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Czechoslovakia: Glossary
Country Study > Glossary

GLOSSARY


army - In Soviet military usage, an army has at least two divisions. A Soviet or non-Soviet Warsaw Pact motorized rifle division has between 10,000 and 14,000 troops.

Carpatho -Ukraine (also Subcarpathian Ruthenia) - An area once part of Czechoslovakia but ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. Populated mostly by Ukrainians, who prior to World War II were sometimes referred to as Ruthenians.

Charter 77 - The human rights documents around which Czech and Slovak dissidents have rallied since its signing in 1977.

Comecon - Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. Sometimes cited as CMEA or CEMA. Members in 1987 included Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, the Mongolian People's Republic, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam. Its purpose is to further economic cooperation among members.

Cominform - The Communist Information Bureau, made up of the communist parties of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia (expelled in 1948), France, and Italy. It was formed on Soviet initiative in 1947 and dissolved on Soviet initiative in 1956. The Cominform's primary function was to publish propaganda touting international communist solidarity. It was regarded primarily as a tool of Soviet foreign policy.

communist and communism - Czechoslovakia officially describes itself as "socialist" and its economic system as "socialism" (the preferred terms in the West are "communist" and "communism") and claims that it is working its way toward communism, which Lenin defined as a higher stage of socialism. Czechoslovak socialism bears scant resemblance to the democratic socialism of, for example, Scandinavian countries.

Dual Monarchy - The dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy established by the Compromise of 1867 and lasting until 1918. Austria and Hungary were virtually separate states, each having its own parliament, administration, and judicial system. They shared a common ruler, a joint foreign policy, and finances.

extensive economic development - Expanding production by adding resources rather than by improving the efficiency by which these resources are exploited.

front - In Soviet military usage, a front consists of at least two armies and usually more than that number. Two or more fronts constitute a theater of military operations.

Hussitism - Teachings of the fifteenth-century Czech religious reformer Jan Hus challenging papal authority and the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. In asserting national autonomy in ecclesiastical affairs, Hussitism acquired an anti-German reputation and was considered a Czech national movement.

koruna (pl., koruny) - National currency consisting of 100 halers (halere -- Cz.; haliere -- Sl.). Symbol is Kcs. In 1987 the official, or commercial, exchange rate was Kcs5.4 per US$1; the tourist, or noncommercial, rate was Kcs10.5 per US$1. The value of US$1 on the black market was at least twice the tourist rate of exchange.

Kraj (pl., kraje) - Primary administrative region into which both the Czech and the Slovak socialist republics are divided.

Kulaks - the relatively prosperous segment of peasants in the Russian Empire disenfranchised by Soviet authorities.

liquidity shortage - The lack of assets that can be readily converted to cash.

Marshall Plan - A plan announced in June 1947 by the United States Secretary of State George C. Marshall, for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The plan involved a considerable amount of United States aid.

Munich Agreement - An agreement in September 1938 between Germany, Italy, Britain, and France calling on Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland (qv) to Germany and smaller parts of its territory to Hungary and Poland.

"normalization" - A return to tight party control over Czechoslovak life following the suppression of the Prague Spring (qv) reform movement.

okres (pl., okresy) - Administrative territorial subdivision of kraj (qv) roughly equivalent to a county in the United States.

opportunity cost - The value of a good or service in terms of what had to be sacrificed in order to obtain that item.

Prague Spring - The culmination in the spring of 1968 of the late 1960s reform movement in Czechoslovakia. Cut short by Warsaw Pact (qv) invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

samizdat - Literally, self publication. Russian word for the printing and circulating of materials not permitted by the government.

Sudetenland - An area in Czechoslovakia along the German border. Before World War II populated primarily by Germans. After the war most of the Germans were forcibly resettled in Germany.

Svejk - The fictional hero of Jaroslav Hasek's The Good Soldier Svejk . He symbolizes characteristic Czech passive resistance.

Treaty of Rome 1957 - Established the European Economic Community (EEC -- also known as the Common Market).

Uniate Church - Sometimes referred to as the Greek Catholic Church. A branch of the Catholic Church preserving the Eastern rite and discipline but submitting to papal authority; found primarily in western Ukraine and Carpatho-Ukraine (qv).

Warsaw Pact - Political-military alliance founded in 1955 as a counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Members in 1987 included Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Has served as the Soviet Union's primary mechanism for keeping political and military control over Eastern Europe.




Last Updated: August 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Czechoslovakia was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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