Trapped (Post 1 of 3) Communism in Czechoslovakia

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Gates at Prague Castle

Hundreds of thousands flee their home country that they had never wanted to leave. Hundreds are executed and shot trying to escape. Thousands of prison deaths among the hundreds of thousand wrongfully imprisoned. A young college student sets himself on fire in the city center protesting the corrupt regime. He died a few days later. Another student follows his lead Shorty after.

This was life in Czechoslovakia from 1948-1989.

Communism is more than just a form of governing. 

Up to this point in my life I didn’t really know much about the communist regime and its effects on a culture. I knew the basics of what communism was and that many people see it as a horrific way of governing, but I didn’t really know more than that. Once I decided I was going to Czech Republic for my next trip I started researching the history of the country and in turn, I learned a lot about communism.

Well, my eyes have been opened to say the least. No wonder I felt as if I dropped the “F-BOMB” when I or others uttered the word in public. I had no idea the lengths of control and evil it entailed. I think being dictated by a Roman Emperor would give a person more freedom. And if my history serves me, I think it did.

I feel it’s extremely important for me to write about this subject because I want people who, like me, had no idea the extent of it to perhaps have their eyes opened too.

So there you are. You find yourself finally free of Nazi horror dominating your country only to realize you are not really free at all. The soviets came in to “liberate” your country but never left.

How did this happen?

You have two choices: Fully cooperate and participate with a government that’s controlling your every move or try to overthrow the government, which would most likely get you killed or incarcerated. There is no such thing as a fair trial.

What a horrible trap to be in. It’s like a living nightmare that you can’t wake up from. I feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. 

To me, it’s like being treated like a 5 year old child but 10 times worse. Walking on eggshells at all times, hoping not to get in trouble, so many rules, regulations, structure, afraid to say anything out of line or you may get killed, having to do everything exactly how they tell you to do it… but worse… nothing in life to aspire to. Assigned the same mundane job as everyone else where there is no opportunity for advancement unless you decide to join “them.”

Oh the control. The wicked control that I can’t even begin to imagine as an American. How could you consider yourself having a meaningful purpose for living, except, if nothing else then to try to overthrow the regime.

Communist government controls and regulates what the people see on the television, internet, newspapers and every other form of media you can think of. They regulate every aspect of life one could think of: child birth, marriage, housing, jobs etc. The Government makes it extremely easy for people to live their lives the way they want them to by rewarding with stipends such a good housing, better jobs etc. On the flip-side they make it extremely difficult for them to live their live the way they want. People chose a way of life that they may have not necessarily wanted to lead, but that was the only way for them to live somewhat well. 

What hits home to me is the restriction to travel. I couldn’t imagine my life without learning and experiencing other places and cultures. It has made me the person I am today, which is completely different than the person I was before I began to travel and study history. No wonder they don’t want their people to travel, that would let them see how much better their world could really be and question and recognize the injustice in the world around them. 


To be continued… Prague uprising


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