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Miloslav Rechcígl Sr. (WFAC)

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Miloslav Rechcígl Sr.
Miloslav Rechcígl, senior.jpg
7th President of Czechoslovakia
In office
1975–1982
Prime Minister Alexander Dubček
Vladimír Čermák
Alexander Dubček
Ota Šik
Preceded by Ludvík Svoboda
Succeeded by Alexander Dubček
18th Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
In office
8 July 1961 – 22 September 1969
President Jan Masaryk
Štefan Osuský
Ludvík Svoboda
Preceded by Václav Majer
Succeeded by Alexander Dubček
Federal Minister of Agriculture
In office
1954–1957
Prime Minister Ladislav Feierabend
Jozef Lettrich
Preceded by Juraj Slávik
Succeeded by Michal Bakula
Member of the Federal Assembly
In office
1954–1972
Constituency Mláda Boleslav
Czech Minister of Agriculture
In office
1950–1954
Member of the Czech National Assembly
In office
1946–1954
Constituency Mláda Boleslav
Member of the Czechoslovak National Assembly
In office
1935–1938
Constituency Mláda Boleslav
Personal details
Born 13 May 1904
Austria-Hungary Chocnějovice, Austria-Hungary
Died 5 October 1985 (aged 81)
Czechoslovakia Mladá Boleslav, CR, Czechoslovakia
Nationality Czech
Political party Republican Party
Spouse(s) Marie (nee Rajtrová)
Children Miloslav Jr.
Marta
Alma mater Prague Commercial Academy
Occupation Politician
Profession Miller
Religion Roman Catholicism

Miloslav Rechcígl Sr. (13 May 1904 – 5 October 1985) was a Czech politician, miller and business executive, serving as the chairman of the Republican Party (RS) from 1965 to 1981, prime minister of the Federal Republic of Czechoslovakia from 1961 to 1969, and president of Czechoslovakia from 1975 to 1982.

He displayed a strong dedication to a broad vision of market-based liberal democracy and anti-communism, and started many reforms and is remembered for administrating the government efficiently. A shrewd politician, Rechcígl was deeply committed to the idea of political compromise. In foreign policy, he worked to improve relations with Germany and Austria, and was deeply committed to a Western-oriented foreign policy.

His son, Miloslav Rechcígl Jr., also representing the Republican Party, served as Prime Minister from 1983 to 1987 and as Senator from 1991 to 2003.

Early life and career

Miloslav Rechcígl was born as the oldest child of miller Adolf Rechcígl and Marie Rechcíglová (nee Berglová) in Chocnějovice, Austria-Hungary, on 13 May 1904. He had a younger sister, Anna (1906–1926) as well as two younger half-brothers, Adolf and Stanislav. In 1917 he lost his mother, and his widowed father found it necessary to remarry because he could not manage the affairs of the mill without a wife, particularly with two small children. In 1918, his father married Marie Ferklová. Rechcígl had frail health throughout his life, and had to take pills and had numerous medical examinations.

From 1910 to 1915 he attended elementary school in Drahotice, and from 1915 to 1918 he attended high school (Gymnazium) in Mnichovo Hradiště. He initially wanted to study jaw, but his parents would not hear of it. Instead, he attended the Prague Commercial Academy (Obchodní akademie) from 1918 to 1922, finishing with a final Maturity Examination. He also attended classes at the Prague University of Commerce (Vysoká škola obchodní). From 1922 to 1924 he worked in a bank in Český Dub. In 1926 he took over the management of his father's mill in Chocnějovice. In 1928, his father Adolf bought himself another mill in Šaravcota Lhota, where he moved with his wife and two small children. In 1928, at the age of twenty-four, he bought the Chocnějovice mill from his father. On 26 July 1926 Miloslav Rechcígl married Marie Rajtrová. They had two children: a son, Miloslav Jr. (born in 1930), and a daughter, Marta (born in 1933).

From 1928, he worked in various professional organizations of millers, including the Millers’ Association, Trade Millers’ Alliance of Czechoslovakia, Czech Territorial Union of Millers and the Central Union of Millers in Czechoslovakia of which he became executive secretary. 1930-1934 he held the positions of Executive Secretary in the Alliance of Commercial Mills in Bohemia (Sdružení obchodních mlýnů v Čechách) which later changed its name to the Miller's Cooperative (Mlynářské družstvo). In 1934 he became the Deputy Director of the Czechoslovak Millers' Cooperative (Mlynářské družstvo ČSR) until 1942, when it was abolished. In 1938, through his initiative, the supreme organization of Czechoslovak millers was established under the name Central Office of Czechoslovak Millers and he became its President.

He also worked in professional agricultural organizations and became a member of all such organizations in his district. He was a council member of the Czech Agricultural Board in Prague, chairman of its economic section, a member of the cultivator committee, and a member of the Central Office of Agricultural Board in Czechoslovakia. He became a member of the Czechoslovak Agricultural Academy and officer of agricultural economists. Rechcígl was vice-chairman of the water agricultural organization in his district and an officer of the Water Agricultural Union of Czechoslovakia, chairman of the Economic Council in Mladá Boleslav, executive secretary of the Economic Institute of North Bohemia, and vice president of the Union of Economic Councils, as well as chairman of the Committee for Regulating the River Jizera and its Tributaries.

Early political career

While a student Prague Commercial Academy he was involved in the organisation of the agrarian students and later in various organizations of agrarian youth in the country and the agrarian Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants (RSZML). At the age of twenty-six he was elected chairman of the County organization of the Party and two years later, a member of the Party's Regional organization.

In the 1935 parliamentary election, at the age of 31, he was elected as the youngest member to the Czechoslovak National Assembly, representing the Mladá Boleslav District. In this capacity, he devoted his energies to economic problems, and served on several committees, relating to agriculture, industry and commerce, and international relations. He rented an appartment in the Vinohrady section of Prague. When at home in the weekends, he devoted much time to the affairs of his mill, meetings with his constituents, attending political meetings and helping farmes solve their problems. In his absence, the daily managment was run by his wife and an old classmate.

During World War II, Rechcígl was a member of the resistance movement Defense of the Nation (Obrana národa), delivering flour to the resistance movement as well as selling flour on the black market.

Following the end of the war, he was a member of the Provisional Federal Council from 1945 to 1946, where he contributed in forming Czechoslovakia's Federal Constitution of 10 April 1946. Later that year, he was elected to the Czech National Assembly for the Mláda Boleslav constituency. He was re-elected in 1950, and served as the Czech Minister of Agriculture from until 1954. In the 1954 federal election he was elected to the Federal Assembly, serving as Federal Minister of Agriculture in the cabinets of Ladislav Feierabend and Jozef Lettrich.

Following the election defeat of 1957, Rechcígl was elected leader of the party. Rechcígl immediately saw the need to modernize the party and to attract an additional electorate with the continuing decline of the agrarian share of the population. In hopes of changing its image, it changed its name to the Republican Party (Republikánská strana, abbreviated RS), and under Rechcígl's leadership the party continued its gradual movement from being an agrarian-conservative party to a more liberal and social conservative party, while keeping an agrarian profile. Rechcígl proved a successful leader, as the Republican Party emerged victorious in the 1961 federal election, ending four years of Social Democratic government.

Premiership

Rechcígl became the Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia on 8 July 1961, serving concurrently as the Leader of the Republican Party.


Portfolio Name Party Assumed office Left office
Prime Minister Miloslav Rechcígl Sr. Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Deputy Prime Minister Stanislav Broj Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 8 July 1961 7 May 1968
Ivo Ducháček Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Deputy Prime Minister Martin Kvetko Slovak People's Party (SĽS) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Dubček Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Foreign Minister Štefan Osuský Independent 8 July 1961 11 February 1963
Ján Papánek Slovak People's Party (SĽS) 11 February 1963 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Defence Bohumír Lomský Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Finance Vladimír Čermák Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Foreign Trade Bohumil Suchard Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 7 May 1968
František Krajčír Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of the Justice Martin Kvetko Slovak People's Party (SĽS) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of the Interior Ivo Ducháček Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 8 July 1961 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Zbyněk Žalman Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 8 July 1961 2 November 1964
Hans Schütz Sudeten German People's Party (SDVP) 2 November 1964 7 May 1968
Alexander Dubček Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Health František Zvěřina Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 7 May 1968
Lubomír Štrougal Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Education and Research Stanislav Broj Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 8 July 1961 7 May 1968
Augustin Navratil Czechoslovak People's Party (ČSL) 7 May 1968 22 September 1969
Federal Minister of Transportation and Communication Pavol Blaho Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 7 May 1968
Federal Minister of Agriculture Jiří Burian Republican Party (RS) 8 July 1961 13 April 1966
Miloslav Rechcígl Jr. Republican Party (RS) 13 April 1966 22 September 1969

Presidency

Retirement

Death

Rechcígl died in Mláda Boleslav on 5 October 1985, at the age of 81, and was given a state funeral. He was buried in the family graveyard in Chocnějovice.

See also


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