January 5 - 1968 - Alexander Dubcek Takes Power in Czechoslovakia
In 1967, it appeared that hardline Communist government of Antonin Novotny would rule Czechoslovakia as long as Novotny wanted. Then economic downturns and unpopular political actions made people dissastisfied with the government, and the Slovak leader Alexander Dubcek became Secretary of the Communist Party in January of 1968. More importantly, Dubcek's willingness to limit censorship, open up political participation, and pursue economic reforms led to the Prague Spring. The Prague Spring was a large scale reform movement, which sought to modernize and democratice Communism rather than overthrow it. That still made Leonid Brezhnev, Premier of the Soviet Union, quite nervous, so he led the other Warsaw Pact countries in an invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968. This effectively ended the Prague Spring and would directly lead to the removal of Alexander Dubcek from power.