Czechoslovakia in the 1948 – 1989 (dis)information war

Prague, 7 January –  How to better understand the current disinformation phenomenon, fake news, alternative news sites, conspiracy theories, etc.?

The online project Czechoslovakia in the 1948 – 1989 (dis)information war, provides a unique view on this topic from the perspective of little-known psychological and disinformation operations, which were conducted by the totalitarian regimes through their secret services during the Cold War. Even at that time – before the internet – the operations were conducted against the European Community, the USA, NATO and in domestic operations against their fellow citizens.

The European Union has faced increasing pressure of disinformation activities in recent times. The aim of these activities in general is to destabilise and atomise the EU. These activities directly target the very essence of the community, which professes and respects the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The project’s 26 articles about the secret operations of Communist Czechoslovakia and the Eastern Bloc against their former enemies (today’s allies) provides details and facts which might help to better understand the current phenomenon of Russian disinformation and influence activities against democratic institutions.

The project offers details about the institutionalised tools, the aims, forms, methods and agency network that were professionally used in preparation and spreading of such campaigns against the foreign and domestic public before November 1989.

The selected operations in the West and their impact are introduced in details like the operation to spread fake political testament of German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1963), the operations against the USA as the “main enemy”– meddling in the 1964 US presidential elections or the 1985 disinformation campaign about AIDS as a secret biological weapon of the US.

The records from the State Security secret eavesdropping were used in a disinformation campaign in Czechoslovakia against the exile community and its representatives (Pavel Tigrid) in 1981. From the perspective of information blockade the project introduces footage of the Czechoslovak State Security of the workplace which secretly controlled Czechoslovak citizens’ mail communication and prepared “polls” from it for the Communist Politburo etc.

The project Czechoslovakia in the 1948 – 1989 (dis)information war is part of the Czech-English online project communiststatesecurity.eu (ibadatelna.cz) of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. Further project partners and contributors are the Centre for documentation of totalitarian regimes, z.s. and OZ Living Memory. Project partners in 2014 – 2019: the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the Slovak Nation’s Memory Institute, the Jan Langoš Foundation, the Estonian Embassy in Prague and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.