Yuri Ivanovich








What were the words that Masaryk used that you, that you heard him say, when he came back from the meeting in Moscow?


Well I didn't hear it myself, because at that time I was still a clerk of the Government, not as yet Secretary of the Minister, Masaryk I became only a little bit afterwards Secretary, his Secretary, up to the last days. But my friends were there whom I met there afterwards, well my colleagues, Mr. Sp..... for example, who was just welcoming him at the airport, and Masaryk was very very sad when coming back, and he, it was not only Spa.... who has heard, Heidrich and others who heard that, he said; well I went to Moscow as Minister of Foreign Affairs of a free State, and I am returning as a slave of Stalin. What was very very sad. And this practically was the first official step I should say, that's not official ......, but publicly known step which was the beginning of the operation of Czechoslovakia ending with a coup in February '48. Afterwards one step followed another, and it is known that the, cominform in October of '47 decided that Czechoslovakia... that was clandestine, the Czechoslovak communists should take the power only in their hands. That was an order to the Czechoslovak communist party at the time.


Sorry, I'll just ask you to to say that last point again, I wasn't quite, can can you just tell me, at the cominform meeting in October '47 what the instructions were to the Czech communist party?


Well, yeah, I suppose that the materials of the cominform are much more accessible to you, because they are ..... see them you see, but they're, they were published I heard, or read somewhere. But as far as Czecis concerned, it was clearly, several times printed in our newspapers now in the last two or three years, and there was a statement ththe Czechoslovak communist party should take full power in their hands, without regarding other political parties. And they were given a certain time, about half a year, to do that. And this coincided with their own will, because just as a consequence of the UNRRA help and of the ration of our economic situation, in '47, '48, many people saw what was going on, the help was coming from West. Yeah, so they saw that our roots are in the West and not in the East. After the war, for example, the elections in 1948, '46 sorry, which were practically free democratic, well they came out so that the communists have normally got 38 person. And with the social democrats at that time they had got 51 person, that was a major ............... for the Government after ....... So they felt afterwards that just because of this Western help, as the Marshall Plan would have been afterwards, they would lose their waters, because they looked to the West, not to the East, and they wouldn't get this majority. And that fear, they feared that. So they had a lot of, lot, six plans prepared, it's now known, for some case of overthrow of the Government, or change of the Government, different plans, including some military actions. So that means that February '48, the coup in February was practically one of these possibilities. And this had to to be put in actions up to the proposed elections, new elections which were dew in two years, that means in May '48, they were, but they were already communist. Yeah.


So basically the communists had to act before the elections of May '48?..



Yes, the communists had to act after this coup, or without this coup, in each case before May '48, before the the normal elections, which were due .... in time.


So can you tell me, as briefly as possible, obviously, for our purposes, can you tell me very briefly what happened on that day in February, when the communists took power?


Well, the question is on that day, that was not one day. That was practically a week. Yeah. This coup was started actually with the [demation], it was a very very forced step. Now it is acknowledged already that the democratic ministers presented to the President, to Mr. B..... who was sick at that time, it's necessary to know it, their [demition], thinking that the Government would have to resign as a whole. Yeah. They were only two non-communist ministers, Masaryk and Svoboda, Svoboda was a General who was Minister of National Defence at that time. He was a communist but a clandestine communist, afterwards it was quite clear, but at the time it was not known. So, they miscal... and another thing was the social democratic minister, Lauschman..., who they thought he was pro-Westerner, but nevertheless they thought he would resign too. And they didn't. Masaryk I know about Masaryk, I do not know about Svoboda and so on, so where it's quite clear now because he was a communist, not being known at that time, but later on, but Masaryk prepared his resignation, he had a paper in his pocket when he was going to the President, he was asked by Mr. B..... to come over to the castle, and to discuss the thing, and B..... ask him not to... B.... was prepared to resign too. Both of them, because they were quite good friends, political friends. And, B..... ask him not to do it at that time, because he feared that something, bloodshed could come out, that the communists had everywhere their militia and some they ... a special, what was it, commandment of military, oh not of military, of police force. So they were only in communist hands. So they were practically in Prague already, with the guns and so on, the militia was marching over the streets, and there were b...., sorry, large crowds of people crying for that and there was no opposition at the time, because every was, everybody was was fearing what was going on. And B....., especially B....., was afraid that, I'm repeating, that some bloodshed could, and so he said to Masaryk that it is not appropriate to resign at that moment, they would do it, but later on, both of them would, they have done it, but later. And Masaryk, in this case, took out his paper and he tore it in pieces and put in basket there in the office of the President, so it's absolutely clear, it was so. So it was one case, and the real consequence of the step of these ministers, that means of the resignation of the ministers was that the communist party and this militia and so begin to assemble and to do much, much harm, not sorry, much it's...