Finally you say that we are under the command of Moscow and that we go there for the sake of reason. You are under the command of Commercial banks, Petschka, Weimann, Preiss, you are under the command of the League of Nations, that is, a society of imperialist predators, and you go to the Petschs, Weimanns, Rothschilds and Preisses in order to learn to blackmail the working people even better than before. And we, we are the party of the Czechoslovak proletariat, and our supreme revolutionary headquarters is indeed in Moscow. And we go to Moscow to learn, do you know that? We go to Moscow to learn from the Russian Bolsheviks how to wring your neck. And you know that the Russian Bolsheviks are experts in this!
Klement Gottwald in the houses of parliament (21st of December 1929)
V In the summer of 1924, a new orientation was announced at the 5th Congress of the Comintern, according to which the Communist parties were to submit completely to Moscow. Emphasis was placed on radicalisation and refusal to cooperate with democratic parties.
V February 1929, at the 5th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a new leadership was installed at its head. The ‘Karlin boys’ as Klement Gottwald referred to the group, promoted the bolshevization of the party. The result was a deep internal crisis, the departure of a large number of members, including many prominent intellectuals. The situation changed in the mid-1930s, when the Nazi threat forced the Communists to change their policies.
Klement Gottwald (1896-1953) was at the head of the Communist party from the year 1929. In 1934 he was the only candidate for president. In 1938 he stood against the acceptance of the Munich agreement. After the war, which he spent exiled in Moscow, he held the post of prime minister and advocated the establishment of absolute power of the Communist Party. In June 1948, after the resignation of Edvard Beneš, he was elected president. He feared for his own destiny and fell into alcoholism. At the same time, a personality cult around him was formed, which lasted until the fall of the communist regime in 1989.
Picture from the meeting of the 5th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1929 (Antonín Zápotocký is pictured)
Jaroslav Seifert was twice a member of the Communist party. He first left after the party’s bolshevization in 1929. He returned to the party after the war but was thrown out at the end of the 1940s. In the year 1976 he wrote Prohlášení Charty 77 (Declaration of Charter 77). In 1984 he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature (Wikimedia / photo: Hana Hamplová)
This photograph of the disguised Klement Gottwald was taken while he was hiding to avoid arrest. In August 1934 he secretly went to Moscow, where he stayed until the abolition of the arrest warrant in December 1935 (Klement Gottwald 1896-1953)
Klement Gottwald was already celebrated during his lifetime. Communist party propaganda poster of the time (archive of Jaroslav Čvančara)
About 2,200 left-wing Czechoslovaks fought in the Spanish Civil War in the years 1936-1939. Many of them not only fell victim to the Francoists, but at the beginning of the 1950s they fell into the clutches of political trials (Museum of South Bohemia in České Budějovice)
Joseph Stalin and Klement Gottwald in the stands at a sports parade in Moscow, July the 21st, 1946 (Klement Gottwald 1896-1953)