Dictionary of East European History since 1945

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ion and did not want to antagonize the Brezhnev-led Soviet government, but, at this stage in his life, Dubcek was by no means a committed democrat, and he still believed that the democratization of the Communist party could be accomplished without giving up its leading role in society. He often declared his belief in Marxism-Leninism and in the leading role of the Soviet Union in the socialist camp.

The Prague Spring was suppressed in August 1968, and the subsequent "normalization" (see Normalization in Czechoslovakia) was engineered by Leonid Brezhnev. Dubcek was not jailed, however. At first, he remained general secretary of the party, but the real power was in the hands of Gustav Husak (see Husak, Gustav), a hard-line Slovak communist. In a half a year, however, Dubcek was removed and appointed ambassador to Turkey. A year later, he was ordered home and appointed director of a factory in Slovakia. When the communist system collapsed in Czechoslovakia, Dubcek became the president of the newly elected Czechoslovak parliament. However, this was a largely ceremonial post, and Dubcek did not play an active role in politics any more.

His most famous appearance was in December 1989, when, at a huge rally, Dubcek symbolically hugged the demonstrators from a balcony. This became a symbol of the changes taking place in Czechoslovakia. In the summer of 1992, Dubcek suffered injuries in a serious automobile accident, and he died in November, 1992.


Kusin Vladimir, From Dubcek to Charter 77. A Study of 'Normalization' in Czechoslovakia, 1968-1978 ( New York, 1978); Shawcross William, Dubcek ( New York, 1990).

Economic Policies in Communist Czechoslovakia. The development of the Czechoslovak economy went through several phases between 1945 and 1990. The first two years following the end of World War II, were taken up by reconstruction. It was a transitional phase, nevertheless, the economic system was already being changed and moved toward Stalinization. The conquest of power by the Czechoslovak Communist party in 1948 inaugurated a major redirection of the economy. The country was in a better position than most other East European countries because it possessed a rather developed industrial system, inherited from the interwar republic, considerable managerial talent, and an educated industrial labor force. It also suffered less from the ravages of war than her neighbors, and was, therefore, an instructive case of economic performance under Stalinist control.

For the first time in the history of the socialist movement, the communists came into power in an industrialized state, one that fit the prescriptions of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels better than the Soviet Union. It could be considered a test case. The Stalinist method of economic development, however, was uniformly imposed on all the East European countries after 1948, regardless of the level of their economies. The method involved the rapid development of heavy industries, channeling the bulk of investment into that sector. This necessarily meant the neglect of consumer goods production and housing. The process depended upon the exploitation of the agricul


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Dictionary of East European History since 1945
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