The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Socialism with a human face

Socialism with a human face (in Czech: socialismus s lidskou tvř) was a political programme announced by Alexander Dubček and his colleagues when he became the chairman of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in January 1968. It was process of mild democratization and political liberalization, still keeping communist party with real power.

The programme was attempt to battle disillusionment of people in Czechoslovakia with political and economical situation of the country. As the name suggests, the plan was to provide new facelift over the discredited ideals of socialims, not to bring back market economy or allow really free expression of political ideas.

The subsequent developments became known as the Prague Spring: original goals of the programme were quickly overwhelmed by spontaneous and unexpected activity of common people. The party lost lot of influence in the process.

Soviet Union feared of losing control over the country and because of this Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, with 200,000 troops and 5,000 tanks. The liberal reforms were eliminated step by step and the country eventually returned to the centralized model with communist party organizing every aspect of political and economical life.

The ideals of socialism with a human face didn't gain influence later or abroad (except possibly perestroika). With hindsight, they are now seen as naive, with low chance to create stable and economically healthy society.

Last updated: 05-21-2005 01:11:34