Summary

Proměny diskursu české marxistické historiografie (Kapitoly z historiografie 20. století)

 

This book shows the results of the cooperation between Czech and foreign scientists; they have studied the area of Czech Marxist and Marxist-Leninist historiography. The task to study this field has been particularly specified by the fact that this historiography had not been thoroughly examined before. Therefore we would like to offer some partial interpretation and views on the whole range of questions, which arise in connection with the topic. This volume could be only one of the foundation stones of the research into the historiography of 1945-1989. However, all possible approaches are to be found in this book - comments on scientific institutions, texts elucidating opinions and roles of individual historians and the development of particular branches, contributions showing the "class-view". What more, assessing the period of 1945-1953 with the key moment in 1948, views on 1968 and the following "consolidation" have to be mentioned.

The fact that the eras of the 1970's and the 1980's are represented by a minority of chapters is more or less symbolic. It is difficult to state if the reason is the perceiving of the contemporaneity by nowadays historians. The whole problem could be probably represented by the "floating gap" of social, communicative and culture memory. Concerning the average age of the authors in this collective monograph, it can be said, that the 1960's as a subject of examining the Czech historiography have been moved to the area of the real historical research, to the culture memory.

The introductory part consists of chapters by Bohumil Jiroušek and Christiane Brenner. Bohumil Jiroušek talks about the general development of the historiography in the era of Communism and his study outlines several problematic questions of the topic and its examining. Christiane Brenner shows the concept of the communist totalitarianism as a starting point of the general view on the divided world of the East and the West - as a possible starting point for the interpretation of the society and its thinking in the era of Marxist-Leninist indoctrination.

In the second part, the following chapters put the Czech historiography into a wider context - Maciej Górny compares some aspects of the interpretation of the Marxist historiography history in Czechoslovakia, Poland and DDR. Marco Paolino uses the example of Italian and DDR historians in order to show the different situation of the Marxist oriented scientists in the West and in the East bloc. Vojtěch Kyncl analyzes the picture of Germany in the first volumes of The Czech Historical Review (1953-1959) and points out that Marxist historiography in Czechoslovakia was able to accept a former Prague Nazi ideology supporter Eduard Winter as a Marxist - because of his growing importance in DDR historiography. Finally, Dagmar Blümlová studies the discussion concerning the notion "nation" in the Soviet Union as a deformation of the scientific ideas under the rule of ideology and fear of own ideas.

The third part is devoted completely to the introducing Marxism to the Czech historiography. At the beginning of this section, Doubravka Olšávková speaks about Ladislav Štoll, especially in the connection with discussions on the Czech culture in 1945-1948. This is followed by the text by Hana Kábová who treats young Jan Pachta's affection for Marxism in the interwar period. Milan Ducháček explains problems of interwar period historians who wanted to continue their work after 1945 and mainly 1948 as exemplified in Václav Chaloupecký's case. Ladislav Švadlena talks about the Minister of Information Václav Kopecký in connection with Marxist-Leninist indoctrination of society and science around 1948. Pavel Holát describes the change of The State Historical Institute into The Historical Institute of ČSAV (Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences), the creation of an institute of a soviet model where human resources policy also followed the Soviets. Its director František Roubík was replaced in 1952 by Josef Macek and František Graus, two leading Marxists at the time. Markéta Devátá reminds the University of Politics and Economics existing in 1948-1953, where the ideology was more important than the sources interpretation and where the party policy took command. In spite of this fact, a lot of important figures of the Czech historiography in the 1950's and the 1960's were students or teachers at this school; some of them were proscribed after 1968 and excluded from the official historiography. Texts by Zdeněk Rubeš and František Bahenský deal with ethnography as a branch of history concerning nationalities and ethnic groups. The first text shows the change of a pre-war fairy-tales collector Josef Štefan Kubín into a communist supporter in issues as creating the united agriculture cooperatives and criticizing Vatican. The second text introduces Otakar Nahodil, the main figure of the sovietization of the Czech ethnography. Jan Randák, in the final chapter of the third part, discusses the searching for the progressive, communist tradition in the thinking of a historian and the Minister of Education Zdeněk Nejedlý and its connection with reconstruction of the Bethlehem Chapel as a Hussite Center. The Hussite movement was not seen as a religious movement, but only as a victory of the poor, one of the early revolutions, more or less the only major revolutionary activity of the Czech people.

The fourth part deals with some aspects of the development of the Czech science of history in the 1950's and the 1960's in Czechoslovakia. Adam Hudek describes the question of creating Marxist periodization of the Czechoslovak history while there were two major concepts (that of Václav Husa and that of František Graus) in mutual opposition. And it was also necessary to perceive Slovaks' ideas (especially those of Miloš Gosiorovský) in order to create the unified history of both nations which had virtually existed in different states before 1918. Vítězslav Sommer analyzes changes in the effort to interpret the history of the Communist Party by party historians in the 1950's and the 1960's. Jakub Rákosník deals with the crucial element of the Marxist-Leninist historians' work - the category of class (the class struggle). Ivan Malý shows the implementation of the ideological struggle by means of purposely written history textbooks in the 1950's, including the usage of Soviet texts. Dalibor Vácha discovers problems connected with the interpretation of Czechoslovak fighting forces during WWI. The heart of the matter of this modern struggle for freedom is to be found as a threat to the Marxist interpretation of history, because the Czech legionnaires in Russia fought against the new-born Soviet state and the Red Army.

Jan Mervart focuses on medieval history, namely on the 14th century crisis in the work of Czech Marxists and then, particularly in the book Husitská ideologie (The ideology of Hussitism) by Robert Kalivoda. Jitka Rauchová deals with interwar avant-garde as an important ideological source which was more suppressed or misinterpreted than actually studied. Miroslav Novotný shows the topic of education in the era of Communism, when the older pedagogical methodology (J. A. Komenský) was studied thoroughly and the modern one was interpreted only in an ideological way. And, finally, Ivo Pospíšil explains changes in Marxist literature theories in connection with Russian patriotic movement of the 19th century, which was one of the Soviet ideology sources.

The last section suggests the following direction of research - the 1970's and the 1980's. Roman Šperňák describes the role of Václav Král in cleansings in historical institutes at the beginning of "normalization" after the Soviet invasion in 1968. The process of "renewal" was taking place under the command of Soviet ideology supervisors. One of the ideological texts is exemplified in Jiří Dvořák's chapter concerning a book about the South Bohemian region - Revoluční tradice jižních Čech (The Revolutionary Tradition in Southern Bohemia, 1971) by Bohumír Janoušek. On the contrary, Zdeněk Vybíral shows the young generation of historians in "normalization". They collided with contemporary ideological concepts and were searching for inspiration in philosophy, of course in that of Marxist and post-Marxist, but not in that of Marxist-Leninist. It can be stated, that the pressure on the science of history changed at the end of the 1970's and in the 1980's. The direct support for the regime was no more the essential task, the tolerance of the official communistic elite line was far more important.