Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Struggle for the village. Analysis of Czechoslovak agriculture press in the years of early collectivization, 1949–1955


Abstract: The collectivization of the Czechoslovak countryside in 1949–1960 was accompanied by an omnipresent Communist propaganda whose aim was to persuade farmers of the advantages of joining the United Agricultural Cooperatives (JZD) and to support the campaign against larger landowners, the so-called Kulaks. The effort deployed by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to organize various propaganda campaigns is well documented by sources preserved at the culture and propaganda department of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (ÚV KSČ) and its subordinate departments of awareness and ideology, established at a lower level at Regional and District National Committees.
The study focuses on how collectivization was captured in party press, which along with radio broadcasting and the cinema was one of the most potent and widely used propaganda tools. Based on an analysis of the Zemědělské noviny (The Agriculture Newspaper), published countrywide, as well as of certain local newspapers, it outlines the negatives forms of propaganda attacking private farmers and exhorting to fierce class struggle in the country as well as the positive propaganda encouraging farmers to join the JZDs and pressing for an early harvest.
The study also describes how the contents and style of the individual newspapers reflected the different stages of collectivization, i.e. how the press reacted to a ferocious collectivization campaign in 1951–1953, briefly mentioning also the obstacles the Party met in its campaign for building up a socialist village.

Key words: collectivization, The Zemědělské noviny, country press, Communist propaganda, campaign

Bc. Anna Macourková studuje historii na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Karlovy a věnuje se výzkumu kolektivizace československého venkova v regionální perspektivě. Pracuje na Ústavu pro studium totalitních režimů. (a.macourkova@centrum.cz).