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Moscow Exile

Expressing the infinite gratitude of the Czech and Slovak nations to the Soviet Union, the government will consider its closest alliance with the victorious Slavic power in the East to be the unwavering guideline for Czechoslovak foreign policy. The Czechoslovak-Soviet Treaty of the 12th of December 1943 on mutual assistance, friendship and post war cooperation will determine the foreign policy position of our state for the foreseeable future. With the help of the Soviet Union, the liberation of the Czechoslovak Republic will be accomplished so that its freedom and security will be secured forever, and that, with the all-round cooperation of the Soviet Union, the peoples of Czechoslovakia will be assured of a peaceful development and a happy future.

Košický government program, article IV (5th of April 1945)

It was only after Hitler’s attack on the USSR that the Communist Party leadership abandoned its anti Beneš rhetoric and began from Moscow to instruct the domestic communist underground to ally with the democratic resistance. The restoration of Czechoslovakia had now become a Soviet priority, increasing the prestige of the exiled president Edvard Beneš himself (1884-1948), but also of the Moscow centre led by Gottwald. Beneš incorporated the Soviet Union into his security calculations as early as 1935. In the second half of the war, his yielding towards Moscow was motivated by fears that it was better not to make an enemy of Stalin, who was heading for dominance in Central Europe. By concluding the Czechoslovak-Soviet alliance treaty of December 1943, Czechoslovak policy was in fact subordinated to the Soviets, which was reflected in the management of the Czechoslovak army units on the Eastern Front.
The fundamental negotiations on the post-war form of the Czechoslovak Republic took place in the spring of 1945, during which the Communists were able to put forward their own program. The content of the Košicky government program was proof of this. The national front system, in which the Communist Party played a dominant role, was used in all Soviet states after World War II. No political party was allowed to operate in Czechoslovakia outside the framework of the national front. A number of first republic political entities were not restored, including the strongest agrarian party. A similar situation was found amongst social organisations. After February 1948, the National Front of Czechs and Slovaks was just a gear lever of the Communist Party.


Jan Šverma, Zdeněk Nejedlý and Klement Gottwald during a visit to a Czechoslovak army unit in Novochopjorsk in 1943 (Gottwald is pictured)

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Commander of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps, General Ludvík Svoboda, Corps Education Officer Staff Captain JUDr. Jaroslav Procházka and his representative Staff Captain Bedřich Reicin, who in January 1945 was appointed Commander of Defence Intelligence. Reicin was famous for the indiscriminate methods he used against opponents of the Communists. The film captures the crossing of the Czechoslovak border at Dukla in October 1944 (Czechoslovak Argmy Corps in the USSR)


The funeral of the founder of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Bohumír Šmeral in Moscow in May 1941 (Gottwald is pictured)


Demonstration convened by the Czechoslovak government on the occasion of the proclamation of a decree on the nationalization of key industries (Klement Gottwald 1896-1953)

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Map of a part of Europe divided from the second half of the 1940s into two blocks (MXX)