Antonín Novotný

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Antonín Novotný, 1968
Antonín Novotný 1960 in New York, on the occasion of a meeting of the United Nations

Antonín Novotný (born December 10, 1904 in Letňany near Prague , † January 28, 1975 in Prague) was a Czechoslovak communist politician . As General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) from 1953 to 1968 the most powerful politician in Czechoslovakia .

From 1957 to 1968 he was also President of Czechoslovakia.


Antonín Novotný trained as a locksmith and was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1921 . In 1937/1938 he was party secretary in Hodonín , and from 1941 to 1945 he was imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp . From 1946 he was a member of the Central Committee of the KSČ, from 1953 as the successor to Klement Gottwald, First Secretary of the KSČ.

In 1957 he took over the office of President as successor to Antonín Zápotocký . The tough repression policy of the early 1950s is associated with his name , but above all the continuation of the Stalinist line well into the 1960s.

There was a non-public power struggle between him and the longstanding Minister of the Interior, Rudolf Barák , who was arrested in February 1962, lost all his party and government posts and was expelled from the KSČ. The KSČ decided to present his case as a criminal act; Barák was sentenced to 15 years in prison on fabricated charges.

In the course of general liberalization from 1964, the criticism of Novotný increased more and more. At the beginning of the Prague Spring he was forced to resign as party leader on January 5, 1968 and also to resign as president on March 22. Alexander Dubček succeeded him in the first position and Ludvík Svoboda in the second .

In June 1968 he was expelled from the Central Committee of the Communist Party ; On two visits to the Soviet leadership under Leonid Brezhnev , he reported that the CP under Dubček was about to give up the CP's monopoly on power.

On the night of August 21, 1968, around 500,000 soldiers from four countries occupied Czechoslovakia; this was the beginning of the end of the Prague Spring .

In 1971 Novotný was re-admitted to the KSČ; but it no longer played a role in politics. He was buried in the Malvazinky Cemetery in Prague.

See also

supporting documents

  1. ^ Die Zeit / Wolfgang Leonhard 28/1962 (July 13, 1962): The leadership crisis in Prague
  2. Der Spiegel 29/1968 of July 15, 1968: Russians out