Zdenuk Urbanek - The Plastic People of the Universe TV - Visions of War TV - Third Reich TV - Nazi Underworld TV - Hitler’s Bodyguard TV - Christopher Hitchens - K Bartosek - Neville Chamberlain - Eduard Goldstucker - Hitler: A Profile TV - John Pilger - Female Witness - Stacey Dooley TV - Misha Glenny - Niall Ferguson TV - Grin Without a Cat aka The Base of the Air is Red 1977 - Heroin Holiday in the Czech Republic TV - Scam City TV - Vive le Revolution! Joan Bakewell on May 1968 -
869. In dictatorships we are more fortunate than you in the West in one respect. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and nothing of what we watch on television, because we know it’s propaganda and lies. Unlike you in the West, we’ve learnt to look behind the propaganda and to read between the lines. Unlike you, we know that the real truth is always subversive. (Truth & Dictatorship & Propaganda & Czech Republic & Media) Zdenuk Urbanek, novelist & Charter 77, interview John Pilger
9,672. They are afraid of the old for their memory. They’re afraid of the young for their innocence. They’re afraid of the graves and the flowers people put on them. They’re afraid of those who aren’t in the Party. They’re afraid of singers, tennis players, Santa Claus, archives, each other. They’re afraid of truth. They’re afraid of freedom. They’re afraid of democracy. They’re afraid of Socialism. So why the hell are we afraid of them? (Fear & Totalitarianism & Czech Republic & Afraid) The Plastic People of the Universe, song lyrics of banned pop group & forerunner to Charter 77
26,542. Hitler makes territorial demands on Czechoslovakia. (World War II & Czech Republic) Visions of War: The World in Flames, 2012
26,543. Czechoslovakia is stripped of the Sudetenland. (World War II & Czech Republic) ibid.
27,147. Hitler had demanded that Czechoslovakia cede a large portion of its German speaking territory – the Sudetenland – to the Third Reich. (Nazis & Germany & Czech Republic) Third Reich: The Rise I, History 2010
27,287. In Nazi occupied territories like the former Czechoslovakia thousands were tortured or murdered by German occupiers. In 1941 SS security chief Reinhard Heydrich ruled the so-called protectorate with an iron fist. (Nazis: Heydrich & World War II & Czech Republic) Nazi Underworld: Deadly Missions of World War II, National Geographic 2013
27,720. The formidable Czech border defences which had been betrayed without a shot being fired were gloated over. The following March, Hitler broke his supposed deal with Chamberlain. The German army invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia, and there was little the international community could do. (Nazis & Czech Republic) Hitler’s Bodyguard: Kill Hitler Before the War Starts, National Geographic 2013
49,367. Very often the test of one’s allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel’s Charter 77 committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what ‘The Party’ had so perfectly termed ‘normalization’. As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity. (Dissent & Protest & Czech Republic & Totalitarianism) Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir
49,538. The system that impedes the liberation of man in our country can only be negated by actions, not words; a revolutionary disavowal – the only authentic sort – cannot be attained by a pure and simple substitution of persons. Otherwise the tottering thrones will remain thrones from which a new oligarchic bureaucracy will exercise control over us all. (Revolution & Czech Republic) K Bartosek, open letter to Czech workers 1968
69,182. It is my irrevocable resolve to wipe out Czechoslovakia in the foreseeable future using military action. (Czech Republic & Nazis: Hitler) Adolf Hitler
69,183. Then the tanks arrived. It was a shock. Nobody could believe it. (Czech Republic & Tank) Vera Caslavska
69,184. The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem which has now been achieved is in my view only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. (Czech Republic & World War II) Neville Chamberlain
69,185. This was taken as a terrible betrayal by our Allies who had repeatedly assured us from the beginning of Czechoslovakia that they would guarantee our independence. They betrayed us. (Czech Republic & Betrayal) Eduard Goldstucker, Czech diplomat
69,186. Hitler made use of the fascist Jozef Tiso to precipitate the fall of Czechoslovakia. (Czech Republic & Nazis: Hitler) Hitler: A Profile, 1995
69,187. At six in the morning German troops crossed the border reaching Prague the Czech capital three hours later. This was no longer a war of flowers. (Czech Republic & Nazis: Hitler) ibid.
69,188. That very day Hitler entered the city ... Neither England nor France mobilised. ‘I knew it!’ he said euphorically. ‘In two weeks no-one will even mention it.’ (Czech Republic & Nazis: Hitler) ibid.
69,189. Since ’68 there was a very small group of people who remained free, paid for that freedom by not being in a normal job or being in very bad jobs and so on. (Czech Republic & Freedom) Julius Tomin, teacher
69,190. Why should people have to go to prison because they sign a Charter? In January this year a group calling themselves Charter 77 announced their intention of informing the Prague regime of ways in which a state law protecting human rights was being broken. John Pilger, A Faraway Country, ITV 1977
69,200. So Chamberlain tried and tried and tried again to let Hitler have Sudetenland which was part of Czechoslovakia, and of course with his boyish tenacity he succeeded. What the admiring crowds did not realise that his efforts were a prelude to World War II. ibid.
69,201. These audacious attempts of the Party to literally give power back to the people were unique in the history of Socialism. ibid.
69,202. Like most small nations the Czechs wanted to go a third way. Their own way. In spite of all the years of oppression they’ve never forgotten their democratic traditions, and it’s fair to guess that a majority of them want their country to be Socialist, democratic and fiercely independent. ibid.
69,203. You can see old people standing around with tanks and trying to explain to these young boys, these soldiers, that no-one wants them here in Czechoslovakia. (Czech Republic & Tank) Female witness to Soviet invasion
69,204. I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions. (Czech Republic & Words) Vaclav Havel, speech October 1989
69,205. That special time caught me up in its wild vortex and – in the absence of leisure to reflect on the matter – compelled me to do what had to be done. (Czech Republic & Vortex) Vaclav Havel, re presidential election 1992
69,206. Thousands of stag parties come here. They’re here for the cheap beer and beautiful women. (Czech Republic & Party) Stacey Dooley: Sex, Stags and Prague, BBC 2013
69,207. Easy targets for a host of petty criminals. (Czech Republic & Party) ibid.
95,336. Road of Shame – the highway that linked Dresden and Prague via the heart of Czechoslovakia’s heavy-industry complex, northern Bohemia. In a depressed and chaotic economic climate, young Czech women began selling themselves for pocket money on the E55. (Czech Republic & Prostitution) Misha Glenny, McMafia
95,337. Belchev and his henchmen had tortured and raped each of the forty women who were rescued by police when they finally raided the Dubi brothel in the summer of 1997. During their imprisonment, the women were required to earn a minimum of £2,000 per month (naturally they never saw any of this money). (Czech Republic & Gangs: Czech Republic) ibid.
95,424. Throughout much of the forty years that Prague endured communist control, people were kept in fear lest this administrative leviathan came knocking at the their door with an arrest warrant. The Velvet Revolution in November 1989 was meant to put a stop to all this. (Czech Republic & Revolution) ibid.
81,155. But while Kafka’s bureaucracy may have moved into the shadows after the Revolution, it still lurked discreetly. (Czech Republic & Bureaucracy) ibid.
61,504. That mass consumerism and standardisation could somehow be reconciled with rampant individualism was one of the smartest tricks pulled ever pulled by Western civilisation. (Civilisation & Consumerism & Fashion & Czech Republic & Jeans) Niall Ferguson, Civilisation: Is the West History? V Consumerism, Channel 4 2011
61,505. The Denim Curtain ... Why was it that Russians couldn’t make jeans? (Civilisation & Consumerism & Fashion & Soviet Union & Czech Republic & Jeans & Russia) ibid.