Could America have saved Czechoslovakia from communism?

Such is the question posed by Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies researcher, Paweł Styrna, in his recent review of Igor Lukes’ On the Edge of the Cold War: American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Based on the scholarly study, Mr. Styrna concludes that a prudent and integrated American strategy could have certainly prevented the Sovietization of Czechoslovakia following the Second World War. He writes: “For American policy-makers and strategic planners, it is a case study in missed opportunities. Given a more determined and purposeful integrated strategy, Czechoslovakia might have been saved at a time when America still enjoyed a nuclear monopoly and the Soviet Union was internally weakened by the war it had itself helped spark. Czechoslovakia’s accession to the anti-communist, American-led coalition might not have averted the Cold War, but it would have certainly strengthened the Western alliance’s strategic position in Central Europe, thereby possibly hastening the end of the Cold War and the implosion of the Soviet Bloc.”

Mr. Styrna’s review was posted on the website of the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research (SFPPR) on 25 July 2013.

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