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After Hitler, Before Stalin : Catholics, Communists and Democrats in Slovakia, 1945–1948, by James Ramon Felak

Heimann, Mary (2012) After Hitler, Before Stalin : Catholics, Communists and Democrats in Slovakia, 1945–1948, by James Ramon Felak. [Review]

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Abstract

Book review of "After Hitler, before Stalin: catholics, communists and democrats in Slovakia, 1945-1948". In February 1948 there occurred in Czechoslovakia the kind of ‘fateful moment’, in Milan Kundera’s words, ‘that occurs only once or twice a millennium’. This was the moment, afterwards immortalised in photographs, paintings, posters and even postage stamps, that Klement Gottwald, the leader of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSČ), ‘stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to harangue hundreds of citizens massed in the Old Town Square’. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, having outmanoeuvred its coalition partners in the post-war National Front government, had just seized control over the Cabinet and, consequently, the country. Czechoslovakia, as the immediate result of an internal political crisis rather than Soviet interference or Great Power intervention, fell behind the Iron Curtain.