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Russia – The Prague Spring, 1968

2. Stalinism and the Origins of the Prague Spring

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In this module, we examine the political and economic developments in Czechoslovakia under Communist rule in the 1950s and 60s. We begin by thinking about the growing influence of Stalinism within the Czechoslovak Communist party and the creation of a one-party Communist state. We then move on to consider the disillusionment of many Czechs with the economically weak and politically oppressive Stalinist system, leading to an increasing demand for political and cultural reform.


In this course, Professor Kevin McDermott (Sheffield Hallam University) explores the historical events leading up to and encompassing the Prague Spring, a period of political reform and liberalisation in Czechoslovakia in 1968. We begin by examining the historical context of Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1948, from the founding of the First Czechoslovak Republic to the rise to power of the Czechoslovak Communist party. The second module examines the political and economic development of Communist Czechoslovakia under the influence of Stalinism and explores the growing resistance to Soviet ideology among the Czechoslovak population in the 1950s. We then move on in module three to discuss the Prague Spring Reforms under Alexander Dubček in the first eight months of 1968. Module four concludes the course with an examination of the reasons that eventually led the Soviet leadership to invade Czechoslovakia in August 1968, crushing the reformist tendencies of the Prague Spring.


Kevin McDermott is a Professor of Modern East European History at Sheffield Hallam University. He specialises in communist Czechoslovakia and Soviet Stalinism. His specific research interests lie in state-society relations, popular opinion, resistance and conformity. His most recent publications include Communist Czechoslovakia, 1945-89: a political and social history (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and, with Matthew Stibbe, Eastern Europe in 1968: responses to the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact Invasion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McDermott, K. (2019, January 09). Russia – The Prague Spring, 1968 - Stalinism and the Origins of the Prague Spring [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McDermott, K. "Russia – The Prague Spring, 1968 – Stalinism and the Origins of the Prague Spring." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Jan 2019,