditional agreement with Soviet foreign policy and the Beneš decrees. While Beneš was not a Moscow cadre and several domestic reforms of other Eastern Bloc countries were not part of Beneš' plan, Stalin did not object because the plan included property expropriation and he was satisfied with the relative strength of communists in Czechoslovakia compared to other Eastern Bloc countries. In April 1945, the Third Republic was led by a National Front of six parties; because of the Communist Party's strength and Beneš's loyalty, unlike in other Central and Eastern European countries, the Kremlin did not require Eastern Bloc politics or "reliable" cadres in Czechoslovak power positions, the executive and legislative branches retained their traditional structures.
The Communists were the big winners in the 1946 elections, taking a total of 114 seats. Not only was this the only time a Communist Party won a free election anywhere in Europe during the Cold War era, but it was one of only two free elections held in the Soviet bloc. Klement Gottwald, leader of the KSČ, became Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia. However, the Soviet Union was disappointed that the government failed to eliminate "bourgeois" influence in the army, expropriate industrialists and large landowners and eliminate parties outside of the "National Front". Hope in Moscow was waning for a Communist victory in the 1948 elections following a May 1947 Kremlin report concluded that "reactionary elements" praising Western democracy had strengthened. Following Czechoslovakia's brief consideration of taking Marshall Plan funds, the subsequent scolding of Communist parties by the Cominform at Szklarska Poręba in September 1947, Rudolf Slánský returned to Prague with a plan for the final seizure of power, including the StB's elimination of party enemies and purging of dissidents.
Thereafter, Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin arranged a communist coup d'état, followed by the occupation of non-Communist ministers' ministries, while the army was confined to barracks. On 25 February 1948, Beneš, fearful of civil war and Soviet intervention and appointed a Communist-dominated government, sworn in two days later. Although members of the other National Front parties still nominally figured, this was, for all intents and purposes, the start of out-and-out Communist rule in the country. Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, the only prominent Minister still left who wasn't either a Communist or fellow traveler, was found dead two weeks later. On 30 May, a single list of candidates from the National Front—now an organization dominated by the Communist Party—was elected to the National Assembly. After passage of the Ninth-of-May Constitution on 9 June 1948, the country became a People's Republic until 1960. Although it was not a Communist document, it was close enough to the Soviet model that Beneš refused to sign it.
He'd resigned a week before it was ratified, died in September. The Ninth-of-May Constitution confirmed that the KSČ possessed absolute power, as other Communist parties had in the Eastern Bloc. On 11
Slovakia the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mountainous; the population is over 5.4 million and consists of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, the second largest city is Košice; the official language is Slovak. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra, conquered by the Principality of Moravia to establish Great Moravia. In the 10th century, after the dissolution of Great Moravia, the territory was integrated into the Principality of Hungary, which would become the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000. In 1241 and 1242, much of the territory was destroyed by the Mongols during their invasion of Central and Eastern Europe.
The area was recovered thanks to Béla IV of Hungary who settled Germans which became an important ethnic group in the area in what are today parts of central and eastern Slovakia. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechoslovak National Council established Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak Republic existed during World War II as a totalitarian, clero-fascist one-party client state of Nazi Germany. At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was re-established as an independent country. A coup in 1948 ushered in a totalitarian one-party state under the Communist regime during whose rule the country existed as a satellite of the Soviet Union. Attempts for liberalization of communism in Czechoslovakia culminated in the Prague Spring, crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia peacefully. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
Slovakia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy and a high Human Development Index, a high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of market economy with a comprehensive social security system. Citizens of Slovakia are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leave in the OECD; the country joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2009. Slovakia is a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes. In 2018, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 10th in the world; as part of Eurozone, Slovak legal tender is the world's 2nd-most-traded currency.
Slovakia is the world's largest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone and the 7th largest car producer in the European Union. The car industry represents 43% of Slovakia's industrial output, a quarter of its exports; the first written mention of name Slovakia is in 1586. It derives from the Czech word Slováky; the native name Slovensko derives from an older name of Slovaks Sloven what may indicate its origin before the 15th century. The original meaning was geographic, since Slovakia was a part of the multiethnic Kingdom of Hungary and did not form a separate administrative unit in this period. Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BCE, in the Early Paleolithic era; these ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia. Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era come from the Prévôt cave in Bojnice and from other nearby sites.
The most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. Archaeologists have found prehistoric human skeletons in the region, as well as numerous objects and vestiges of the Gravettian culture, principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Ipeľ, Váh and as far as the city of Žilina, near the foot of the Vihorlat and Tribeč mountains, as well as in the Myjava Mountains; the most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the famous Venus of Moravany. The statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice and Radošina; these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and central Europe. The Bronze Age in the geographical territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCE.
Major cultural and political development can be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper in central Slovakia and northwe
Third Czechoslovak Republic
During World War II, Czechoslovakia disappeared from the map of Europe. The Third Czechoslovak Republic which emerged as a sovereign state was not only the result of the policies of the victorious Western allies, the French Fourth Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States, but an indication of the strength of the Czechoslovak ideal embodied in the First Czechoslovak Republic. However, at the conclusion of World War II, Czechoslovakia fell within the Soviet sphere of influence, this circumstance dominated any plans or strategies for postwar reconstruction; the political and economic organisation of Czechoslovakia became a matter of negotiations between Edvard Beneš and Communist Party of Czechoslovakia exiles living in Moscow. In February 1948, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia seized full power in a coup d'état. Although the country's official name remained the Czechoslovak Republic until 1960, when it was changed to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, February 1948 is considered the end of the Third Republic.
The Third Republic came into being in April 1945. Its government, installed at Košice on 4 April and moved to Prague after its liberation on 10 May, was a National Front coalition in which three socialist parties—KSČ, Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, Czechoslovak National Social Party—predominated; the Slovak Popular Party was banned as collaborationist with the Nazis. Other conservative yet democratic parties, such as the Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants, were prevented from resuming activities in the postwar period. Certain acceptable nonsocialist parties were included in the coalition. Employing 61.2 percent of the industrial labour force—were nationalised. 14 October 1945 saw. Beneš had compromised with the KSČ to avoid a postwar coup. Beneš had negotiated the Soviet alliance, but at the same time he hoped to establish Czechoslovakia as a "bridge" between East and West, capable of maintaining contacts with both sides; the KSČ leader Klement Gottwald, professed commitment to a "gradualist" approach, that is, to a KSČ assumption of power by democratic means.
The popular enthusiasm evoked by the Soviet armies of liberation benefited the KSČ. Czechoslovaks, bitterly disappointed by the West at the Munich Agreement, responded favourably to both the KSČ and the Soviet alliance. Communists secured strong representation in the popularly elected national committees, the new organs of local administration; the KSČ centralised the trades union movement. The party worked to acquire a mass membership, including peasants and the petite bourgeoisie, as well as the proletariat. Between May 1945 and May 1946, KSČ membership grew from 27,000 to over 1.1 million. In the May 1946 election, the KSČ won in the Czech part of the country, while the anti-Communist Democratic Party won in Slovakia. In sum, the KSČ won a plurality of 38 percent of the vote at the Czechoslovak level. Beneš continued as president of the republic, Jan Masaryk, son of the revered founding father, continued as foreign minister. Gottwald became prime minister. Most important, although the communists held only a minority of portfolios, they were able to gain control over such key ministries as information, internal trade and interior.
Through these ministries, the communists were able to suppress noncommunist opposition, place party members in positions of power, create a solid basis for a takeover attempt. The year that followed was uneventful; the KSČ continued to proclaim its democratic orientation. The turning point came in the summer of 1947. In July, the Czechoslovak government, with KSČ approval, accepted an Anglo-French invitation to attend preliminary discussions of the Marshall Plan; the Soviet Union responded to the Czechoslovak move to continue the Western alliance: Stalin summoned Gottwald to Moscow. Upon his return to Prague, the KSČ reversed its decision. In subsequent months, the party demonstrated a significant radicalisation of its tactics; the KSČ argued that a reactionary coup was imminent, that immediate action was necessary to prevent it. Through media and police means, they intensified their activity. Announced by Gottwald at the KSČ Central Committee meeting in November 1947, news of the "reactionary plot" was disseminated throughout the country by the communist press.
From June of that year, after the outbreak of the 1947-1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine in November, Czechoslovakia began to sell arms to the Palestinian Jewish Haganah defense force. It was the only foreign state to do so; this policy, continued after the declaration of the State of Israel the following year, would play an important role in the victory of the Jewish state in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In January 1948, the communist-controlled Ministry of Interior proceeded to purge the Czechoslovak security forces, substituting noncommunists with communists; the KSČ began agitating for increased nationalisation and for a new land reform limiting landholdings to fifty hectares. A cabinet crisis precipitated the February coup. Backed by all non-communist parties, the National Social ministers said that the communists were using the Ministry of Interior's police and security forces to suppress non-communists, demanded a halt to this. Prime Minister Gottwald, however forestalled discussion of the