Ludvík Svoboda


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(b. 15 Nov. 1895, d. 20 Sept. 1979).

President of Czechoslovakia 1968–75 Born in Hroznatín (Moravia), he served in the Austro‐Hungarian army during World War I, and remained in the new Czechoslovak army in 1919. A Communist since the 1930s, in 1939 he escaped German occupation by going to the Soviet Union, where he took over command of the Czech Army Group which in 1945 liberated Prague. He became Minister of Defence in the new government, but fell victim to the Stalinist purges of 1950, when he was dismissed, expelled from the party, and imprisoned. After Stalin's death he was released, and soon became commander of a military academy. He retired in 1959, but was later appointed by Dubček to succeed Novotny as President. Initially opposed to the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968, he quickly adapted himself to Husák's new hardline regime.

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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