CzechRepublic has undergone a revolution as a country to the present day where its culture has been impacted through the political coupled with the artistic freedoms observed from the 1960’s in Czechoslovakia. The country experienced one of the most dramatic events in history during the Prague Spring where changes took place through the Communist Party in the Central Committee of Czechoslovakia. The political pressure in CzechRepublic reached its peak during the summer of 1968, in war broke out through Soviet ‘normalization’ and occupation.
Czech culture during and after the Prague Spring
The cultural characteristics of the ‘Czech’ is characterized by the Czech speaking inhabitants dwelling in Czech Republic which includes Moravia, Bohemia and the larger western part, also including Silesia lying in southwestern Poland. Moreover, the 1968 reform movement that occurred in Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring was characterized through a political liberalization period that led to the Soviet Union domination after the World War 2. The political liberalization era began when the Slovak reformist Alexander Dubcek ascended to power from January to August in early 1968 and the consequent invasion by Warsaw Pact allies and the Soviet Union to halt reforms (Siklova, 1992). The Prague Spring reforms was the country’s liberalization front by its reformist Alexander to grant Czechoslovakia citizens additional rights towards acts of democratization and decentralization of the country’s economy. Federalization of the country’s two separate republics was the only change to survive until the end of Prague Spring. The Soviets did not approve the reforms even after negotiations proved futile, thereby leading to the Warsaw tanks and troops that occupied the country leading to considerable mass emigration from the nation characterized by many non violent protests.
However, Czech did not use military resistance in the invasion and occupation until 1990, after which the country entered a normalization period. The Prague Spring event has inspired Czech’s culture through literature with the likes of ‘Karel Kryl’ and music. CzechRepublic has undergone major cultural impact through Prague Renaissance, World War 2 and Post World War 2 to the present Jewish community with deepened disillusionment following the Prague Spring ordeals (Rovit, 1999). This period was viewed by Western leftists as Marxists contributing to growth of Euro communist ideas characterized by Western communist parties that distanced themselves from the acts of the Soviet Union. Literature has been born from the Prague Spring event such as ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ by Milan Kundera that depicts the Prague Spring repercussions that followed following the increased Soviet presence until the end of the invasion of the Soviet’s and their allies coupled with the emigration wave. Number 68 has become an icon because of the importance accredited to the year in history in which Czechoslovak under went tense reforms and liberalization protests that rocked the world.
The Velvet Revolution followed also saw demonstrations that sought to demand change in Czechoslovakia communism in Prague, Bratislava and across the country. Diverse communities like the Jewish community experienced various cultural impediments even with the liberalization reforms (Jan, 1992). Czech today, facts and lessons are still emerging detailing the event fuelled by dissident movements of Eastern Europe where the Czech’s were forced to live and learn with shameful surrender attributed to the leaders who were treated by most people as icons. After decades from the revolutionary reforms and fall of communism in Czech, the country still posses an authentic and distinct culture, society and history. Popular music had a great effect and role in the dissident movement in Czech and also leading to the Prague Spring music festival growing as a major part comprising the Prague culture. The Czech’s culture celebrates ‘Czech’s Cubism’ that relates to its furniture, architecture and decorative arts. Jewish architecture from the early reforms revolutions have become tourist attractions depicting the rich history of Czechoslovakia from renaissance period and through to the fall of communism.
Prague has undergone an epic history with its inhabitants experiencing the invasion and occupation of Soviet Union in the year 1968, which characterized capitalist democracy, brain washing communism and Nazi control. The Prague Spring event from its subsequent reforms through leaders like Dubcek who envisioned a country with democracy and decentralization of the economy for the sake of its citizens which were met with resistance from the Warsaw pact allies and the Soviet Union. Czech’s cultural history lays in its literature, music, arts and architecture especially the Jewish town located at the OldTown in Czechoslovakia. The country is currently experiencing a cultural bloom with many cultures exhibiting the rich cultural history relating to the remembrance of Prague Spring in which reforms sought to give ‘socialism a human face’.
Jan, P. (1992). Good-bye Samizdat: Twenty Years of Czechoslovak Underground writing. Northwestern University Press, Evanston.
Rovit, R. (1999). Theresiestadt: Creation in a Death Camp. The John Hopkins UP, Baltimore.
Siklova, J. (1992). ‘The GrayZone’ and the Future of Dissent in Czechoslovakia. Northwestern University Press, Evanston.