BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Re-considering Czechoslovak Show Trials

Fri8  Apr02:00pm(20 mins)
Seminar Room
Prof Mary Heimann


Mary Heimann


Post-war Communist Czechoslovakia was the location for the Slánský trial of 1952, one of the most notorious show trials to take place anywhere within the Soviet sphere of influence. Less well-studied are other prominent show-trials which preceded and succeeded this ‘monster’ trial held in Prague. This paper seeks first to interrogate the frameworks which have been used to make sense of the Slánský and other prominent show-trials which took place in post-war Czechoslovakia. Drawing on evidence from a wider range of show-trials, this talk sets out to re-examine and reconsider some of the familiar assumptions made about show trials, both within and beyond Communist Czechoslovakia.