Gustav Husak - a pragmatic politician or a repressive leader?

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Gustav Husak - a pragmatic politician or a repressive leader?
Gustav Husak - a pragmatic politician or a repressive leader?

The life story of the Czechoslovak politician Gustav Husak is quite instructive. His reign became famous for the so-called "normalization", that is, the elimination of the consequences of the reforms of the "Prague Spring". Gustav Husak was a Slovak by nationality and the son of an unemployed man. Life has raised him to the pinnacle of power. He became the President of socialist Czechoslovakia, the almost permanent leader of the Communist Party of the country. Being a reformer in his youth, he began to repress the disaffected in the sixties of the last century. He retired himself when he realized his time was up.

Gustav Gusak

Early biography: Gustav Husak in his youth

The future Czechoslovak politician was born on the territory of Austria-Hungary, in Poshonikhidegkut (now Dubravka), on January 10, 1913. At 16, he had already become a member of a communist youth group. This happened while studying at the Bratislava gymnasium. And when heentered the Faculty of Law of the Comenius University, he already became a member of the Communist Party. There he quickly made a career, each time advancing to a higher level. In 1938 the party was banned. When the Second World War broke out, Gustav Husak, on the one hand, was often engaged in illegal communist activities, for which he was repeatedly arrested by representatives of the fascist government of Josef Tiso, and on the other hand, he was friends with the leader of the Slovak ultra-right Alexander Mach. Some sources claim that this is why he was released after several months of detention. In 1944 he became one of the leaders of the Slovak National Uprising against the Nazis and their government.

gander gustav

Gustav Husak after the war

The young promising politician immediately began his career as a statesman and party functionary. From 1946 to 1950, he actually played the role of prime minister, and thus, in 1948, he participated in the liquidation of the Democratic Party of Slovakia, which won 62 percent of the vote in the elections in 1946. But in 1950 he became a victim of Stalin's purges and during the reign of Klement Gottwald was convicted of nationalist views and sentenced to life imprisonment, spent six years in the Leopold prison. Being a convinced communist, he considered such repressions against him a misunderstanding and constantly wrote tearful letters about this to the party leadership. Interestingly, the then leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Alexander Novotny, refused to pardon him, telling his comrades that “you stillyou don't know what he's capable of if he comes to power.”

Biography Gustav Husak

Career of the state leader

During the de-Stalinization Gusak Gustav was rehabilitated. His sentence was overturned and reinstated in the party. It happened in 1963. Since then, the politician has become a great opponent of Novotny and supported the Slovak reformer Alexander Dubcek. In 1968, during the Prague Spring, he became prime minister of Czechoslovakia, responsible for reforms. When the Soviet Union expressed strong dissatisfaction with the policies of the new leadership, Gusak Gustav was one of the first to call for caution. He began to speak skeptically about the possibilities of the Prague Spring, and during the military intervention in Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact countries, he became a participant in negotiations between Dubcek and Brezhnev. Suddenly, Husak led that part of the HRC members who began to call for a "rollback" of reforms. In one of his speeches at the time, he rhetorically asked where Dubcek's supporters were going to look for friends who would help the country cope with the Soviet troops. Since then, Husak has been called a pragmatic politician.

Life story of the Czechoslovak politician Gustav Husak

Ruler of Czechoslovakia

With the support of the USSR, the politician quickly replaced Dubcek as leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. He not only reversed the reform process, but also expelled all liberal thinkers from the party. In 1975 Husak Gustav was elected President of Czechoslovakia. During the twenty years of his reign, the country remained one of the most faithfulpolicy of the Soviet Union. In his early years in office, Husak tried to calm the country's angry people by raising economic prosperity and avoiding massive and open repression. At the same time, human rights in Czechoslovakia were more limited than, for example, in Yugoslavia during the time of Broz Tito, and in the field of culture, his policies can even be compared to those in Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu. Under the slogan of stability, the country's secret services routinely arrested dissidents such as members of Charter 77, as well as union leaders who tried to organize strikes.

Hero of the Soviet Union gander Gustav

Gander in the era of "perestroika"

The older, the more conservative became the Hero of the Soviet Union Gusak Gustav (he received this award in 1983). True, in the seventies of the twentieth century, he returned to the party those who were expelled after the “Prague Spring”, although they were obliged to publicly repent of their “mistakes”. In the 80s. in the Politburo, which he headed, a struggle began over whether to carry out reforms like Gorbachev's. Czechoslovak "perestroika" was supported by Prime Minister Lubomir Strouhal. Husak remained neutral, but in April 1987 he announced a program of reforms that were to begin in 1991.

End of career

In 1988, the Czechoslovak communists demanded that their leader give power to the younger generation. Being a pragmatist, Husak decided not to go too far, agreed and resigned, leaving behind the post of President of Czechoslovakia. He did the same during"Velvet Revolution" in 1989. He simply instructed Marian Chalfi to manage the government of "people's trust" and transferred power to him on December 10 of the same year. This was the formal end of the regime he had created himself. In a desperate attempt to rehabilitate himself, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia expelled him from their ranks in 1990, but this did not help her in the elections. The country's president was the dissident Vaclav Havel. Gusak converted to Catholicism and in 1991, almost forgotten by everyone, he died.

Until now, historians argue about what moral responsibility this politician bears for two decades of his rule in Czechoslovakia. Did he control the state apparatus, or was he a toy in the hands of events and other people? In the last years of his life, Husak made excuses that he simply wanted to mitigate the inevitable consequences of the Soviet invasion of the country and tried to resist the "hawks" within his party. In truth, he actually constantly sought the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia. It may have influenced his politics because he was constantly trying to give the impression that everything was “normal.”

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