Alexander Dubček (November 27, 1921 - November 7, 1992) was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969).
An overview of his functions:
1951-1955 and 1960-1968 and 1969-1970: member of/ in 1969 speaker of the federal parliament (National Assembly, since 1969 called Federal Assembly)
1964-1970: member of the Slovak parliament (Slovak National Comitee)
1955-1968: member of / since 1962 member of the presidium of / since 1963 first secretary of the Central Comitee of the Communist Party of Slovakia
1958-1969: member of / 1960-1962 secretary of / since 1962 member of the presidium of / since 1968 first secretary of the Central Comitee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
1969-1970: ambassador to Turkey
1970: expelled from the Communist party
1989-1992: member of the VPN party (later called ODÚ-VPN)
1989-1992: speaker of the federal parliament (Federal Assembly)
1992: president and member of the SSDS (Slovak Social Democratic Party); after the 1992 election, member of the parliament representing the SSDS
He was born in Uhrovec , Czechoslovakia (Slovakia), and raised in Kirghizia (now Kyrgystan). His father moved from Cleveland, OH to the Soviet Union in the late 1920s in search of work because of poor employment conditions in the US during the Great Depression. In 1938 the family returned to Czechoslovakia and Dubček joined the Communist Party of Slovakia. During the Nazi occupation, Dubček fought for the underground resistance. He joined the Central Committee of the party in 1955. He was sent to Moscow Political College in 1955, where he graduated in 1958. By 1962, he was a full member of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party.
Under Communism, the Czechoslovak economy in the 1960s was in serious decline and the imposition of central control from Prague disappointed local Communists while the destalinization program caused further disquiet. In October 1967 a number of reformers, most notably Ota Sik, took action, they challenged First Secretary Antonín Novotný at a Central Committee meeting. Novotný failed to secure support from either his fellow Communists or from Moscow and was forced to resign, Dubček became the new First Secretary on January 5, 1968. The period from March to August 1968 is termed the Prague Spring; during this time, Dubček attempted to liberalise the government and allow "socialism with a human face".
Dubček tried to reassure the Soviets that he was still friendly to Moscow, arguing that the reforms were an internal matter. The Prague Spring ended on August 21, when Soviet forces entered Prague. Dubček urged the people not to resist before he and other key reformers were seized and taken to Moscow where they were forced to accede to Soviet demands. Dubček was returned to Prague on August 27 and retained his post as First Secretary for a while. In April 1969 Dubček lost the Secretaryship and was made ambassador to Turkey (1969-70) before being expelled from the party in 1970.
During the Velvet Revolution of 1989 he supported the Civic Forum of Václav Havel. Dubček was elected speaker of the Federal Assembly on December 28, 1989, and re-elected in 1990.
He died following a car crash on November 7, 1992, and was buried in Slávičie Údolie, in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Dubček was considered a "Czechoslovakist" who for most of his life supported the union of the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia with Slovakia in a single, although federal, state. His death was seen by many as a fatal blow to those who sought to resist the Velvet Divorce which took place on January 1, 1993, as well as to the new Slovak Republic, which needed a politician with Dubček's international recognition.
Last updated: 02-10-2005 08:51:04