This book analyzes the first of the vast popular uprisings in the countries of Eastern Bloc, the revolt of West Bohemian City of Pilsen against the currency reform of June 1, 1953. The text is the first complex critical monograph on this topic. In the methodological field the research is inspired by the theories of so-called new social movements. Therefore, the book frames the Pilsen revolt into the context of previous protest actions that had taken place in the examined region after the establishment of communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia. Thus, the text deals with all the conflicts occurred within the years 1948–1953. This method enables the author to study several protest cultures which operated on a long-term base in various parts of the society and which—each of them in a different way—affected the course of the Pilsen revolt.
Jakub Šlouf is a researcher at the National Archives in Prague and the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in the Czech Republic.
List of Figures
Abbreviations and Glossary of Terms
1. Public Protests in Pilsen in the Years 1948−1949
2. Worker Strikes at the Škoda Works in 1949–1953
3. Pilsen Strikes and Protests on 1 June 1953
List of Archive Fonds and Abbreviations
About the Author
This book is a seminal and entirely original study of the Pilsen revolt against the currency reform of June 1953, one of the crucial events from the early days of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Thanks to the author’s erudite exploration of historical sources—thoroughly backed up by theoretical research—as well as the concise, engaging presentation of his findings, this book surpasses anything published about the subject to this date.
This study is not merely a detailed reconstruction of the Pilsen riots, thoroughly backed up by historical sources. It is a case study that provides important insights and detailed analyses of the relationship between industrial workers and the socialist dictatorship at the height of the Stalinist era. Šlouf’s book challenges the prevailing interpretation of events which explains the June protests merely as a spontaneous reaction of Pilsen workers to the currency reform and its immediate impact on their living standard. Šlouf postulates, on the other hand, that the Pilsen riots were the final event in a chain of long-term conflicts that plagued Czechoslovak society since the end of the Second World War. It is no exaggeration to say that this book is a seminal milestone in the research of resistance against the socialist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia.