Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ms Milada Horáková executed 60 years ago

Since 2004, the Czech Republic has commemorated June 27th as the Day of the Victims of the Communist Regime. Exactly 60 years ago, on June 27th, 1950, Dr Milada Horáková, a brave lawyer and a top politician of the democratic Czechoslovakia, was hanged by the communist regime.

After a disgraceful trial, Czechoslovakia's "first working class president" Mr Klement Gottwald signed the order to murder her, despite lots of polite begging to save her life by Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others. It was great for the communist regime to get rid of someone who had had close ties to the first and second Czechoslovak presidents - Masaryk and Beneš - and who had contacts with the politicians in the outer world, too.

They ultimately chose Dr Horáková, an important politician from the unfortunately named anti-Nazi non-communist centrist party, the National Socialist Party, as the leader of a largely fictitious network. She was scheduled to die for "conspiracy and high treason". And indeed, she was proud about having co-operated on a big project to convince the U.S. to push the Soviets away from Europe, possibly by military tools.

Many people were killed by the communists but she has clearly been the brightest woman ever murdered by them. The communists were not the first ones with this plan. For her anti-Nazi resistance, she was arrested by Gestapo and sentenced to death in 1940 but unlike the communists, the Nazis later softened the ruling to a life in prison. Ten years later, the communists didn't display the same compassion as their comrades Nazis did.

She pleaded guilty - guilty of political activities against the "people's democratic regime". As a good and honest lawyer, she understood that the communists have made all the decent political behavior - including all attempts to restore democracy - illegal and she didn't try to hide that the situation was that bad. Her last words were: "I am falling, I am falling. I have lost this struggle and I am leaving in good faith. I love this country and I love its people: do work on its well-being. I am leaving without hatred towards you. I wish you that, I wish you that..."

Several men were executed along with her while dozens of others were sentenced to life in prison. (And there were many other, somewhat less famous, trials with similar outcomes.)

It took 18 years for the communist ruling to be abolished in 1968 (during the Prague Spring) but only in 1990, fourty years after her death, she was fully rehabilitated and received many top Czechoslovak awards in memorian (from Václav Havel etc.).

The only participant in this judicial murder who has been convicted since the fall of communism is Ms Brožová-Polednová, a former working-class prosecutor, but don't expect anything that comes remotely close to what they did to Ms Horáková. Ms Brožová-Polednová, who gave a passionate speech of the kind "while worker XY was building our rosy future, Dr Horáková was building on an underground network to undermine everything" 60 years ago (and who proudly took pictures with Dr Horáková after she was hanged), was recently visited by journalists who asked whether she would go to the prison. "Jesus Christ, don't bother me. Ask the court and not me." ;-)

Horáková's death reminds us of the evil of totalitarianism - any system that wants to determine how the people should live and what they should believe. Such a "total" desire of these political regimes always represents a serious existential risk for all the people who are not complete cowards and opportunists.

Her death also tells us where other dangerous ideologies such as environmentalism and its most radical incarnation, the global warming alarmism, could lead unless they fade away or are stopped sufficiently quickly. It doesn't really matter whether the inconvenient people are called the Jews, anti-socialist elements, or climate change deniers. What matters is the structural logic of these systems.


  1. I hope the Czech Republic is doing a better job than we (in the U.S.) are of keeping the educational focus on the brave people who gave their lives to achieve freedom. It's critical to educate each generation about the tyranny of communism.

    I was in the CR last year and was very moved by the apparent pride in most citizens of recent Czech history and the Velvet revolution.

    Lubos, every one of our guides seemed to be embarrassed about Vaclav Klaus and his position on AGW! I told them I wished our President had half as much sense.

  2. Lumo,

    Usually I do enjoy your bantering about string theory and even follow lot's of your climate stuff with interest (using Mathematica even ;)).

    However, are you truly more afraid of AGW alarmists bunching together than you are of what Eisenhower termed the military industrial complex? Could you help enlighten us with a de facto comparison of money spent on either side AGW and MIC?


  3. Dear Dan, I guess that most guides in the Czech Republic are Havelites - which is substantially different from Klausites although despite the striking personality differences, there's a lot of overlap, too. :-)

    Dear datarimless, I don't know how to answer your question. Your question seems to assume that I am afraid of the "military industrial complex." It must be some kind of a misunderstanding. ;-) Quite on the contrary - I think it's the most important part of the "state" that should be paid from the taxpayers' money. And in this very article, Dr Horáková relied on the U.S. military to get rid of the Soviet power in Europe, too.

    In some sense, her dreams were realized exactly in the way she dreamed about, but 35 years later - by Reagan et al.

    The current U.S. military budget is about half a trillion dollars a year - which is comparable to the global money invested to (or wasted by) AGW per year. So clearly, the army is still better, as it should be. If the AGW got out of control, the money for this particular topic could exceed all the military money in the whole world which would be completely insane.

    Best wishes