Bratislava After World War II

After World War II, the situation in Bratislava was fundamentally changed. Most of its Jewish population had not returned from the concentration camps, while the majority of German and Hungarian ethnicities were also removed from the town after liberation. In this way Bratislava lost its unique multi-cultural atmosphere.

The Communist coup in February 1948 meant a break in the post-war development of Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia became a constituent part of the socialist camp and a buffer zone between the West and East. Europe was divided by the iron curtain. For Bratislava, which was after the war still connected with Vienna by tram, it meant building closed borders with the West, and with parts of the city seperated from the boundry zone by barbed wire. Its citizens had to be ousted. The end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s were borne in the sign of reconstruction and repeated construction of city areas destroyed by the war, especially of industrial plants that were nationalised after 1948 . Communist retaliation intervened into the lives of citizens in the 1950s. Many people were arrested, while thousands of citizens, accused in trumped-up trials, were forcibly ousted from the city.

More than 40 years of communist regime was interrupted by the events of 1968 – 1969. Their symbol became Alexander Dubček. Democratic changes he instigated were suppressed only through occupation by the armies of the Warszaw Pact. The subsequent ‘temporary stay’ of the Soviet troops lasted for more than 20 years. Together with extensive political persecutions, they acted as a safeguard against possible attempts for reforms, and against the possible change of social order in Czechoslovakia.