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Alexander Dubček (Munich Goes Sour)

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Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubček President (MGS).jpg
8th President of Czechoslovakia
In office
1982–1992
Prime Minister Ota Šik
Miloslav Rechcígl, jr.
Karel Schwarzenberg
Jiří Dienstbier
Preceded by Miloslav Rechcígl
Succeeded by Madeleine Jana Körbelová
19th and 21st Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
In office
22 September 1969 – 12 July 1976
President Ludvík Svoboda
Miloslav Rechcígl, sr.
Preceded by Miloslav Rechcígl, sr.
Succeeded by Vladimír Čermák
In office
7 Februar 1977 – 23 April 1982
President Miloslav Rechcígl, sr.
Preceded by Vladimír Čermák
Succeeded by Ota Šik
Member of the Federal Assembly
In office
1961–1983
Personal details
Born 27 November 1921
Czechoslovakia Topoľčany, Czechoslovakia
Died 11 March 2006 (aged 84)
Czechoslovakia Bratislava, SR, Czechoslovakia
Nationality Slovak
Political party Czechoslovak Social Democracy
Spouse(s) Anna Dubčeková
Children Pavol
Peter
Milan
Occupation Politician
Profession Machinist
Military service
Allegiance Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia
Service/branch Logo Czechoslovak Army (pre1961) Czechoslovak Army (1938)
Obrana národa flag (Munich Goes Sour) Obrana národa
(1939–45)
Years of service 1938–1945

Alexander Dubček (27 November 1921 - 7 November 1992) was a Slovak statesman and politician, leader of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) from 1965 to 1981, prime minister of the Federal Republic of Czechoslovakia from 1969 to 1976 and from 1977 to 1982, and president of Czechoslovakia from 1982 to 1992.

Dubček began his political career as a labour union leader, and activist in labour politics. Dubček became a media sensation, inspiring "Dubčekmania", and took charge of the Social Democrats in 1964. From 1968 to 1969 he served Minister of Labour. From the late 1960s until the early-1990s, his personality dominated the political scene to an extent not seen in Czechoslovak political life since President Tomáš Masaryk, arousing passionate and polarizing reactions throughout Canada. "Reason before passion" was his personal motto. In 1992 he was elected President of Czechoslovakia, and was re-elected in 1987. He retired from politics in 1992.

Admirers praise the force of Dubček's personal integrity and down-to-earth personality and salute his political acumen in preserving national unity and fostering a pan-Czechoslovak identity, and in achieving sweeping institutional reform, including the expansion of the social and welfare systems. Critics accuse him of arrogance, of economic mismanagement, as his policies also created large state budget deficits. Despite this, public opinion and scholars consistently rank him as one of the greatest Czechoslovak prime ministers and even regard Dubček as the "father of modern Czechoslovakia."

Early life

Alexander Dubček was born in Uhrovec, Czechoslovakia on 27 November 1921. His mother was Pavla Dubčeková (nee Kobidová), while his father was Štefan Dubček, a carpenter who worked for several years in Chicago in the United States, where he had become a convinced pacifist and communist. He was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). From 1925 to 1933 Dubček and his family lived in the Esperantist and Idist industrial cooperative Interhelpo in Frunze, Kyrgyz SSR of the Soviet Union, in part to help build socialism and in part because jobs were scarce in Czechoslovakia. During this time he learned the trade of machinist. In 1938, the family returned to Czechoslovakia.

During the Second World War, Alexander Dubček joined the underground resistance against the Hungarian occupation of Slovakia. In August 1944 he was wounded while his brother, Július, was killed.

Early political career

In 1946, he joined the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), and steadily rose through the ranks in the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party. In 1946 he became a member of the Union of Metalworkers in Czechoslovakia (Svaz kovodělníků v Československé republice, SKČ) and the Czechoslovak Trade Union Association (Odborové sdružení československé, OSČ). From 1955 to 1965 he was the leader of the Union of Metalworkers. In 1961 he was elected to the Federal Assembly, and as a member of parliament he was responsible for labor related issues. He located himself on the left wing of the ČSSD, speaking out for unskilled workers and the jobless, and criticizing the leadership of Parliamentary group leader. Dubček was also outspoken against the Soviet repression of the Hungarian Uprising in 1956.

In 1958 he joined the he was elected Chairman of the Slovak branch of the party. In 1960 he joined the Federal Executive Board of the party and was elected Deputy Chairman. Dubček became the Chairman of the ČSSD in 1965, a post that he retained until 1982. In 1968 he was the ČSSD candidate for the premiership, but he lost to Miloslav Rechcígls conservative Republican Party (RS). However, he was a grand coalition between the RS and ČSSD was formed, with Dubček as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister.

Premiership

Presidency

Retirement

Death

Dubček died in Bratislava on 7 November 1992, at the age of 84, and was given a state funeral. He was buried in the National Cemetery in Martin.

In 2009, the Alexander Dubček Square (Slovak: Námestie Alexandra Dubčeka) was opened in Bratislava.

See also


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