Gottwald, Klement

Gottwald, Klement

(klāmənt` gôt`vält), 1896–1953, Czechoslovak Communist leader, b. Moravia. After World War I he helped found the Czechoslovak Communist party and served on the party's central committee from 1925. From 1928 to 1943 he was on the executive committee of the CominternComintern
[acronym for Communist International], name given to the Third International, founded at Moscow in 1919. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin feared a resurgence of the Second, or Socialist, International under non-Communist leadership.
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, serving as Comintern secretary from 1935. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938), Gottwald went to Moscow, where he edited a newspaper that propagandized for Czechoslovakian liberation. In 1945 he became deputy premier in the coalition government of President Eduard Beneš. He was named premier in 1946 and also became chairman of the Czechoslovak Communist party. After the Communist coup in Feb., 1948, Gottwald succeeded Beneš as president of Czechoslovakia, a post he held until his death. He dominated government and party through a system of purges and trials, making Czechoslovakia into a satellite of the USSR. His large-scale purge of his opponents in the party culminated in the execution (Dec., 1952) of 11 prominent Communists. Gottwald's death inaugurated a cautious, but short-lived liberalization of the Czechoslovak Communist regime.

Gottwald, Klement

 

Born Nov. 23, 1896, in the village of Dedidocz. Moravia; died Mar. 14, 1953, in Prague. Figure in the Czechoslovak and international workers’ movement. Czechoslovak politician and statesman.

The son of a poor peasant, Gottwald began to work when he was 12 years old. Beginning in 1912 he participated in the social democratic youth movement. In 1918 he supported the left wing of the Social Democratic Party. Gottwald was one of the founders of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC). From 1922 to 1925 he edited the Communist newspapers Pravda chudoby and Hlas lidu. In 1925 he became a member of the Central Committee and Politburo of the CPC, and from 1926 to 1929 he was head of the section for propaganda and agitation of the Central Committee of the party. At the Fifth Congress of the CPC in 1929, Gottwald was elected secretary-general of the Central Committee and in 1945, head of the party. In 1928 he became a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and from 1935 to 1943 he was secretary of the committee. After the Czechoslovak bourgeois government adopted the Munich Pact of 1938, Gottwald, on the decision of the Central Committee of the CPC, emigrated to Moscow, where he headed the administrative center of the party in exile. After the liberation of the eastern parts of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army, Gottwald became deputy premier of the first National Front government at Košice (Apr. 4, 1945). In 1946 he headed the coalition government. After the events of February 1948 he formed a new government, purged of bourgeois conspirators. On June 14, 1948, Gottwald became president of the Czechoslovak Republic.

Gottwald played an important role in developing the general line of the CPC on building socialism in the country, which was proclaimed at the party’s Ninth Congress in May 1949. A great friend of the Soviet Union and a true internationalist, Gottwald advanced the slogan “With the Soviet Union Forever!”, which has become worldwide. The Order of K. Gottwald has been established in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. After its unification with several populated areas, the city of Zlin was renamed after Gottwald.

WORKS

Spisy, vols. 1–15. Prague, 1951–61.
Se Sovétským Svazem na věčné časy. Prague, 1955.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957–58.

P. P. TURPITKO

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