Cover Osteuropa 2-3/2009

In Osteuropa 2-3/2009

When the Shadow Disappeared
The Collapse of the Czechoslovak Regime in Comparison

Oldřich Tůma

Deutsche Fassung


The collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia came late, but was swift. When the shadow of 1968 disappeared and fear was banished, society reacted spontaneously and the fall of Communist rule accelerated sharply. Although the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia stayed put longer than the Polish or Hungarian regime, there were many similarities between them. The collapsing regimes had relied on the same ideology and the same methods. Thus the same forces confronted the Communist regimes with the same tactics. Above all, developments reinforced one another. The interaction between events in German Democratic Republic and Czechoslovakia was especially intensive. The fact that the Soviet Union had withdrawn all manner of support for these regimes was decisive in their unconditional surrender without putting up resistance.

(Osteuropa 2-3/2009, pp. 85–96)