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Czechoslovakia Table of Contents



Founded in 1921, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunisticka strana Ceskoslovenska--KSC) was one of some twenty political parties that competed within the democratic framework of the Czechoslovak Republic (also known as the First Republic), but it never gained sufficient strength to be included in that government (see Czechoslovak Democracy , ch. 1). During World War lI many KSC leaders sought refuge in the Soviet Union, where they made preparations to increase the party's power base once the war ended. In the early postwar period the Soviet-supported Czechoslovak communists launched a sustained drive that culminated in their seizure of power in 1948. Once in control, the KSC developed an organizational structure and mode of rule patterned closely after those of the CPSU.

Power is formally held by the National Front of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, a coalition in which the KSC holds two-thirds of the seats while the remaining one-third are shared among five other political parties. But in fact the KSC holds an absolute monopoly on political power, and the other parties within the National Front are little more than auxiliaries. Even the governmental structure of Czechoslovakia exists primarily to implement policy decisions made within the KSC. To ensure its monopoly on power, the KSC places its members in all policy-making positions within the government.

Data as of August 1987