Cover Osteuropa 4-6/2021

In Osteuropa 4-6/2021

Disputed Past
Debating Communist Rule

Michal Pullmann

Deutsche Fassung


Coming to terms with the communist dictatorship is one of contemporary history’s central themes. In the Czech Republic, the thesis that the communist regime in Czechoslovakia was based not only on repression and violence, but also on the convictions and consent of various population segments led to a heated debate. At the centre of the controversy was Michal Pullmann with his book “The End of the Experiment”. In retrospect, it can be seen that the controversy advanced contemporary history as an academic discipline: today, it is probing the character of the communist system with new questions and methods. And the general public is no longer so easily agitated. The image of a dictatorship that relied not only on tanks but on the population’s consent is not a trivialization of oppression, but an even grimmer finding.

(Osteuropa 4-6/2021, pp. 395–410)