Historie – Otázky – Problémy

The Slánský process and the French press: the reflection of the process with the „conspiracy centre“ in selected French dailies


Abstract: The process with the „anti-state conspiracy centre headed by Rudolf Slánský“ holds an exceptional place in the series of post-war political processes both in Czechoslovakia and in the other people’s democracies of the Soviet block. During the process in Prague the relations between Czechoslovakia and France were so badly damaged by a series of serious and less serious diplomatic affairs that the further attacks against France, its diplomats and intelligence services voiced during the process did not call for any official reaction. Nevertheless, the openly antisemitic character of the Prague process, awkwardly concealed under the label of antisionist campaign, attracted the attention of foreign media, including the French press. Three influential French newspapers – Le Monde, L?Humanité and Le Figaro – brought, virtually every day for a whole month, information on the process with Slánský and its political background. Besides the customary reports from the Court, the authors in the three papers discussed the overtly antisemitic meaning of the process, which also became the main topic of a heated debate not just in the French press. Among the democratic French public, antisemitism as a new phenomenon of the Soviet foreign policy caused disgust and concern about the lives of Jews living in the socialist countries. However, after the end of the process and the execution of the condemned the French media quickly lost interests in Czechoslovakia and focused on new topics, more important for France.

Key words: political processes, process with R. Slánský, French press, Czechoslovak-French relations, antisemitism, antisionism, L?Humanité, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Czechoslovakia, France

Mgr. Ludmila Motejlková je externí doktorandkou Ústavu českých dějin Filozofické fakulty Univerzity Karlovy. V současnosti se věnuje převážně diplomatickým a kulturním vztahům Francie a Československa v letech 1948–1968 (lidush@centrum.cz).