International conference: “Anti-communist resistance”

This conference is dedicated to the memory of Milada Horáková

Logo Conference “Anti-communist resistance” After the communist putsch in February 1948, Czech society had to endure a very difficult period. One important aspect of life in the country at that time consisted of resistance to the communist authorities who established a harsh totalitarian regime with the Constitution of 9 May 1948 followed by a raft of laws. Anti-communist resistance took a number of forms, which have not yet been sufficiently researched, not even 20 years after the fall of communism.

The conference day will be divided into three panels, and the second panel will take place in two halls simultaneously. Papers that underwent a review process in March have been included in the programme.

1. Anti-communist resistance abroad

This group of contributions looks at the political situation (comprising a wide range of organisations and activities) as well as the life of émigrés, including their unsuccessful efforts to establish central organisations.

2. Domestic anti-communist resistance and defiance

Domestic anti-communist resistance and defiance did not just exhaustively prepare for an anticipated conflict, but also included a wide range of actions, comprising pamphlet campaigns, satirical literature, sabotage operations, organising incursions across guarded borders, the activity of agent-couriers, the support of the partisans, efforts to obtain as much important information and news as possible, and ultimately striving to create central bodies for home-grown anti-communist resistance. Even State Security bodies calculated that there were several hundred active resistance groups, and once again our current knowledge of this falls far short of the reality that existed at that time.

3. The National Security Corps, State Security and anti-resistance security forces

To understand the spirit of the times, it is also necessary to shed some light on the operations of the repressive apparatus of communist power (particularly the State Security secret police agency, but also the National Security Corps and various commissions). This includes looking at the activity and results of these bodies, by way of the regime’s own evaluation of this apparatus (Act No. 286/1948 of the Collection of Laws, etc.). Documents drawn up by those who were in power at the time indicate that these institutions were well aware that the anti-communist resistance in the Czech Socialist Republic had a “substantially large base”, and they prepared for so-called “culmination points” when they expected an outbreak of anti-regime resistance activities.


Conference opening

Moderator Jan Kalous: Michal Klíma, Zora Dvořáková, Zdeněk Hazdra, Václav Veber

Panel: Anti-communist resistance abroad

Moderator Jan Kalous: Slavomír Michálek, František Hanzlík, Jaroslav Vrzala, Miroslav Novák, Ladislav Kudrna

Panel: Domestic anti-communist resistance and defiance

Moderator Jaroslav Rokoský: Tomáš Bursík, Kamil Nedvědický, Ivo Pejčoch, Jan Cholínský Moderator Libor Svoboda: Karel Konečný, Petr Svoboda, Martin Tichý, Kateřina Joklová

Conference programme

  • 8:30 am-9 am enrolment
  • 9 am-9:30 am start of the conference
    • HALL 302
      Moderator: Jan Kalous

      • Michal Klíma, rector of the Metropolitan University Prague
      • Zora Dvořáková, Milada Horáková Club
      • Zdeněk Hazdra, director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
      • Václav Veber: Anti-communist resistance as a theme of contemporary historiography
  • 9:30 am -11:10 am Panel: Anti-communist resistance abroad
    • HALL 302
      Moderator: Jan Kalous

      • Slavomír Michálek: The American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees – part of the anti-communist resistance abroad
      • Miroslav Novák: My witness account of Catholics in exile and Czechoslovak Christian Democracy, in particular
      • František Hanzlík: The formation of the Czechoslovak army in exile and problems with its activity in the 1950s.
      • Ladislav Kudrna: Czechoslovaks as members of the Foreign Legion in Indochina during the so-called First Indochina War of 1946-1954 (known as the “First Vietnam War” in Czech)
      • Jaroslav Vrzala: Memories of the magazine Svědectví or how things went in Paris
  • 11:10 am-11:30 am coffee break
  • 11:30 am-12:50 pm Panel: Domestic anti-communist resistance and defiance – First Part
    • HALL 302
      Moderator: Jaroslav Rokoský

      • Tomáš Bursík: Political programmes and domestic anti-communist resistance?
      • Kamil Nedvědický: Communist law against anti-communist resistance
      • Ivo Pejčoch: Ladislav Číhal – the first alleged attempt at a military anti-communist coup
      • Jan Cholínský: Josef Kalvoda and Vlastislav Chalupa – two destinies and two rebellions
    • HALL 201
      Moderator: Libor Svoboda

      • Karel Konečný: The military resistance group of General Talášek in the Olomoucko region 1956-1958
      • Petr Svoboda: The activity of the “For Freedom” resistance group (1948-1951). Resistance under the control of State Security
      • Martin Tichý: Anti-communist resistance as a form of responsibility. Two different approaches, a similar fate – Miloslav Krejza and Jiří Janda
      • Kateřina Joklová: The Christian Democratic Party and its disbandment in northwest Bohemia
  • 12:50 pm-2 pm lunch
  • 2 pm-3 pm Panel: Domestic anti-communist resistance and defiance – Second Part
    • HALL 302
      Moderator: Světlana Ptáčníková

      • Jaroslav Rokoský: “New Europe”. The objectives and the reality of the resistance group
      • Jiří Šindar: The activities of the “National Underground Centre”
      • Markéta Doležalová: Hory Hostýnské (the “Hostýn Hills” resistance group) – truth and lies
    • HALL 201
      Moderator: Marie Bočková

      Libor Svoboda: A group of Prague criminologists in the anti-communist resistance Jakub Šlouf: Pro-American demonstrations in Plzeň, 5-6 May 1948 Jiří Urban: Action again forced collectivisation. The case of the Hrubý farming family
  • 3 pm-3:15 pm coffee break
  • 3:15 pm-4:15 pm Panel: The National Security Corps, State Security and anti-resistance security forces
    • HALL 302
      Moderator: Alena Šimánková

      • Jan Kalous: State Security and anti-communist resistance in the years 1948-1951
      • Pavel Vaněk: The Border Guards and the suppression of border-crossing attempts as well as the cross-border-transfer activities of the population in the years 1951-1952
      • Prokop Tomek: The “Iron” intelligence group and its infiltration by Czechoslovak military intelligence 1948-1952
  • 4:15 pm-5:00 pm Closing discussion
  • 5:00pm end of the conference, refreshments