By Jane Gardam

‘I should inform you at first that i'm no longer rather common having had a violent adventure on the age of nine'

Jessica Vye's 'violent experience' shades her schooldays and her response to the realm round her- a confining global of Order Marks, wartime regulations, viyella attire, nicely-restrained essays and dusty tea retailers. For Jessica she has been advised that she is 'beyond all attainable doubt', a born author. together with her lack of ability to comply, her absolute compulsion to inform the reality and her commitment to properly noting her studies, she is familiar with this besides. yet what she doesn't be aware of is that the reviews that maintain and enhance her burgeoning expertise will someday result in a brand new- and completely unforeseen- truth.

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The geographic separation of the democrats in the Czech Lands and those in Slovakia, and their lack of party ties, exacerbated this problem by distancing Czech democrats from Slovak ones. Slovaks were largely powerless to prevent the slide of power towards the communists. The Democratic Party was vulnerable because of the general Czech willingness to believe allegations of populist/pro-Tiso sympathies among Slovaks. 55 Pressure was also put on the Democratic Party members of the Board of Commissioners, which was chaired by the communist Gustáv Husák despite having a Democratic Party majority.

Change was noticeable at several levels. While the communist leadership was extremely reticent about political reforms and emphasised the necessity of paying attention to the ‘lessons’ of 1968, the need to modernise the economy was acknowledged. This was facilitated by some personnel changes, most noticeably the replacement of Gustáv Husák as first secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (but not as president) by the Czech Milosˇ Jakesˇ in December 1987. In the following year, the Slovak prime minister and the first secretary of the Communist ‚ Party of Slovakia were replaced.

Dubcˇek did not realise this; Brezhnev did. And as in so much of Slovak history, it was outside forces that constrained the limits of domestic politics. The extent of the failure, and the dire consequences, of the Czechoslovak Spring were not immediately apparent after the invasion. 68 Yet Dubcˇek remained leader of the Czechoslovak Communist Party until April 1969, when he was replaced by his fellow Slovak Husák, who in 1968 had been regarded as a reformer. 69 Anyone who had shown engagement with the aims of the Czechoslovak Spring was removed from office, and hundreds of thousands of communists were expelled from the party.

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