Prague Spring, 1968
“Prague is not an uncaring backdrop which stands impassive, ignoring happiness and suffering alike. Prague lives in the lives of her people and they repay her with the love we usually reserve for other human beings. Prague is not an aggregate of buildings where people are born, work, and die. She is alive, sad, and brave, and when she smiles with spring, her smile glistens like a tear.”
The year is 1968: Twenty years have passed since the communist party came to power in the coup known as Victorious February. The harshest days of the regime have come and gone–over a decade has passed since Klement Gottwald’s campaign of terror came to an end. Yet while the show trials and purges have slowed significantly, the country is far from the workers’ paradise many Czechoslovaks hoped the revolution would bring. Citizens across the country are making increasingly loud calls for reform. Alexander Dubček, an outspoken reformist, has recently been appointed First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (also known as the KSČ). With decades of frustration and a newly appointed head of state, many Czechoslovaks believe now is the time for radical change.
Yet party hardliners and Soviet officials are closely watching these developments with growing unease, looking unfavorably on the reformist movement and its many demands. The Soviet Union is unafraid of using force to impose their will, even against allied nations–this was recently demonstrated by their brutal and swift response to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
Delegates will work to chart a path for Czechoslovakia, taking into account the goals and principles of the KSČ and the nation itself. Like in the real-world Prague Spring, it is not only politicians and party cadres working to enact change–but also media personalities, artists, dissidents, scholars, workers, and many more. Delegates will need to chart a path for Czechoslovakia that acknowledges the often conflicting desires of various factions, many of whom call for some form of change– though few can agree on what kind.
It is springtime in Prague, and the nation itself is in a season of rebirth; how will the country grow? The metamorphosis of Czechoslovakia has already begun–but her ultimate form will be up to you.
Hello! My name is Allee McDonald and I’m a senior studying History with a minor in Political Science. I came to Clark from a city in Northwest Florida, in the region lovingly known as ‘Floribama’. I’m passionate about studying all sorts of history, especially during the Cold War-era; which may or may not have been influenced by video games such as “Papers, Please” and “Fallout”. I’m currently writing an honors thesis on Czechoslovakian animation during the 60s & 70s, inspired by my love for the beloved Czech cartoon “Krtek”. Outside of MUN, I enjoy doing Quiz Bowl, working out, and playing video games. This is my fourth ClarkMUN, and I couldn’t be more excited to be chairing this committee: Prague Spring was, and is, a very special moment in history that often gets forgotten in the ‘bigger picture’ of Cold War history. With countless topics to debate and crisis arcs to pursue, I can’t wait to see how you all bring this committee to life!
Chair e-mail: AlMcDonald@clarku.edu