ALEXANDER DUBCEK Biography - Polititians


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Name: Alexander Dubcek                                                                   
Born: 27 November 1921 Uhrovec, Czechoslovakia (present day Slovakia)                     
Died: 7 November 1992 Prague, Czechoslovakia (present day Czech Republic)                 
Alexander Dubcek (November 27, 1921 – November 7, 1992) was a Slovak politician         
and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969), famous for his attempt to               
reform the Communist regime (Prague Spring). Later, after the overthrow of the           
Communist government, he was speaker of the federal Czechoslovak parliament (Federal     
Dubcek was born in Uhrovec, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia), and raised in the Kyrgyz           
SSR of the Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan) as a member of the Esperantist                   
industrial cooperative Interhelpo. His father, Štefan, moved from Chicago to             
Czechoslovakia after World War I, when he refused to serve in the military for           
his pacifism. Alexander Dubcek was conceived in Chicago, but born after the               
family relocated to Czechoslovakia. There, Štefan became a founding member of           
the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). When Alexander Dubcek was three,           
the family moved to the Soviet Union, in part to help build socialism and in             
part because jobs were scarce in Czechoslovakia. In 1938 the family returned to           
Czechoslovakia. During World War II, Alexander Dubcek joined the underground             
resistance against the wartime pro-German Slovak state headed by Jozef Tiso. In           
August 1944, Dubcek fought in the Slovak National Uprising and was wounded. His           
brother, Július, was killed. During the war, Alexander Dubcek joined the                 
Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS), which had been created after the formation of         
the Slovak state. After the war, he steadily rose through the ranks of the KSS,           
joining the KSS Central Committee in 1955. He was sent to the Moscow Political           
College in 1953, where he graduated in 1958. By 1962, he was a full member of             
the Central Committee of the KSČ.                                                       
In 1963, a power struggle in the leadership of the KSS unseated Karol Bacílek           
and Pavol David, hard-line allies of Antonín Novotný, first secretary of the KSČ       
and president of Czechoslovakia. In their place, a new generation of Slovak               
Communists took control of party and state organs in Slovakia, led by Alexander           
Dubcek, who became KSS first secretary. Under Dubcek's leadership, Slovakia               
began to evolve toward political liberalization. Because Novotný and his                 
Stalinist predecessors had denigrated Slovak "bourgeois nationalists", most               
notably Gustáv Husák and Vladimír Clementis, in the 1950s, the KSS worked to           
promote Slovak identity. This mainly took the form of celebrations and                   
commemorations, such as the 150th birthdays of nineteenth-century leaders of the         
Slovak National Revival Ľudovít Štúr and Jozef Miloslav Hurban, the centennial       
of the Matica slovenská in 1963, and the twentieth anniversary of the Slovak             
National Uprising. At the same time, the political and intellectual climate in           
Slovakia became freer than that in the Czech Lands. This was exemplified by the           
rising readership of Kultúrny život, the weekly newspaper of the Union of Slovak       
Writers, which published frank discussions of liberalization, federalization and         
democratization, written by the most progressive or controversial writers --             
both Slovak and Czech. Kultúrny život consequently became the first Slovak             
publication to gain a wide following among Czechs.