Throughout history, nations have subordinated others politically, culturally and economically. The ruling regime usually used people who spoke out as an example in order to stifle the rest of the population. The ruling regime would utilize such cases to exercise their power of intimidation. This would further encourage the masses to behave in two distinct ways: privately and publicly. The public behavior would be conformist in nature and not criticize the government. On the other hand, the private world would vocalize criticisms and complaints from intellectuals and working class people alike. In socialist Czechoslovakia, during the sixties and seventies, shifts in the political environment played an important role in whether this polarization of behavior, or dichotomy existed. A dichotomy with regard to vocalizing thoughts and ideas manifested as a result of hardships brought on by the failing communist ideology and fear of the consequences of speaking out against the regime. During the sixties and seventies, changes in Czechoslovak leadership and hardships paved the way for the transformation of the political environment from free to oppressive. With the outdated industrial factories of the 1930's and consumer goods shortage, the sixties was a decade of unrest and hardship. Fortunately, the post-Stalin idealists of Moscow allowed the nation to freely discuss economic reform. The economic reforms also followed social reforms and the rise on interest groups, a factor that worried Antonín Novotný, the president of Czechoslovakia . Therefore, with the rise in dissatisfaction came the rise of a different political figure, Alexander Dub?ek. Once Novotný was pressured into retirement in 1967, an era of open expression without censorship swept the nation. However, this came to an end with international intervention.
[...] However, as there were consequences because of the political environment (in 1978 for this story), even cultural expressions had to be restricted to the private world with private audiences in basements where the regime would not be able to exercise censorship. Likewise, this applied to other aspects of expression such as books, music, and literature in general. Furthermore, the notion of cultural freedom not only played a role in representing the dichotomy between the public versus private world, but it also defined national Czech identity. [...]
[...] After Dubèek came to power, the political environment allowed this dichotomy to temporarily disappear as interest groups and individuals were allowed to criticize and express discontent without fear of the consequences. The dual phenomenon of interest groups and the party allowed groups such as students, the KAN, K231, socialist democrats and even Slovaks to express their individual needs. This was allowed because there was no penalty for speaking out from the government. There was also open discussion and dissent toward Stalin's size fits ideology for socialist nations. [...]
[...] With the presence of the Red Army after the Prague Spring, the tighter Soviet control once again instituted the dichotomy which dealt out consequences if not followed. With the first acts of the “normalization” of Czechoslovakia, purges were vicious amongst the main architects of the reforms. Crampton, 346.” Essentially, influential figures that supported reform were eliminated from the equation so that they would not be able to encourage the masses from speaking out as well. Although, there were people who still tried to disregard this dichotomy; unfortunately, people like Václav Havel and Mlynáø faced real life consequences. [...]
[...] Gale Stokes. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). Hutka, Jaroslav. “Dimensions of The in The Writing on The Wall: An Anthology of Contemporary Czech Literature, ed. Peter Kussi. (Karz-Cohl Publishing, 1983). Kundera, Milan . Nation Which Cannot Take Itself For Granted,” in From Stalinism to Pluralism: A Documentary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945, ed. Gale Stokes. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). Stokes, Gale. From Stalinism to Pluralism: A Documentary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945. [...]
[...] Hutka's refusal to accept such a condition was further explained when he explained the case of his friend Jiri Grusa, who was jailed for writing a novel and lending copies. Ibid. Therefore, we once again see the consequences of expressing ideas and criticisms. It was essential that people stuck to the dichotomy of selectively expressing certain views because anything non-conformist was a punishable offense. Edward Goldstucker was an epitome of the cyclical changes in political environment that resulted in him being oppressed, freed, then oppressed again (and forced to emigrate). [...]
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