Washington, 2020: Echoes of Prague, 1948?

How different is what Trump does from the tactics of totalitarians everywhere?

Prime Minister Klement Gottwald during the ceremonial parade of the People's Militia and the police forces on February 28, 1948 in Prague.Prime Minister Klement Gottwald during the ceremonial parade of the People's Militia and the police forces on February 28, 1948 in Prague. (Source: TASR - photo reproduction)

Andrew L. Giarelli is a senior lecturer at Anglo-American University in Prague and a former senior Fulbright lecturer at Comenius University in Bratislava.

When an MSNBC commentator joked about how Donald Trump has lately descended from ranting rallies and bullying press conferences to “pathetically tweeting into the night,” I disagreed.

Normally I live in the Czech Republic two-thirds of the year as I previously did in Slovakia, but this year the pandemic has left me stranded here since January. Long lockdown nights got me studying Czechoslovak history, which we all know is rather too full of totalitarians seizing and holding power.

Please, correct me if I’ve got the analogies wrong. In fact, I really hope I have got them wrong.

Czechoslovakia before the coup

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