Rothschild Joseph, Return to Diversity ( London, 1972); Zinner Paul, Communist Strategy and Tactics in Czechoslovakia, 1918-1948 ( New York, 1963).
Dubcek, Alexander (1921-1992). Although Dubcek was conceived in Chicago, Illinois, he was born in Slovakia, and he spent his early years in the Soviet Union. Dubcek's Slovak father, dissatisfied with conditions in his homeland, emigrated to the United States. He settled in Chicago where he became a convinced communist. After he returned to Slovakia with his pregnant wife and children, he joined a local cell of the Slovak faction of the Communist party. Heeding the call of the COMINTERN, he took his family to a commune in Soviet Kirghizia. Alexander, together with his older brother, attended the local school and learned to speak perfect Russian. When conditions did not improve in Kirghizistan in the 1920s, the family moved to the city of Gorky, when Alexander was six years old.
Just before the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Dubcek family returned home. In March 1939, an independent Slovak state was proclaimed, and the Slovak faction of the Communist party went underground, but it also became independent of its Czech counterpart. The male members of the Dubcek family, including Alexander, joined the party. This party was loyal to Joseph Stalin, even when the Soviet dictator signed the Nazi-Soviet pact in August 1939. When Hitler's armies invaded the Soviet Union, the Slovak underground communists organized resistance to the Germans. The Slovak revolt in 1944 found Alexander Dubcek among the fighters. When the revolt failed, he joined the guerrillas in the mountains.
In 1945, Dubcek returned to his home city, Trencin, and became a minor party functionary in a local yeast factory. In 1949, Dubcek was bypassed for higher office and did not become a major functionary until later. He participated in the collectivization drive and the nationalization of industrial enterprises in Slovakia. In 1951, Dubcek was summoned to Bratislava, the Slovak capital city, and was named a member of the party's highest bureaucracy, the administration of the Central Committee. His career was, thus, launched. While in this position, Dubcek became convinced that the Communist party of Czechoslovakia would have to be changed or, it would lose all its authority and prestige. But he was not a radical innovator and was, therefore, acceptable to the Soviet leadership. By 1967, Alexander Dubcek had become a leading opponent of the hard-line Novotny group in the Politburo, and he eventually defeated his opponents. It is possible that, initially, he received Soviet support.
When he came into power in January 1968, Dubcek immediately began a program that was to be known as the Prague Spring (see Prague Spring, 1968). Together with General Ludvik Svoboda, who became president of Czechoslovakia in March 1968, Dubcek introduced a series of reforms that could have led to a pluralistic society. His program was named "Socialism with a Human Face." Dubcek's aim was the reinvigoration of the Communist party and the revitalization of the country's economy. This included the separation of party and state and the liberation of public institutions from party dictatorship. Dubcek was quite aware of the limits acceptable to the Soviet Un