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Klement Gottwald
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R90009, Budapest, II. Weltfestspiele, Festumzug, tschechische Delegation (cropped KG).jpg
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
In office
1929 – 14 March 1953
Preceded by Bohumil Jílek
as General Secretary
Succeeded by Antonín Novotný
as First Secretary
5th President of Czechoslovakia
In office
14 June 1948 – 14 March 1953
Preceded by Edvard Beneš
Succeeded by Antonín Zápotocký
14th Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia
In office
2 July 1946 – 15 June 1948
Preceded by Zdenek Fierlinger
Succeeded by Antonín Zápotocký
Personal details
Born (1896-11-23)23 November 1896
Dědice, Vyškov, Margraviate of Moravia, Austria-Hungary
Died 14 March 1953(1953-03-14) (aged 56)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Political party Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Spouse(s) Marta Gottwaldová
Profession Cabinetmaker
Newspaper editor
Signature

Klement Gottwald (23 November 1896 – 14 March 1953) was a Czechoslovak Communist politician, who was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1929 until 1945 and party chairman until his death in 1953.

He was the 14th Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia from July 1946 until June 1948, at which point he became the president of the third republic, four months after the 1948 coup d'état in which his party seized power with the backing of the Soviet Union.

Early life

232. Novokhopyorsk. Dzerzhinsky street, 13. Residential house in which lived Klement Gottwald
Residential house in which Klement Gottwald lived - Voronezh Region, Russia

Klement Gottwald was born in Heroltice as the son of a poor peasant. Before the First World War he was trained in Vienna as a carpenter but also actively participated in the activities of the Social Democratic youth movement.

Klement Gottwald was married to Marta Gottwaldová who, like him, came from a poor family. Although his wife stood by him through his endeavours, and was his faithful companion, she never joined the Communist Party. They had one daughter, Marta.

From 1915 to 1918 Gottwald was a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian Army. In the summer of 1918, Gottwald deserted from the army. After the establishment of the first Czechoslovak Republic, he served for two years in the Czechoslovak Army.

From 1920 to 1921 he worked in Rousinov as a cabinetmaker.

Death

D-DLG-Gundelfingen2
Statues of Stalin and Klement Gottwald

Gottwald had suffered from heart disease for several years. Shortly after attending Stalin's funeral on 9 March 1953, one of his arteries burst. He died five days later on 14 March 1953, aged 56.

Gottwald's body was initially displayed in a mausoleum at the site of the Jan Žižka national monument in the district of Žižkov, Prague. In 1962 the personality cult ended and it was no longer deemed appropriate to show Gottwald's body. His body was cremated, the ashes returned to the Žižka Monument and placed in a sarcophagus.

After the end of the communist period, Gottwald's ashes were removed from the Žižka Monument (in 1990) and placed in a common grave at Prague's Olšany Cemetery, together with the ashes of about 20 other communist leaders which had also originally been placed in the Žižka Monument. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia now maintains that common grave.

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