Birthday: January 10, 1913
Died At Age: 78
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Gustav Husak
Born in: Dúbravka, Bratislava
Famous as: Slovak Politician
political ideology: Political party- Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Spouse/Ex-: Dagmar Husáková, Magda Husáková-Lokvencová, Viera Husáková
Died on: November 18, 1991
place of death: Bratislava
education: Comenius University in Bratislava
Gustav Husak was a Slovak politician who served as the President of Czechoslovakia from 1975 to 1989. A staunch Communist, he had been long associated with the Communist Party in Slovakia and rose in prominence following the Soviet bloc invasion which ended the Prague Spring of 1968. He was interested in politics from a young age and joined the Communist Youth Union at the age of 16 when he was just a school student. Over the years, his interest in politics grew manifold and he became involved in underground communist activities after completing his legal studies. He was a passionate anti-fascist; he emerged as one of the leaders of the Slovak uprising against a Nazi-puppet government in 1944. He was also arrested for his political activities, but nothing thwarted the ambitions of this young man who remained loyal to his cause with a steadfast devotion. He was imprisoned for several years for opposing Josef Stalin, but ever the resilient soul, he established himself politically following his release. He eventually became the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a post he held for almost two decades. He became the President of Czechoslovakia in 1975 and served in this position until 1989. His rule is known as the period of the so-called "Normalization"
Childhood & Early Life
Gustav Husak was born on 10 January 1913 in Pozsonyhidegkút, Pozsony County, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary (now part of Bratislava, Slovakia as Dúbravka). His father was an unemployed worker.
He attended the grammar school in Bratislava. He developed an early interest in politics and joined the Communist Youth Union at the age of 16.
He wanted to become a lawyer and enrolled at the Law Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava in 1933. The same year he also joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC).
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Gustav Husak was fascinated by the Marxist doctrine and was a staunch Communist. After completing his legal studies he started practicing in the law firm of Vladimir Clementis, another Communist intellect.
During this time he also became involved in underground communist activities angering the German-backed Slovak puppet Government which arrested and jailed him in 1940.
He was released in 1943. After his release he became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia, and was one of the leaders of the antifascist Slovak national uprising of 1944.
He embarked on a career as a government official and party functionary in Czechoslovakia and served as the chairman of Slovakia’s governing body, the Board of Commissioners, from 1946 to 1950. He held considerable powers in this position and played a key role in the liquidation of the Democratic Party of Slovakia.
In 1950, a purge of party stalwarts suspected of "nationalism" was started and Gustav Husak was one of those who became victim to the purge. He was arrested in 1951 and convicted and sentenced in 1954. He was imprisoned from 1954 to1960 in the Leopoldov Prison.
He wrote many letters to the party leaders from prison but the party leader and President Antonín Novotný repeatedly declined to pardon him. However, his conviction was overturned and he was released in 1960.
After his release he found a job with the Department of Buildings in Bratislava. By 1963 was allowed to rejoin the Communist Party and soon became a critic of KSC’s neo-Stalinist leadership.
In 1968 he was appointed leader of the Communist Party of Slovakia and he succeeded Dubček as first secretary (title changed to general secretary in 1971) of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in April 1969. Between 1969 and 1971 he removed several of the party’s liberal members.
He became the President of Czechoslovakia in 1975. During the initial years of his administration, he managed to provide a relatively satisfactory living standard to the citizens. However, the citizens were subjected to repression and the people's rights were greatly restricted; and the repression intensified over the years as he grew more conservative.
His rule was known as the so-called period of “normalization” during which the country had become a police state. It was a dark period in the history of Czechoslovakia and the official ideology of normalization is sometimes called Husakism after Gustav Husak.
Communism collapsed during the late 1980s and he resigned as president towards the end of 1989 and was succeeded in by the playwright and former dissident Vaclav Havel. Shortly after, in February 1990, he was expelled from the Communist Party.
Awards & Achievements
Gustav Husak was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on 9 January 1983.
Personal Life & Legacy
Gustav Husak married Dr. Magda Husáková-Lokvencová in 1938. She died in 1966 after almost three decades of marriage.
He later met Viera Husáková-Čáslavská a married her in 1975. Unfortunately, she died in 1977 in a helicopter crash, leaving him a widower for the second time.
He suffered from stomach cancer during his last years and died on 18 November 1991, at the age of 78, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.