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A Contribution to the Social History of Czechoslovakia 1945-1989

LENKA KALINOVÁ and April Retter
Czech Sociological Review
Vol. 4, No. 2, Sociology and Historical Change: The Case of the Post-Communist Transformation in Europe (FALL 1996), pp. 223-236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41133017
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Contribution to the Social History of Czechoslovakia 1945-1989
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Abstract

The post-war transformation of society in Czechoslovakia had certain features in common with the corresponding process in those developed countries in the process of building a welfare state, and its declared principles were close to the social policy of the latter. In practice however, social development began to move in a different direction as early as 1945-1948. Those years saw a wide-ranging redistribution of property, income and social benefits and after 1948 the middle classes were forcibly repressed and the intelligentsia degraded. The fear of losing its totalitarian power stopped the system carrying out sufficiently deep-reaching reforms, even in the late 1950s and 1960s. The restoration of the discredited forces of authoritarianism after the foreign intervention in 1968, isolated them from the country's intellectual elite and their social corruption alienated even the majority of the people. Mass corruption and the emergence of new channels of distribution were signs of the collapse of the system. The fact that it proved unsustainable in the face of popular opinion and changes in the world eased the first stages of the postcommunist transformation.

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