(b. Uhrovec, western Slovakia, 27 Nov. 1921; d. Prague, 7 Nov. 1992)
(Slovak; leader of the Slovak Communist Party 1963–8, leader of the Czechoslovak Party 1968–9.) The son of a Communist carpenter, Dubček spent his childhood from 1925 to 1938 in the Soviet Union. He joined the illegal Slovak Communist Party in 1939. In August 1944 he participated in the Slovak National Uprising and was wounded. Until 1949 Dubček held a variety of menial and factory jobs. He then entered the party apparatus full-time, working in Trenčin, and was appointed to the Slovak Central Committee in 1951. Early in 1953 he was promoted to post of regional secretary of the Banská Bystrica area in central Slovakia. In 1958 he was made regional secretary for Bratislava and member of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Party. In 1960 he made his only trip to the West, visiting Finland. In June 1960 he became a secretary of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Party and entered the Czechoslovak Party Presidium in 1963. In May 1963 he replaced Karol Bacílek as Slovak Party leader, defeating Novotný's candidate, Michal Chudík. In June 1966 Chudík and Novotný failed to oust Dubček from leadership of the Slovak Party. In October 1967 Dubček led the revolt against Novotný of reformists and Slovak nationalists within the Czechoslovak Central Committee and replaced Novotný as First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Party in January 1968. Impelled by economic crisis and popular expectations, Dubček's regime enacted a series of far-reaching measures intended to create ‘socialism with a human face’. The culmination was the ‘Action Programme’ of April 1968, by which the party announced reforms including basic civil rights, an independent judiciary, and economic decentralization. From 29 July to 2 August Dubček met the Soviet leaders at Čierna-nad-Tisou in Slovakia. He promised to maintain the one-party system and to keep Czechoslovakia within the Warsaw Pact. On the night of 20–1 August 1968 the forces of the Warsaw Pact intervened in Czechoslovakia. Dubček and five other leaders were arrested and taken to Moscow, but were soon returned to Prague. In 1969 Husák replaced Dubček as party leader and he became President of the Federal Assembly. In 1970 he was removed from office and expelled from the party. From then until 1989 he worked as a forest warden in Slovakia. He sided with the democratic opposition during the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of 1989 which brought down the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, but did not play a significant political role thereafter. He died after a car crash in 1992.