Report on the Murder of the General Secretary

Karel Kaplan, Author, Karel Kovanda, Translator Ohio State University Press $39.5 (323p) ISBN 978-0-8142-0477-1
After Stalin's anti-Yugoslav campaign against Tito failed, Moscow focused on Czechoslovakia as the weakest link in the Soviet postwar front. In 1952, a show trial ended with the hangings of 11 Czech Communist Party officials, including general-secretary Rudolph Slansky; all of the convicted had been falsely accused of treason, espionage or sabotage. Working from archival documents, Czech historian Kaplan, who emigrated to the West in the 1970s, presents a chilling, painstaking account of Stalin's ruthless charade and of Czech president Klement Gottwald's complicity in the judicial murders. We are shown that anti-Semitism partially motivated the trial, and that the courtroom proceedings were staged from confessions obtained under torture to dress rehearsals of prosecutors and ``witnesses'' and even coaching of the alleged victims. Photos. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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