November ’89 – a milestone in the development of the Slovak society and its international context Cover Image

November 89. Medzník vo vývoji slovenskej spoločnosti a jeho medzinárodný kontext
November ’89 – a milestone in the development of the Slovak society and its international context

Author(s): Miroslav Londák, Elena Londáková, Jan Pešek, Alžbeta Sedliaková, Natália Veselská, Milan Zemko, Jozef Žatkuliak
Contributor(s): Eva Kratochvílová (Editor)
Subject(s): Diplomatic history, Political history, Government/Political systems, Post-War period (1950 - 1989), History of Communism
Published by: Historický ústav SAV
Keywords: Slovakia; Czechoslovakia; 20th century; politics; communism; political system; democracy; social changes;
Summary/Abstract: November 17th 1989 is one of the most important milestones in the Slovak and Czech history in the 20th century. It initiated deep social changes and it led to global changes of the political system, and in consequence it opened the way for a Slovak and Czech society’s way towards democracy – political and economic plurality, civic and political freedom. It was put an end to the monopole of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, that continuously held the political power in country since the coup d’état in February 1948 and forced the Slovak and Czech society to accept its will through directives, and often frequently, by using the force. Both societies as well as national minorities living in Czechoslovakia expected from the November ’89 not only some partial corrections of socialism, what was the case more than twenty years before during the crucial events of the Czechoslovak Spring in 1968. In November 1989, the inhabitants of Czechoslovakia wanted something more – their allegations were going behind the frames of the existing socio-political system. They had enough experience with the practices and the policy of the communist regime, more than years before they were able to compare the existing political situation and the economic conditions with the situation in the democratic Europe in order to formulate more concrete expectations concerning the future. The distance between the people and the policy of the communist regime was more and more evident, as they confronted their own conditions with the situation in the democratic countries of Western Europe. On the other hand, there was a part of society that was relatively satisfied by some social conveniences offered by the socialist system, although these conveniences were often insufficient and strictly limited by the stagnating and unproductive economic system. The leaders of communist party were aware of the fact that their normalization-policy and incapability to introduce essential corrections of the political mechanism felt into the contradiction with changing inner political and social atmosphere in Czechoslovakia. It was in the first half of 1980’s, when it came to an outstanding differentiation of both Slovak and Czech society. A new generation grew up, which by its background determined by education and ideas completely exasperated the existing social-political and cultural-economic reality and was far beyond the normalization-policy of the communist regime. In its distance or even antipathy to the political regime, this new “wave” found common interest with the disappointed generation of 1968. Its another “ally” was a respectable part of Slovak and Czech intelligence in its effort to accentuate the adherence to human rights and civil liberties and the observance of religious freedom, cultural freedom, the freedom of education and scientific research. Main part of this publication, which contains also an introduction and selected bibliography, is focused on chronological overview of historical events concerning in particular Slovakia, although in a whole-Czechoslovak context. It is divided in two main parts. The first one starts with the silent manifestation of March 25, 1988, the so-called “candlelight demonstration”, that become one of the most significant manifestations of resistance against the communist regime. The end of this part is marked by November 16, 1989, that means by the eve of the events that had enormous importance for the whole development of Slovak and Czech society. The second part begins with November 17, 1989, and goes on till parliamentary elections that took place on June 8 – 9, 1990, e.g. elections of constitutional functionaries and the creation of federal and national governments in both parts of republic. The authors of both chronologically divided parts were taking into account the social-political, constitutional, economical, cultural, social and other context. Also reflected are international affairs of that time, first of all the social movement in the neighbor states Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary and other states. At the same time the authors consider corrections in bilateral relations between the USSR and the USA as well as the Soviet Perestroika, which brought new impetus to the Slovak and Czech society and which in many aspects gave them an “eye opening” look. The impact of the Helsinkiprocess aimed at the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the cooperation between the East and the West was similar. At the end of 1980’s, the Perestroika and the Helsinki-process had crucial influence on the inner political and social development in Czechoslovakia. The bipolar world was slowly falling into pieces and the iron curtain between the East and the West was about to became history. Chronological records listed in both parts of this publication indicate, that the main protagonists of social/political development right after November ’89 – the VPN (Public against Violence) in Slovakia and the OF (Citizens Forum) in the Czech lands – laid down the condition of radical social transformation including a new order, pluralistic political system and parliamentary democracy and the reconstruction of local selfgovernment, as well as the consistent modification of state-political relations between the Slovak and Czech nation and the beginning of a economic and social reform. Further, they demanded freedom for culture, educational system and science and the revaluation of the foreign policy of Czecho-Slovak federation. Until the parliamentary elections in June 1990, the Slovak and Czech society overrun a fundamental transformation process in all spheres. Compared to similar development taking place in the neighbor states, this transformation process had some specific elements. Nevertheless, besides all specifics, all Central European post-communist states were about to participate in the process of European integration.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-80-89396-04-7
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-80-89396-04-7
  • Page Count: 247
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Language: Slovak
Úvod

Úvod
(Introduction)

Slovensko na ceste k politickej a občianskej slobode (Od nástupu Michaila S. Gorbačova na čelo KSSZ v marci 1985 po prvé slobodné voľby v júni 1990)

Slovensko na ceste k politickej a občianskej slobode (Od nástupu Michaila S. Gorbačova na čelo KSSZ v marci 1985 po prvé slobodné voľby v júni 1990)
(Slovakia on the Way to Political and Civil Liberties (Since the inauguration of Mikhail S. Gorbachev on the front of the KSSZ in March 1985 after the first free elections in June 1990))

Od sviečkovej manifestácie v marci 1988 v Bratislave do 16. novembra 1989

Od sviečkovej manifestácie v marci 1988 v Bratislave do 16. novembra 1989
(Since the Candle Demonstration in March 1988 in Bratislava until November 16, 1989)

Zmena spoločenského systému na Slovensku a v Československu po 17. novembri 1989 do júnových volieb 1990

Zmena spoločenského systému na Slovensku a v Československu po 17. novembri 1989 do júnových volieb 1990
(Change of the social system in Slovakia and Czechoslovakia after 17 November 1989 to the June 1990 elections)

Výberová bibliografia prác k obdobiu Novembra´89

Výberová bibliografia prác k obdobiu Novembra´89
(Selection bibliography of works for the period Novembra'89)

Zoznam použitých skratiek

Zoznam použitých skratiek
(List of abbreviations used)

Menný register

Menný register
(Name Registry)

Summary

Summary
(Summary)