February Events of 1948

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

February Events of 1948

 

in Czechoslovakia, the unsuccessful counterrevolutionary attempt by the bourgeois reactionary leaders of the National Socialist, People’s, and Slovak Democratic parties to overthrow the regime of the people’s democracy and restore capitalism in the country (February 20–25).

On February 20 the ministers who represented the bourgeois parties resigned with the intention of provoking a government crisis, bringing down the government of K. Gottwald, and forming a new government without the Communists. A majority of the ministers (the Communists, Left Social Democrats, and those without party affiliation) remained in the government. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC) called on the people to rise up in defense of the people’s democracy. Protest meetings and demonstrations against the reactionaries were held throughout the country. A congress of delegates representing the soviets of industrial plants was held in Prague on February 22; speaking on behalf of the working class of Czechoslovakia, the congress demanded the reactionaries’ removal from the government and the subsequent implementation of revolutionary changes. In protest against the reactionaries’ activities, the congress announced a one-hour general strike to take place on February 24.

With its newly formed people’s militia, 10,000 strong, the Czech working class succeeded in cutting off all attempts at organized bourgeois demonstrations. At the call of the Central Committee of the CPC, action committees were set up within industrial enterprises, in the National Front organizations, and in the various population centers. On February 23 the National Front set up a central action committee consisting of progressive representatives of all the political parties, public organizations, and the armed forces. On February 25, President E. Benes accepted the reactionary ministers’ resignation and directed Gottwald to fill the vacant posts with new members.

The workers’ victory led to the full assumption of state power by the working class and created the necessary conditions for socialist construction. The people’s democratic revolution was thus transformed into a socialist revolution.

A. I. NEDOREZOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.