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Summary

With few exceptions, the historiographical presentation of the subject of armed anti-Communist resistance in Slovakia in the first years after the war represents a scientific desideratum. It is the best-known chapter in Slovak postwar history and made up of the anti-Communist ‘White Legion’ movement with all its aspects, including its abuse by the State Security Service. The ‘White Legion’ movement was founded as a self-help organization by broad sections of the population as a means of protection against Communist terror and was, generally characterized by passive resistance. Under the specific conditions of the initial years after the communist dictatorship had been established, the movement also had an armed nature, particularly in eastern Slovakia. It should be noted, however, that the more general signs of resistance to the coming regime had already emerged in the trial against the former President of the Slovak Republic, Jozef Tiso, and after his death sentence had been passed in April 1947. This not only did not consolidate the unity of the state, but the Slovaks also remained permanently disaffected, and their confidence in state institutions was severely undermined. In 1949, popular uprisings broke out against the pro-regime Catholic Action, which aimed at separating the church and the state. These were the largest manifestations of anti-Communist resistance. A characteristic feature of the anti-Communist resistance in Slovakia is also its link to the activities of Slovak politicians in exile, who had been seeking to form a strong resistance movement since 1945. The essential goal of exile organizations after 1945 was to restore Slovak statehood and to eliminate the Communist regime and Soviet hegemony. These were the causes for which former members of the Slovak Army as well as former participants in the Uprising of autumn 1944 and former members of the Czechoslovak army were willing to risk their lives.

In: Violent Resistance
From the Baltics to Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe 1944–1956
The end of the Second World war did not mean the end of violence for many regions in Eastern Europe. The establishment of Communist-led governments often met not only civil but also armed resistance. These actions were taken by partisan groups and paramilitary forces which in some cases had been formed already during the war to support axis forces. In other cases – like Poland’s Armia Krajowa – they fought Nazi and Soviet occupiers with the same fervour. The aims of the fighters were the end of Communist rule and – like in the Baltic region – independence from the Soviet Union. Difficulties in accessing sources and research taboos as well as a focus on other aspects of the Cold War are reasons why violent resistance in Europe after the Second World War is a topic yet rather underestimated and comparably little investigated by historiography. This book gives a comprehensive first overview of the ultimately futile attempts to end the rule of Moscow and her proxies.