Congratulations on Ten Years of Freedom
Ten years ago this week you Czechs threw Communism out of your country and became a free people once again. There is much cause for rejoicing. Your nation has made remarkable progress in ten years. Upon my arrival in Prague this past July, I was amazed that in so short a time a socialist economy could be completely transformed. The average tourist would never suspect the Czech Republic had ever been under Communist rule. Now yours is a nation filled with shops just like anywhere else in Europe. Everywhere I turned, there were desirable things to buy - art, crystal glass, antiques, and the most delicious beer in the world. It is a credit to the industriousness of the Czech people that your country has accomplished so much in so little time.
In any honest history of the world, Communism must be recognized as the most destructive and murderous political system ever devised by mankind. The magnitude of its brutality was enormous. The brutality was only surpassed by the stupidity of its economic presumptions. Make no mistake - Communism did not fail because of its incomplete implementation, or because of too much emphasis on the military. Many Russians believe this still. No, Communism failed because the principles upon which it was based were faulty from the beginning. Marx was a false prophet, one that was simply incorrect, even delusional about basic human nature.
Communism set back the living standards of Soviet-aligned nations many years. Now all Eastern European nations struggle to catch up to Western living standards. From what I have seen, you Czechs are doing very well at it. We are glad to have you back in our western camp once again. I hope you will set the example for all the other Eastern European countries yearning for freedom and prosperity. And while you are at it, could you please instruct your former masters, the Russians, how to prosper under capitalism like you?
You Czechs probably never thought of it, but you may like to know how your struggles against Communism influenced us in the USA. This is a tale that needs telling, and a tale that should make you proud.
You may think of the USA as a country united from the beginning against Communism, but it was not always so. From the 1920s into the 1950s there were many Americans who were enchanted with Communism, and thought it was the wave of the future. Notable amongst them were elite and famous people such as actors, writers, journalists, and university professors. I am sorry to say our famous president Franklin D. Roosevelt admired many things about Soviet Communism, but just thought Comrade Stalin had tactics that were a bit brutal.
We American people were very happy at the end of the Second World War. We had valiantly helped defeat German National Socialism and made the world safe again, we thought. Europe was safe from fascist aggression. But slowly many of us began to realize that in the Nazi’s place, we left a former ally to govern Eastern Europe that was every bit as tyrannical - namely, the Soviet Union. It was a disappointing realization that many Americans did not want to acknowledge.
Three events galvanized American public opinion against Soviet Communism. Finally, nearly all our citizens recognized Communism for the evil it really was. One event was the building of the Berlin Wall and the attempted blockade of West Germany. The second was the attempted placement of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, just off our shores. Then finally there was the brutal repression in your country in 1969 when the Soviet tanks rolled across your border.
As hard as that time was for your people, it served as a wake-up call for us in the United States. No longer could any serious person here believe Communism was the will of the workers. It was plainly exposed as the brutal tyranny it always was. We Americans saw pictures on television and in newspapers of your people being run over by Soviet tanks. The mask was off Communism, and for good.
A person seldom appreciates something until it is taken away. That is true of one’s health. It is also true of one’s freedom. 223 years after our American revolution, many of our people have forgotten the value of freedom. They are yearly sacrificing important liberties to a government that has expanded far more than was ever intended. My earnest hope is you Czechs will never forget the hard years of Communist tyranny, and will value forever the precious freedoms you were denied for over 40 years.
Here is a picture of my favorite monument in Prague.