Causes of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia's Electoral Successes in the First Republic: A Reflection on the Possibilities of Interpretation

Příčiny volebních úspěchů KSČ v první republice. Úvaha nad interpretačními možnostmi

The article is a reflection on the interpretative possibilities for relevant causes of electoral successes of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in the interwar period. It is based on the two extreme ideal-typical forms of interpretation: 1) intentional interpretation which emphasizes the activity of individuals, i.e. ability of party leaders to attract a sufficient number of voters, 2) structural interpretation, with its emphasis on the structural conditions for the operation of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, such as social stratification, the tradition of the labor movement, cleavages of the civil society, etc.
The Braudel's conceptualization of three of levels of the historical time was used to achieve clarity of interpretation: a) fast time: causality is constructed from the perspective of the specific party leaders (namely Šmerala and Kreibich) and their political tactics. This interpretation of causality is found to be too reductionist and inadequate with regard to radical changes in the management and its vastly different tactics; b) medium time: here, attention is paid to the organizational structure of the labor movement in the long-term perspective and its effect on the opportunity for the Communist Party of Czechoslovakiato succeed. At the same time, the importance of specific formation of coalitions in the First Republic is also considered, which was apparently characterized with features of consociational democracy, which could make it easier for the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to acquire votes of protesters which would otherwise be won by a systemic opposition, if it existed. Although this effect of the method of forming coalitions to the power the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia can be presumed, it cannot be adequately quantified from the sources; c) long time: considered here is the influence of multi-ethnic character of the Czechoslovak state, the cleavages of the civil society, and also the possibility of convening the general program of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia with the mental map of nations, but this is a highly speculative topic.
None of these planes are not considered sufficient to explain the electoral success of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. At the same time, however, their combination creates quite a wide variety of short-and long-acting causes, which can jointly comprise a relatively complete picture of the interpretation of causal relationships between the active influence of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on voters and structural conditions it operated in.