ON February 25 of this year the Communists of Czechoslovakia celebrated the seventh anniversary of the coup d'état which enabled them almost overnight to turn what in the twenties was acclaimed as an exemplary democracy into a dictatorship modelled on the Moscow pattern. Although the coup had been long prepared, it is typical of Communist tactics that the Czechoslovak Communists should continue to describe their action, not as an aggression, but as a successful defensive effort to forestall and prevent a bourgeois putsch. It is true that the ineptitude and unpreparedness of the bourgeois parties facilitated the coup, but the determining factor in its success was the proximity of the Soviet armed forces.

Today the Communists still rule in Czechoslovakia by the will and through the strength of Moscow. The break with the West has been as complete as tyranny can make it. National independence now dates, not from October 28, 1918, but from May 9, 1945, the day on which the Red Army is alleged to have liberated Prague. This myth has no foundation, for the fighting was over before the troops of Marshal Konev reached the capital, and the only Russians who helped in the liberation of Prague were the soldiers of General Vlasov, a Soviet commander who, after his capture by the Nazis, recruited an army for Hitler from Russian prisoners-of-war.

Both the wise and gentle Thomas Masaryk and Eduard Beneš are now denounced as agents of Western imperialism, lifelong enemies of the Soviet Union, traitors to their country and betrayers of the Czechoslovak people. It is curious that the Communists should now denounce Masaryk and Beneš as enemies of Moscow. Towards the end of the Second World War Eduard Beneš was the first person to accept "peaceful coexistence" and to suffer the kiss of death from the embrace. In 1918 Thomas Masaryk was opposed to the policy of Allied intervention in Russia. Moreover, in March 1948 the Communists tried to assert that if he had been alive he would have approved their violence. When this lie failed to win credibility, they changed their tactics and began to revile him. In 1953 the attacks increased both in number and in venom. Rudé Právo, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, published two long articles denouncing the "false humanism" of Masaryk and accusing him of being the friend of the enemies of the people. The Communist Government went even further, for it issued an official book containing alleged proofs that Thomas Masaryk had given large sums to anti-Bolshevik Russians for the assassination of Lenin.

The recent intensification of the attacks on Masaryk indicate that what the Czechs call "Masarykismus" has still a strong hold on the Czechoslovak people and that today his name is the symbol of freedom for all those who seek to escape from their present thraldom.

Seven years make an appropriate climacteric for taking stock of a difficult situation and of studying the reactions of the Czechoslovak people to the asperities of a harsh régime. One of the first questions which Western inquirers always ask is: What percentage of the population is anti-Communist? No one knows the exact answer, and the problem itself must be looked at from several aspects. We have to consider active anti-Communists and potential anti-Communists. We have to ask ourselves how many people make a pretense of accepting the régime solely for a bread-and-butter existence. We have also to gauge how quickly the Communist régime in Czechoslovakia would begin to collapse if by some fortuitous circumstance the Soviet Union were to withdraw from Central Europe. In the absence of positive proofs there is only the evidence of the behavior of Czechs and Slovaks during previous periods of oppression such as the First World War and the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Two generalizations can be made. Both Czechs and Slovaks are by nature individualists and submit unwillingly to collective discipline. Recent refugees who have escaped from Czechoslovakia give an optimistic report of anti-Communist resistance which they say is much more widespread than in February 1948. Nevertheless, both Czechs and Slovaks have a more practical sense of realities than, say, the more romantic Poles, and in both races there are people who in times of oppression tend to submit to what seems the inevitable and to accept such benefits as the régime can give them. This quality is not confined to Czechoslovaks, but it must be taken into account. The passive acceptance of benefits does not mean agreement with the régime, and the more the régime increases its pressure the more likely is passivity to turn to unrest. On the other hand, good economic conditions increase passive acceptance of the régime. It is safe to say that up to the present there are in Czechoslovakia incomparably more people who have reason to be dissatisfied with the economic conditions than people who benefit from them.

There are also certain classes of people--doctors, chemists, technicians and scientists--who in a sense work for the régime because they are working for the whole nation. They do not regard themselves as supporters of the régime. Excluded from normal activity are those industrialists who refuse to accept Communism. Representatives of ideological movements like the Church, the Sokols, the Boy Scouts, the Rotary Clubs, the Freemasons and others are also debarred from their normal pursuits. More recently the Communists have relaxed their severity towards individuals of these groups. Unpardoned and condemned to idleness are former officers of the Czechoslovak Army and Air Force, especially those who served in the West.

In these circumstances it is difficult to estimate resistance in percentages of "for" and "against." Nevertheless I think a reasonably accurate picture can be given.

In one category I would group convinced Communists who are ready to die for the Party (1 percent); Communists who accept the Party dogma, but are not ready to die for it (3 percent); and Communists who pose as passionate Party members but lack full conviction (5 percent), in all 9 percent. In a second category I would put absolute opponents of the régime who are removed by the régime from all activities (10 percent), and people accepting the economic benefits but whose loyalty to the régime depends on the continuation of these benefits (20 percent), together 30 percent. In a third category I would put passive opponents among the farmers (30 percent); passive opponents among the industrial workers (20 percent); and other elements disagreeing with the régime but pretending to accept it (11 percent), in all 61 percent.

This is somewhat complicated. Moreover, the Czechoslovak Communist Government publishes no statistics showing the percentages of people employed in industry and agriculture. I believe, however, that the division is about as follows: employed in agriculture, 33 percent; in industry, 40 percent; in commerce and transport, 7 percent; in public works, 8 percent; otherwise employed or unemployed, 12 percent.

Supporters, opponents and passive adherents of the régime are found in all these branches of employment. Opposition has been strong in agriculture, where the Communist policy is to rouse the poorer peasants against their richer neighbors, and also among the miners in the Ostrava district.

Organized active resistance such as existed during the German occupation is no longer possible on a large scale. In the days of the Protectorate everyone knew who was a German, and among the Czechs there were few traitors. Today brother betrays brother, and children are taught to denounce their parents. The régime, too, is ruthless, treats the most harmless talk as espionage, and spares neither woman nor child.

Moreover, resistance suffers undoubtedly from the lack of any outstanding Czechoslovak leader either at home or abroad. There is no Masaryk, no Beneš, to give courage and inspiration to a people who have suffered much from the buffets of friend and foe alike, and in Czechoslovakia itself the Communist propagandists make rich capital out of the endless wranglings of the Czechoslovak émigré Rada in the United States. Both the Czechoslovak people in Czechoslovakia and the 60,000 or so émigrés who left the country after the Communist coup would welcome a positive policy from an authoritative and representative Council abroad. So far the Rada has not fulfilled this rôle, and I fear that its influence in Czechoslovakia is small.

Nor does it carry much weight among the émigrés as a whole. These, however, must be divided into two classes: the genuine emigrants who seek a new life and a new allegiance, and the exiles who live solely on the hope of a return. The first class is composed mainly of the young, many of whom have found a new home in countries as far off as Australia and New Zealand. The second class consists almost entirely of the politically minded and older people who, if they can find the means, prefer to live in Europe and regard the Rada in Washington as too remote from Czechoslovak problems to be effective.

Another theme which the Communist propagandists exploit with great energy is the treatment given by the West to refugees who escape from Czechoslovakia in the hope of starting a new life. The two main grievances--and they are real grievances--are the wretched conditions in the refugee camps in Germany and the reluctance or inability of Western bureaucracies to provide suitable employment for men and woman who, not unnaturally, think that they have risked much for the sake of that almost indefinable word, freedom. The refugees know at least what is not freedom. In Europe all too often their escapes make headlines in the press but their subsequent welfare is neglected. As for the camps, they are controlled by Germans. The conditions are degrading and the delays interminable. Screening is the more necessary because the Czechoslovak Communist Government sends abroad agents--provocateurs who, in the guise of escaped refugees, find a place in the camps, study the conditions and then make their way home to report exaggerated details to the Communist authorities. The problem is a difficult one, but it seems unwise on the part of the West to spend large sums on radio propaganda and to neglect the well-being of those who, in response to this encouragement, make their way to the West. In this connection it must be said that Western Europe is the chief culprit, for it does little to help the refugees, virtually all of whom seek to go to the United States.

What is remarkable is that, in spite of these conditions, the escapes continue. If they have diminished recently in number, it is not on account of Communist propaganda but because the Communists have taken the most elaborate precautions to fortify and guard the frontiers. These precautions make it virtually impossible for anyone but a young and active person to escape, and it is the young Czechoslovaks who make these daring attempts and who often succeed. I have met some of them--young airmen of 21 and 22--and have spoken to them in their own language. To them Thomas Masaryk was merely a name. They came away because they were sick to death of Marxist indoctrination at every hour of their work and play and because they were tired of being constantly told to do this and not to do that. Wholly ignorant of what went on in the outside world, they, too, knew what was not freedom.

Compared with other satellite countries, Czechoslovakia has a good record for escapes, partly because she lies nearest to the West, and partly because ever since the battle of the White Mountain in 1620 the Czech has been taught to cry when internally he is laughing and to laugh when in his heart he is crying.

In September of 1953 Mr. Desmond Donnelly, Labor Member of Parliament for Pembroke and then a Bevanite, visited Communist Poland, the East German Communist Republic and Communist Czechoslovakia. To such an extent was he impressed by the manifest dislike of the Czechoslovak people for Communism and by the tyranny and incompetence of the régime itself that he abandoned his Bevanism and, indeed, rebuked his former leader for minimizing the dangers of Communism.


In any estimate of physical and even moral force the strength or weakness of a movement is determined by the corresponding strength or weakness of what is opposed to it. I have not sought to overestimate the strength of anti-Communist resistance, nor shall I allow wishful thinking to encourage me to exaggerate the weaknesses of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, like other violent revolutions, the Communist revolution in Czechoslovakia has already devoured many of its children.

Every régime which rules by terror and through secret police is beset with suspicion, and in the struggle for power colleague mistrusts colleague and lifelong friends betray each other. After the February coup of 1948 the struggle for power was prolonged and bitter, mainly because the Party contained more strong personalities than a totalitarian dictatorship can support. Among the Czech Communists the two outstanding men were Klement Gottwald and Rudolf Slansky. Both had spent the war years in Moscow, and Slansky had shown personal courage by taking part in the Slovak rising of 1944. Of German-Jewish origin, he was recognized by all his colleagues as a brilliant organizer. Moreover, as General Secretary of the Party he was believed not only to hold the key post, but also to enjoy the special favor of Moscow. Klement Gottwald, however, was a man of exceptional ability and, so far at least, must rank as the ablest Communist that the satellite countries have produced. Like Stalin he knew how to wait and, while waiting, to conceal his hate with a smile. But when he acted he struck hard and quickly.

The dualism of Gottwald as President and Slansky as General Secretary lasted for nearly three years and was doubtless repugnant to both. Nevertheless, in July 1951, Slansky's fiftieth birthday was celebrated with the highest honors. President Gottwald conferred on him the Order of Socialism, and M. Kopecky, the Minister of Information and an intimate associate of Slansky, wrote an extravagant eulogy in which he attributed to his boyhood friend the success of the February coup.

Four months later Slansky was arrested on a series of charges of which the most flamboyant was the allegation of conspiring to murder Gottwald. After a year's physical and mental torture he and 13 other well-known Communists were brought to public trial, and Slansky confessed abjectly to crimes which he could never have committed. Inevitably they included espionage for Western governments and conspiratorial relations with Tito. For the first time in a trial of Communists by Communists, anti-Semitism raised its head, and in the indictment Slansky and ten of his fellow-victims were described after each name as "of Jewish origin." Among the 11 who were executed were not only Slansky himself but also Geminder and Reicin, both of whom were originally nominees of Moscow. It was in all but geographical location a Moscow trial, and Gottwald would never have dared to stage it without Stalin's approval. Even before Slansky's arrest there were many indications that Moscow was dissatisfied with the slowness of Czechoslovakia's deliveries to the Soviet Union, and presumably Gottwald had succeeded in persuading Stalin that Slansky was mainly to blame. By this time, too, the Soviet revolution had so far stabilized itself that Stalin ranked good bureaucrats far above revolutionary hotheads. It was this consideration which probably induced him to prefer the comparative moderation of Gottwald to the more violent fanaticism of Slansky.

In Slovakia, where the Communists were weakest, there was a similar but less sensational elimination of rivals, and from the small group of intellectuals who led the movement M. Siroky emerged as the leader. The Slovak Slansky was Dr. Clementis, a not unpleasant intellectual who had spent the war years in Britain.

The Slansky trial was a triumph for President Gottwald and for Prime Minister Zapotocky, and when Gottwald died very suddenly after attending Stalin's funeral Zapotocky became not only President, but the virtual leader of the country.

So long as he remains at the head of the state and of the party, it is unlikely that we shall see further struggles for power or fresh trials. By trade a stonemason, who has carved gravestones for many of his countrymen, he is not disliked by the anti-Communists so violently as are his colleagues. Moreover, his father was one of the founders of the Czech Social-Democratic Party. He is therefore well known to the workers. What stands him in better stead is the fact that he has at present no visible rival possessing anything like the same authority and popularity. Such a rival might emerge if Zapotocky were to remain head of the state over a longish period. He is, however, over 70, and if he dies soon there will almost certainly be fierce competition for his presidential throne. But the party is short of leaders. Men like Č epička, a careerist who married Gottwald's daughter, and Novotny, the Secretary of the Central Committee, are brutal and ruthless enough to seize power, but lack the influence and support to hold it. In totalitarian states only a real leader can command the support of the army and of the secret and security police forces.

Relations between Czechs and Slovaks have always presented difficulties to Czechoslovak governments, and in this respect the Communists can claim some successes and should admit some failures. Since 1948 the Communist régime has gone ahead rapidly with the industrialization of Slovakia, a country somewhat neglected by previous régimes, and Slovaks acknowledge the services of Communism in this connection. On the other hand, the Communists have failed even worse in Slovakia in cultural and religious matters than in the Czech lands, for in Slovakia opposition to Communism has always been stronger because Catholics and peasants are comparatively more numerous than in Bohemia and Moravia.

In general, however, it is difficult to write anything positive about Czech and Slovak relations apart from the fact that both peoples suffer from the same deprivation of liberty. Indeed, it is just possible that shared suffering will bring them closer together and unite them in a common effort to free themselves. It must also be said that Czech and Slovak relations are today certainly no worse than they were before the Nazi occupation which certain Slovaks exploited in order to set up an autonomous state.

In estimating the strength and weakness of Communism in Czechoslovakia, we must never lose sight of the fact that the political development of a small country depends very largely on its economic development. By harnessing its economy to that of the Soviet Union and by concentrating its efforts, again at Moscow's request, on heavy industry at the expense of other industries and of agriculture, the Czechoslovak Communists have made a cardinal mistake which they cannot rectify. Economic conditions in the two countries are diametrically opposite and what may suit the Soviet Union can lead easily to pauperization in Czechoslovakia.

The destruction of the economic balance which has resulted from the almost total abandonment of the light industries adapted for years to the interests, needs and skill of the Czechoslovak people cannot be repaired for a long period, and then only after enormous losses. But the Communists cannot do even this, for they are tied to another system and are continuously under Soviet pressure and Soviet demands. The Czechoslovak Communists, in fact, have sacrificed the economic interests of the state to their own political aspirations and to the political interests of the Soviet Union. This sad state of affairs has created a serious economic crisis. The exaggerated concentration on industry has been disastrous for agriculture, and the farming community is in perpetual passive resistance to the attempts to collectivize the land. Agricultural production is immeasurably lower than it was in the times of a free economy and of individual enterprise.

Although their enslaved economy is the Achilles heel of the Czechoslovak Communists, they have made many changes in the economic structure of the country. Most old factories have been nationalized. Some have been destroyed for strategic reasons and rebuilt elsewhere. New factories have gone up with great speed in order to supply heavy industry and to fulfill the orders of the Soviet Government. If the régime were to collapse one day--and, although I am steadfastly opposed to wishful thinking, such an event is not unthinkable--these changes would undoubtedly make a rapid return to individual enterprise very difficult, if indeed not impossible. This is a factor which arises almost inevitably from seven years of Communism and which Western economic planners will have to consider seriously.

No account of the Communist régime in Czechoslovakia can be complete without some reference to its subordination to the Soviet Government in Moscow. Today the total dependence differs greatly from the relationship which existed before the February coup of 1948 and in the years immediately following it.

Before 1948 the Czechoslovak Communists received orders and suggestions from Moscow how to conduct their policy and how to impose a Communist ceiling on the sociological structure already accepted by the democratic Parties. Moscow, too, prescribed the tactics by which the Communists should capture the state machine: by democratic elections if possible, by violence if necessary. During this period Moscow provided the Czechoslovak Communist Party with large funds which were intended to help the Communists to win elections and were to be repayed later to Moscow in the form of goods, machinery and economic privileges.

After the February coup of 1948 the Soviet Government began gradually to subordinate Czechoslovakia to its own political, economic and military systems. The conversion of Czechoslovakia into a satellite was completed without hindrance. Today the Czechoslovak Army is trained, equipped and armed on the Soviet model. The Czechoslovak troops learn the Russian words of command, and indeed the whole population is urged constantly to learn Russian. Soviet experts control the Czechoslovak economy and convert Czechoslovak production to the Soviet system. In Czechoslovak factories Soviet permanent commissions supervise the output of goods destined for the Soviet Union. Visits of all sorts of Soviet experts occur almost weekly, and Czechoslovak students and Pioneers--the Communist imitation of Boy Scouts --go regularly to the Soviet Union to study. Soviet professors teach at the Czechoslovak high schools, and Russian methods and Russian textbooks are being introduced into the whole educational system. Needless to say, not only Czechoslovak, but also world history is being falsified according to the Soviet method, and today the Czechoslovak pupil is told that the first Czechoslovak Republic was founded, not by Thomas Masaryk or President Wilson but by one Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvilli, who at the time was known as Stalin to only a tiny percentage of the Russian people.

I am assured by recent refugees from Czechoslovakia that neither old nor young people accept these historical falsifications because no one believes anything that the Communists say or write. It may be true that the bulk of the population is still immune against these lies, but the Communists are not interested in the old, and they persevere with the young. Moreover, they write reams and suppress all news from outside.

Indeed, the subservient and sycophantic flattery which Government and press lavish on everything Russian is almost unbelievable. On the part of the Government the motive is fear, for the promotion or disappearance of a Czechoslovak minister depends on a nod or a wink from Moscow. The official newspapers follow the Government's lead and, indeed, seek to outdo it. Translations of articles from Pravda and Izvestia are to be found in every issue of every Prague periodical. In October of last year Khrushchev went to Peking to represent the Soviet Union at the fifth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Republic. His speech, translated into Czech, filled the whole of Rudé Právo, the leading Prague newspaper, to the exclusion of all else, apart from a few paragraphs on sport on the back page.

In all cultural matters Soviet art, music and literature are supreme. Translations from the Russian exceed the output of domestic literature, and such serious books as are written about the United States or Great Britain have titles like: "American Bourgeois Philosophy and Sociology in the Service of Imperialism" or "The Crisis of the Colonial System Deepens."[i] Extravagant praise is given to all Soviet writers who enjoy the favor of Moscow, and curiously enough, although Stalin's name now figures rarely in the Soviet Press, the Prague newspapers continue to extol him. By the time this article appears, the huge statue which the Czechoslovaks have erected for him in Prague will presumably be unveiled. In September 1954 his massive form appeared above the scaffolding and was seen to be followed by three rather sad figures in Indian file. The young men of Prague, hit by the economic crisis, polished their wit on the statue. "Why has Stalin such a self-satisfied smile on his face?" asked one. "Because he is at the head of the meat queue."

The Communists do not waste much time on jokes about the Americans and the British. A fierce propaganda denounces American comics and Hollywood as proofs of a debased and inhuman people and the British are denounced for their obsession with detective stories. A Communist journalist goes to Stratford prepared to worship Shakespeare. He visits a bookshop in order to buy the master's works and finds only "Murder on the Race-Course," "Death in the Air," and 20 similar titles.

All this unrestrained propaganda would be more dangerous if, under Communism, life itself were not so restricted. As it is, young men have risked their lives to escape from the Communist paradise because they were not allowed to dance American dances to American music.

It remains to be added that Communist Czechoslovakia is ruled in the same manner in which the Soviet Union is ruled, that large numbers of secret and security police are maintained, that slave labor-camps exist, that citizens disappear without trial and without notice to their relatives, and that the most popular man in the country is Archbishop Beran who five years ago was removed from public life but whose place of confinement has never been revealed, probably because it has been changed more than once. Like many other Czechoslovak patriots, Archbishop Beran has been persecuted both by the Nazis and by the Communists.


If my analysis of the régime and of the opposition is correct-- and it is the result of years of the closest study--two problems require the constant attention of those who are responsible for Western policy or, to be accurate, Western policies: (1) What are the prospects of liberation? (2) What policy or policies can or should the West adopt during the period of waiting?

Taking first the factors favorable to liberation, we can claim with some certainty that the Czechoslovaks and, in particular, the Czechs, are the most Western of the Slavs, have been imbued for centuries with a strong Western tradition, and have by far the highest standard of literacy of all the satellite states. It can be taken for granted that in the vast majority of the people the desire for freedom remains strong.

Factors unfavorable to liberation are the somewhat bitter memories of indifferent treatment at the hands of Western democracies. Among these the Munich Agreement comes first, followed closely by General Eisenhower's refusal to allow General Patton to relieve Prague when all the conditions were favorable. Another awkward subject is the rearmament of Germany. While this is a necessity in the interests of Western unity and for the defense of the West, it is a propaganda liability as regards the Czechs who have not forgotten the horrors of the Nazi occupation.

These, however, are minor handicaps compared with the main obstacle to liberation; namely, the power and omnipresence of the Soviet Government, which is the absolute master of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and, therefore, of the whole country. The Czechs are a practical, hard-headed people who are not given to running their heads uselessly against an immovable wall of steel. So long as the Soviet power remains, liberation must be a long-term hope. For a year or two after the February coup there were Czechoslovaks who longed for a third world war. The hydrogen bomb has modified this desire, and today they pray for a miracle.

How would the miracle happen? Speculation about the future is perhaps more pleasant than profitable, but three developments seem to me possible. First, if the Soviet Union felt itself obliged, either by reasons of policy or by force of international opinion, to give greater freedom to one of its satellites, the effect on the other satellites, and not least on Czechoslovakia, would be strong. The satellite which I have in mind as the possible recipient of this extra freedom is the East German Communist Republic.

Secondly, if for some unpredictable reason the Soviet Union were to abandon all its positions in the satellite countries, the satellite Communist governments would lose immediately their main supporters. Taking Czechoslovakia alone, I think that 50 percent of the people would organize an immediate revolt, 40 percent would wish them well, and of the remaining 10 percent the majority would hasten to conceal their Communist sympathies and to climb on to the democratic band wagon.

There remains the third and less pleasant prospect that the Soviet Union will retain its forward positions in Europe for an unforeseeable time to come. In this event, the stability of the Communist régime in Czechoslovakia would depend largely on the ability of the Government to improve the economic conditions of the people. The more successful the Government might be in this regard, the more passive the resistance would be likely to become. But even in these circumstances the longing for freedom would not die, and in my opinion even minor economic difficulties and, still more, international tension would renew immediately its strength.

It is also wise and, indeed, essential to consider how the Communists look on their stewardship during the past seven years. On this aspect I can write not with authority, but only from conjecture. I surmise, however, that, quite apart from their propaganda, they regard the results as rather better, from their point of view, than they could have expected. At the expense of "liquidating" some of their colleagues, they have survived. Inside the country they have destroyed some of their opponents and forced others to accept the régime or to remain passive. As far as the émigrés are concerned, their quarrels and disunity have helped rather than hindered the Communists who today probably consider themselves comparatively safe under the protection of the army and the police which are well paid and both of which are under men trusted by the régime. It is also probable that the military strength of the Soviet bloc and Moscow's handling of international affairs give to the Czechoslovak Communists a temporary feeling of collective, if not entirely of personal, security.

Nevertheless, they are well aware of the silent hostility of the vast majority of the people, and personally I feel confident that they do not underestimate the strength of this passive antagonism. Moreover, they are faced with growing dissatisfaction caused by the economic crisis and by the shortage of food and of consumer goods. To some extent, too, they are more liberal than the other satellite Communists, not so much in their treatment of their own people as in their attitude towards Communist foreign policy. They certainly rely on the might of Russia. They also follow the Soviet line by trying to drive a wedge between Western Europe and the United States. On the other hand, they want and need to trade with the West and rely on the possibility of "peaceful coexistence" between East and West as the safest guarantee for the continuation of their own régime.

I have the feeling that the Czechoslovak Communists would like to liberalize the régime a little, and such a development is not wholly impossible. It would be very dangerous, however, and therefore is improbable. To be popular, liberalization must mean the end of police persecution, and if the Communists were to go so far they would find it difficult, if not impossible, to reëstablish their authoritarian methods if the situation got out of hand, as it might very easily do.

In conclusion, it seems to me obvious that there are no clearcut divisions among the people in Czechoslovakia and no certainty about the future, and this state of affairs is probably true of the other satellite states. Two things can be said with confidence. In all the satellite countries there are a large number of people who detest the tyranny of Communism and long for liberation. In Western Europe, at least, there is no one who is prepared to set them free by force. To be more brutal, it is fair to say that in Western Europe there are many people who are prepared to abandon all interest in the freedom-loving peoples behind the Iron Curtain in order to buy what they think will be peace in their time. Nevertheless, the struggle between the closed world and the free world is one of ideas and will be settled by the triumph of one ideology over the other.

What we say over the air to the peoples behind the Iron Curtain is therefore of supreme importance. Obviously the Communists also regard what we say as of great significance, for they spend large sums of money in trying to "jam" all Western broadcasts. And the broadcasts have a large audience, mainly because they are "jammed" and because forbidden fruits are sweetest.

As the jamming is not wholly successful, the Communists have been introducing for some time past "wired radio" which for a radio set substitutes a loud-speaker connected directly with the Communist propaganda center. In a country like Czechoslovakia, however, they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to confiscate the radio sets.

Of all the Western broadcasting stations, Radio Free Europe has by far the largest audience, partly because it broadcasts most frequently and varies its programs skilfully and partly because it raises greater hopes. But if, as I think, liberation is still a remote possibility (though I believe it will come), there is a danger that deferred hope will provoke not action but apathy.

Obviously it is fitting and necessary that in their talks to the satellite countries Western speakers should expose Communist lies and exploit any incident in the international situation which is to the discredit of the Communist régimes. But in my opinion all Western policy in these matters should be guided by two principles: 1, to explain constantly the ideals of Western democracy and of Western freedom and to contrast them with Communist dogma and Communist authoritarianism; and 2, to keep the spark of hope alive without fanning it prematurely into a short-lived flame. The last is the more difficult and the more important part of the task.

[i]Literární Noviny, October 9 and 16, 1953.

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  • SIR ROBERT BRUCE LOCKHART, British Representative with the Provisional Czechoslovak Government in London, 1940-41; Deputy Under-Secretary of State, Foreign Office, 1941-45; author of "Memoirs of a British Agent," "Jan Masaryk, a Personal Memoir" and other works
  • More By Robert Bruce Lockhart