In this chapter, we draw on a project called ‘The third resistance in a pedagogical perspective’. We pay attention to the armed anti-communist resistance in Stalinist Czechoslovakia from 1948–1953. A review of available literature finds the topic to be of only marginal interest to international academia. In the case of domestic research, we find a number of deficiencies, especially when concentrating on single case studies: a low level of attention to the conceptual grip of the topic, and often an uncritical acceptance of the way anti-communist resistance was ‘co-created’ by the political police. We propose more precision in the conceptual grip based on the approach of Einwohner and Hollander. Their approach systematically uses a nexus defined by a trio of the actors’ intent and recognition of the resistant behaviour by its target and audience. We further enhance this approach by adding a time layer.
In our view, the controversy around anti-communist resistance is productive material from a pedagogical point of view. That is why we investigate the phases and shapes of the production of cultural memory in this regard, taking the birth of the term ‘third resistance’ as one example. Our analysis shows an incongruence between the widely accepted notion of collective trauma present in post-communist societies representing the memory of victims and the memory of active anti-communist resistance. The dynamic of the phenomenon after 1989 is illustrated by the legal acknowledgement of the anti-communist resistance coming only after 2010.
The section of the chapter that deals with the educational application of anti-communist resistance uses the methodology of teaching using controversial approaches developed by Diana Hess and Alan McCully. Its basic principles are applied in the two subsequent case studies and include inquiry-based learning using primary and secondary sources, multi-perspective approach, uncovering moral dilemmas in historical context and leaving controversial and incongruent aspects unsmooth (not romanticising the stories).
The case studies deal with the so-called Masin brothers’ case and an unarmed protest against the collectivisation of agriculture in the small Czech town of Dobruška. Both studies start with a short overview of the story and develop further using the pedagogical goals and methods associated with these pieces of material in education. Perhaps the best-known case of armed resistance by the Masin brothers is complemented by a completely different story of the non-violent protest of farmers of the Dobruška region in 1949, against violent collectivisation. While the political motives of the armed protest of the Masin brothers are unquestionable and the form of resistance was overt, in the case of Dobruška, political motives were largely ascribed to the protesters in retrospect. The reasons behind this selection are twofold: they might allow for different educational goals, and show us that violent resistance is only one type of resistant behaviour; in Czechoslovak history, in particular, rather a rare one.
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.