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28 Oct 2009 00:00 - 00:00

Mary Heimann : Czechoslovakia; The State That Failed

Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed tells the story of the country from its founding in 1918 to partition in 1992 – from fledgling democracy through Nazi occupation, invasion by the Soviet Union and imposed Stalinist rule and final return to democracy.

Publishing on Czech Republic’s independence day, Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed will also be published in time to commemorate the 20 year anniversary since Czechoslovakia’s own ‘Velvet Revolution’ on 17th November.

Mary Heimann dispels many of the myths that have been held about Czechoslovakia and rejects any simplistic interpretations of its history. She focuses particularly on nationalism as a constant throughout the many political upheavals and the intolerance it bore. This, together with an unhelpful sense of victimhood, opportunism and chauvinism led Czech and Slovak authorities to discriminate against minorities, compete with the Nazis to persecute Jews and Gypsies and pave the way for a Communist police state. She also reveals Alexander Dubcek, held to be a national hero and standard-bearer for democracy, as an unprincipled apparatchik.

In the writing of this comprehensive and revisionist book, Mary Heimann immersed herself in her subject by moving to Czechoslovakia and learning to speak the language. She has approached the complexities of Czechoslovakia from the unique position of having first hand access to Czech and Slovak archives, including previously inaccessible secret police documents. She gives full weight to the state’s authoritarian and fascist periods as well as its Socialist periods; and takes seriously not only Czech and Slovak experiences but also those of Czechoslovakia’s important smaller ethnic groups.  She vividly reveals this fascinating story of the state that survived all political systems except democracy, making Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed a ground-breaking book which should become the standard history of Czechoslovakia in years to come.

For more information click here 


30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


28 Oct 2009 00:00 - 00:00


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