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3. The Prague Spring Reforms
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore the political and cultural reforms introduced in 1968 by the Czechoslovak Communist party leader Alexander Dubček in response to growing political dissent among the Czechoslovak population. In particular, we consider the effective end of press censorship and the demotion of pro-Soviet figures within the Czechoslovak Communist party in the early months of 1968. We also think about other developments during this period of political liberalisation known as the ‘Prague Spring’, including the emergence of anti-Communist political groupings and the growing desire for a foreign policy independent of the Warsaw Pact states.
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
McDermott, K. (2019, January 09). Russia – The Prague Spring, 1968 - The Prague Spring Reforms [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-prague-spring/the-prague-spring-reforms
McDermott, K. "Russia – The Prague Spring, 1968 – The Prague Spring Reforms." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Jan 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-prague-spring/the-prague-spring-reforms