Czechoslovak politician. He was a founder-member of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in 1921, becoming General Secretary in 1927. After the Munich Pact (1938) Gottwald went to the Soviet Union. After World War II he returned to Czechoslovakia. He was Prime Minister in a coalition government (1946–48) and, after the communist coup in 1948, President (1948–53) in succession to Beneš. He dominated the country through purges, forced labour camps, and show trials, culminating in the Slansky trial and the execution (1952) of leading communists. He acquiesced in Stalin's plan of reducing Czechoslovakia's industries to satellite status within COMECON.
Subjects: World History.