Ministry of National Security

The Ministry of National Security (MNB) existed in Czechoslovakia in the years 1950-1953. An important and decisive role both during its conception and end was played by the Soviet example and influence. A similar situation occured in other states of the Soviet bloc at the time (e.g. in the German Democrati Republic, Polish People’s Republic etc.)

In the ČSR the MNB was created based on Government decition No. 48 of 23 May 1950. By the creation of the MNB the political power of the State Security was increased. This in turn increased the already very strong position of the Soviet security advisors, which was then mirrored in the fabricated political trials at the beginning of the 1950s, with the focus on the search for “enemies“ within the Communist movement itself.   

A decree was issued in July 1950 to delimit the competences between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of National Security. The role of the Ministry of Interior headed by Václav Nosek now focused almost exlusively on the area of public administration, administrative bodies and municipal economy.

The Ministry of National Security (headed first by Ladislav Kopřiva, from January 1952 by Karol Bacílek) was entrusted with the entire agenda of the National Security Corps including the competences, tasks and activities of the State Security. The MNB was further responsible for the protection of the state borders (the Border guard was subordinated to the MNB), the maintenance of public order, security of persons and property etc. The Ministry was also in charge of the agenda of evidence of citizens, the agenda of weapons, passports and visas, evidence of foreigners, administration of the Forced labour camps, traffic security etc. The position oof the MNB in society was further enanced in the years 1951-1952. The repressive tools of the Communist regime of the time were concentrated there. The Ministry became a feared security monolith with vast and unchecked competences with significant overlaps into the political level. In May 1951 the MNB took over the military counterespionage into its competence from the Ministry of National Defence. Starting in May 1952 it participated in the development of the newly established Internal guards of the MNB and two months later, it took over the Administration of the correction facitilies from the Ministry of Justice.       

In July 1952 the organisational structure of the State Security was changed. Instead of the Command of the State Security, the Main administration of the State Security was created. The purpose of the changes (again based on the Soviet example) was to replace the military terminology used in the systemisation of the ministry by Soviet security terminology.

On 11 September 1953 the Ministry of National Security was dissolved, again based on the Soviet example. However, it did not mean a return to the times before its creation. On the contrary. The old firm got a new facade. The establishment of a unified Ministry of Interior was also related to the personnel shifts in the power structures of the state. The agenda stressing the role of the security forces however continued to dominate.

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