Dubcek remained in office only until April 1969. Anti-Soviet
demonstrations, following Czechoslovakia's victory over the
Soviet team in the World Ice Hockey Championships in March,
precipitated Soviet pressures for a KSC Presidium reorganization.
Gustav Husak (a centrist) was named first secretary (title
changed to general secretary in 1971). Only centrists and the
conservatives led by Bilak continued in the Presidium. A program
of "normalization"--the restoration of continuity with the prereform period--was initiated. Normalization entailed
thoroughgoing political repression and the return to ideological
conformity. A new purge cleansed the Czechoslovak leadership of
all reformist elements. Of the 115 members of the KSC Central
Committee, 54 were replaced.
Reformists were removed from regional, district, and local
party branches in the Czech lands and, to a lesser extent, in
Slovakia. KSC party membership, which had been close to 1.7
million in January 1968, was reduced by about 500,000. Top levels
of government and the leadership of social organizations were
purged. Publishing houses and film studios were placed under new
direction. Censorship was strictly imposed, and a campaign of
militant atheism was organized.
Czechoslovakia had been federalized under the Constitutional
Law of Federation of October 27, 1968. The newly created Federal
Assembly, which replaced the National Assembly, was to work in
close cooperation with the Czech National Council and the Slovak
National Council. The Husak regime amended the law in January
1971. Although federalism was retained in form, central authority
was effectively restored
(see Constitutional Development
, ch. 4).
In May 1970, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union signed the
Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, which
incorporated the principle of limited sovereignty. Soviet troops
remained stationed in Czechoslovakia, and the Czechoslovak armed
forces worked in close cooperation with the Warsaw Pact command
(see Soviet Influence
, ch. 5). Soviet advisers supervised the
functioning of the Ministry of Interior and the security
Internal Security and Public Order
, ch. 5).
Czechoslovak leaders and propagandists, led by Bilak, became the
most ardent advocates of proletarian internationalism.
The purges of the first half of 1970 eliminated the
reformists within the party organization. In the fall of 1970,
the ex-communist intelligentsia organized the Socialist Movement
of Czechoslovak Citizens, a protest movement dedicated to the
goals of 1968. Forty-seven leaders of the movement were arrested
and tried in the summer of 1972. Organized protest was
Data as of August 1987