For most East-Central European countries, the break-up of the Soviet bloc and the demise of the communist system in 1989 represented a watershed, not only under the historical, but also under the historiographical point of view. This is the case of Czechoslovakia and of the Czech Republic, where for two decades the normalization regime imposed a strictly orthodox interpretation of national narrative and the historical reflection was limited to the environment of dissent, opposition and exile. Not surprisingly, after 1989 both Czech public opinion and the scientific community focused their attention on the examination of the recent past and began a reflection on the communist experience. Taking advantage of the new opportunities for research and the access to archives, scholars first concentrated upon the critical moments of 1948, 1968 and 1989; that is, upon the rise to power of the communist regime, the attempt of its reform during the Prague Spring, and its final crisis with the soft or velvet revolution. Despite the continuing prevalence of political history, new trends have developed in recent years: on the one hand the totalitarian revival, on the other the search for alternative historiographical and methodological approaches.
Keywords: 1989, Czechoslovakia, Czech historiography, communism, totalitarianism, Prague Spring