The background to the eventEdit
The 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état Czech: Únor 1948, Slovak: Február 1948, both meaning "February 1948"), which is often simply just referred to as "the Czech coup" was a Soviet backed riotus take over by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
It saw Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, who had been a powerful force since the 1920s. The Communists had got 38% of the vote in 1946 election. A coalition was set up with 9 Communists and 17 non-Communists and Klement Gottwald became Prime Minister. President Beneš was not communist, but did like Stalin, wished to Co-operate with the USSR and appreciated the Soviet liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945. The nation was in ruins and needed help, which the Soviets and USA appeared willing to give at first.
The Communist Interior Minister Václav Nosek began a purge of non-communists and talked about collectivising farms thoroughly upset the population in the summer of 1947. He out manoeuvred Edvard Beneš, who was terrified of a Soviet takeover in the February 1948. Insurrectionist armed local militias and the police took over Prague as Communist demonstrations were mounted and an anti-Communist student demonstration was broken up by armed gangs, local militias and cops. The non-Communist ministers had there ministerial offices were occupied and their civil servants dismissed. The Czechoslovakian army, under the direction of the formally non-partisan, but non the less pro-communist Defence Minister Ludvík Svoboda, was confined to barracks and did not intervene in the event. Communist Party leader Klement Gottwald threatened a national strike if President Beneš did not give in.
On 9 May, a new constitution was approved by parliament declaring Czechoslovakia a semi-communist "people's democracy,", but it was to idealogical pro-Soviet model that President Beneš refused to sign it. At the 30 May elections, had a single National Front party list, which officially won 89.2% of the vote and out of this vote, the Communists and the Social Democrats (who soon merged in to them) had an absolute majority. Most non-communist parties who had participated in the 1946 election were also represented on the National Front list and got parliamentary seats, but by this time were now loyal partners of the Communists or openly Communist themselves. The National Front became abroad patriotic/communist movement dominated by the Communist Party. All independent political groups and parties outside were banned after the National Front's victory. Consumed by these events and feeling both fed up, disgusted and obsolete, President Beneš resigned on 2 June and was succeeded by Klement Gottwald 12 days later. With this Czechoslovak fell under Soviet rule. The west excepted the Czechoslovak's demise as they thought intervening would complicate the already complex situation in Berlin.
As the hysteria and feelings of foreboding that gripped Western circles following the Czech coup, most inter-government and America public support for the USSR slumped dramaticly. Opposition towards the Marshall Plan had developed over a short while earlyer in the United States Congress, but the shocked and aroused public opinion overwhelmed this, and Congress promptly approved over US$5 billion for the first year of the European Recovery Program. The main goal had been the economic containment of Communism, primarily through the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and a heavy reliance on the spread of atomic power and the fear of a predicted Soviet nucliar bomb as a political-economic shield to support it.
After the coup U.S. military budget. It helped spark a new round of Pentagon started lobbying for a substantial rise in the military budget, while the NSC called for "a worldwide counter-offensive" against the emerging Soviet bloc, including military aid to the Western European Union.
America's President Harry S. Truman knew that a war weary American public of 1946 and 1947 were not willing for a massive conventional arms build-up or a confrontation with the Soviet Union. Reluctanty he increased the military budget dramatically via a gradual and balanced buildup. Expecting to spend large amounts on the Marshall Plan, he sought to keep the annual defence budget below $15 billion.</span>
In Italy, the PCI, through the use of its dominant position in the trade union movement, to organise industrial disturbances not only to sabotage the success of the Marshall Plan and also to subvert the Italian government from with in through factory committees of action as had happened in Czechoslovakia.
The elections were scheduled for 18 April and the Communist-dominated Popular Democratic Front actually stood a realistic chance of victory due to a popular backlash against the far-righting policy of the former Fascist Party in WW2. it was concluded that similar tactics could be employed in Italy as in Czechoslovakia and that the election may not even take place. British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin agreed Britain must support the Christian Democrats, despite its faults and emerging corruption.
The popular French Communist Party (PCF) could exploit and harness to instigate a coup of its own but, the PCF's failed policy of sabotage and the Marshall Plan's arrival eventually won over French public opinion. 70% of French people believed America would the most help France, compared to 7% who chose the USSR instead and a small body of opinion which said no one or the UK. Despite French concern about a strong or materialistic Germany, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Soviet threat was greater than the German. While France would still seek an advantageous power position vis-à-vis Germany, but it was becoming reconciled with prospect of a rehabilitated Germany as part of a democratic postwar Europe.
For years Britain had supported Greece, but was now near bankruptcy due to the Second World War and was thus forced to end all meaningful involvement in Greece. This is why Britain formally requested the United States take over its role in supporting Greece during the February of 1947. Yugoslavia and Bulgaria had also got plans to spread communism to Greece, conquer Albania and set up a Yugoslav puppet state in Greek Macedonia.
President Truman stated to his political opponents in the U.S. during crisis of the Greek Civil War of 1946–1949 that if Greece and Turkey did not receive the aid that they both urgently needed, they would inevitably fall to communism or be over run by their communist neighbours, with very grave consequences throughout the region. Both were also be treated equily despit Greece being in more need of help since he id not want to inflame Greco-Turkish rivelries either. The Republicans who controlled Congress and agreed to send $400 million in American money, but no military forces or material aid, to the region. Greece and Turkey the military alliance joined NATO in 1952 since it guaranteed their protection from communist invasion and terrorism.
- Czechoslovakian leaders
- Marshall Plan
- Berlin airlift
- Allied plans for Germany
- Warsaw Pact
- Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
- Greek Civil War of 1946–1949
- Lord Louis Mountbatten's very British coup
- What is a coup d'état?