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Baker - 1John J BakerHIST 202 Professor Wilhelm7 December 2014The Communist Propaganda Machine: The Slansky Trial as told by A Trial in PragueIn the aftermath of World War II, Eastern and Central Europe became susceptibleto Communist influence. Josef Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union at the end of WWIIin 1945, expanded his Communist “iron fist” into neighboring countries. One country thatembraced Communism was Czechoslovakia. Stalin used everything in his power,including widespread propaganda, in order to instill fear and maintain order in theCommunist countries of Eastern and Central Europe. He wished to crush all of hisopposition. One example of Stalin’s tactics was the Slansky Trial that occurred onNovember 20th, 1952 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Zuzana Justman’s A Trial in Pragueis a2000 documentary that illustrated the trial’s history, including testimonials from livingfamily members of the defendants. A Trial in Pragueportrays the effects of Stalin’s masspropaganda as well as the struggles of the Communist individuals who were betrayed bythe very party that they fiercely supported and contributed to. The first thing to consider about this trial, which Justman makes sure to includemultiple times, is that all fourteen defendants were innocent of any crimes they wereaccused of. These individuals, including Rudolf Slansky and Otto Sling were prominentCzech leaders in the Communist Party, working towards the goals of the state. AfterWWII, Czechoslovakia turned to Communism, mainly as a way to oppose Nazism andFascism. They imagined a new society that would be free from racism, prejudice, andanti-Semitism. These negative ideals were thought to be products of capitalism.Communism in Czechoslovakia attracted those who wanted to impact the world in a
Baker - 2positive way. These people included many young Czech Jews that survived theHolocaust. They saw their survival of the Holocaust as a sign that they must work inorder to prevent such an atrocity from ever occurring again. The wives in the