Czerwinski Eduard J., and Piekalkowicz Jaroslaw, eds. The Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia: Its Effects on Eastern Europe ( New York, 1972); Kusin Vladimir V., From Dubcek to Charter 77. A Study of 'Normalization' in Czechoslovakia 1968-1978 ( New York, 1978); Mastny Vojtoch, ed. Czechoslovakia: Crisis in World Communism ( New York, 1972); Remington Robert A., Winter in Prague ( Cambridge, MA, 1969).
Novotny, Antonyn (1904-1978). Novotny joined the Czechoslovak Communist party in 1921 and was elected a member of the regional party leadership of Prague in 1935. In 1941, he was arrested by the Nazis and he was kept in Mauthausen concentration camp until the end of World War II. His close friendship with Klement Gottwald helped his career along after the war. In 1945, Novotny was appointed to head the Prague regional party organization, and the following year he became a member of the Central Committee. Upon the death of Gottwald in 1953, Novotny became first secretary of the Communist party, and he inherited control over the party's apparatus.
He followed the time-honored practice of placing his reliable supporters in commanding posts of the party. Novotny moved quickly to consolidate his power in other ways as well. He abolished the former office of party president, a post that had been held by Gottwald before his death. He changed the name of the Politburo, the highest organ of the party, to the Presidium in order to conform to current usages in the Soviet Communist party, and he changed the title of first secretary to that of secretary general for the same reason. He appointed four new secretaries, each with responsibility for a different area of party work; these secretaries automatically became members of the Central Committee. The entire national organization of the party was similarly revised.
Novotny was and remained through the rest of his life a convinced Stalinist. He maintained the rigid policies of Stalinism long after they were modified even in the Soviet Union. He ignored Soviet attempts at relaxation during the mid-1950s. He and most of his supporters were deeply implicated in the show-trials of that period and in the terror of the late 1940s. Therefore, Novotny was not about to open the files for scrutiny. In January 1957, after the brutal Soviet attack on the Hungarian revolution, Novotny denounced de-Stalinization as a "reactionary process." As late as 1961, he refused proposals for the review of the show-trials as "irresponsible." No public apology was offered to victims of Stalinism in Czechoslovakia; the survivors of concentration and prison camps were quietly sent home. There was no rehabilitation of these people.
In January 1968, Novotny's protege was defeated for the first secretaryship of the Slovak section of the Czechoslovak Communist party. The man he did not want in that post was Alexander Dubcek (see Dubcek, Alexander). This was an open revolt against Novotny's leadership. He never again attended a meeting of the Central Committee or the Presidium of his party. At the end of April, the Slovak Central Committee declared the rehabilitation of Slovak victims of Stalinism and the restoration of
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Publication information: Book title: Dictionary of East European History since 1945. Contributors: Joseph Held - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 162.