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This website of the Institute for Contemporary History intends to provide both professional and amateur researchers with basic information and access keys to subjects concerning the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Every twenty years a new generation usually develops, whereas in the history of 20th century Czechoslovakia this interval signified the life expectancy of political regimes. This is an opportunity to reflect and expand on our knowledge of annus mirabilis. With this website, 1989 Democratic Revolution, we hope to contribute to such reflections.

The citizens’ revolt against the communist regime that started on 17 November 1989 after the brutal suppression of a peaceful student demonstration was primarily driven by the desire of Czechs and Slovaks to determine their own fate within the principles of democracy and in a free and plural political environment. In 1989, after twenty years of enforced passivity, they became the subjects of their own history once again. As historians, we do not share the view of the Czechs and Slovaks being mere passive objects of superpower and intelligence games. On the other hand, it is obvious that the events happened in the geopolitical, ideological, and media context of the time, and, to a certain extent, also depended on the local traditions of political culture. It is therefore evident that documenting such a complex historical phenomenon is extremely challenging and time-consuming. We intend to supply more documents and images to the website, dating not only from November and December 1989, but also from the preceding period as well as from the short, but crucial period from January 1990 to the free parliamentary elections in June 1990.

 

The authors

Jiří Suk Ph.D.
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