Marc Schulman


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Communist Seize Full Control over Czechoslovakia

Massarak with US Ambassador

With the end of World War II a new Czech government came into existence when a government called the National Front Coalition, made up of the three main socialist parties began governing. In elections held in May 1946 the communist party received the largest number of votes but did not achieve a majority. Edvard BeneŇ° the beloved wartime leader remained the President and Jan Massarak the son of the founder of modern Czechoslovakia was the Foreign Minster. The Communist however, were in charge of many key ministries including those that controlled internal security. The communist were initially supportive of the governments interest in being part of the Marshall Plan, however the communist leader Klement Gottwald was summoned to Moscow and returned an opponent of Czechoslovakia receiving Marshall Plan aid.

In January 1948 the communist began to purge non-communists from the police and other forces. Other members of the cabinet objected and in February they resigned. They hoped to force early elections in which they expected the communist to lose support. President Benes however, had not been consulted in did not call elections. Instead communist took over the ministries controlled by the ministers who had resigned and without firing a shot the Communist were now fully in control of Czechoslovakia. Benes soon resigned as President and Massarak committed suicide under questionable circumstances.