‘We Don’t Want a Youth Association If It Means Red Reins!’ The Political Life of Prague and Pilsen Secondary-school Students in 1945–48 Cover Image

„Nechceme svaz mládeže, když má rudé otěže!“ Politický život pražských a plzeňských středoškoláků v letech 1945–1948
‘We Don’t Want a Youth Association If It Means Red Reins!’ The Political Life of Prague and Pilsen Secondary-school Students in 1945–48

Author(s): Jakub Šlouf
Subject(s): History
Published by: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR

Summary/Abstract: At three levels (state-wide, regional, and the class of one school) this article examines how political disputes in post-Second World War Czechoslovakia entered the lives of secondary-school students. According to the author, a substantial number of publicly active secondary-school students in 1946–48 efused to be part of the united Czech Youth Organization (Svaz české mládeže), which worked closely with the Czechoslovak Communist Party (CPCz), and sought instead to establish a separate Organization of Secondary-school Students (Svaz středoškolského studentstva). Despite clear support from the Czechoslovak National Social Party and the Czechoslovak Populist Party, the attempts to legalize the new association of secondary-school students before the Communist takeover in late February 1948 were unsuccessful. In the region of west Bohemia, moreover, the attempts at emancipation of secondary-school organizations were intensified by students’ sympathies for west European and American culture and by their widespread respect for the US Army, which had liberated west Bohemia towards the end of the Second World War. In Pilsen therefore an independent Regional Secondary-school Council (Krajská středoškolská rada) had emerged already in late 1945 and early 1946. It eventually began to publish its own pro-Western periodical, Studentský hlasatel (The Students’ Herald), which was distributed to other regions as well. After the Communist takeover, Pilsen secondary-school students clamoured for several protest demonstrations and tended to favour the establishment of ‘resistance’ organizations right at their schools. Using the example of one ‘underground’ group formed at a Pilsen business academy, the article demonstrates the way in which erstwhile adherents of the Czech Youth Organization became an instrument for the post-takeover ‘purges’ of schools, and shows how former opponents of the organization, by contrast, became joined student ‘resistance’ organizations and also how naivety, dilemmas, and risks sometimes accompanied this crystallization.

  • Issue Year: XVIII/2011
  • Issue No: 04
  • Page Range: 627-668
  • Page Count: 42
  • Language: Czech