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Ludvík Svoboda
Ludvík Svoboda (Author - Stanislav Tereba).JPG
Ludvík Svoboda in 1968
8th President of Czechoslovakia
In office
30 March 1968 – 29 May 1975
Preceded by Antonín Novotný
Succeeded by Gustáv Husák
Personal details
Born (1895-11-25)25 November 1895
Hroznatín, Moravia, Austria Hungary
Died 20 September 1979(1979-09-20) (aged 83)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Political party Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
Spouse(s) Irena Svobodová (1901–1980)
Military service
Allegiance  Austria-Hungary
Branch/service Austro-Hungarian Army
Czechoslovak Legions
Logo Czechoslovak Army (pre1961).svg Czechoslovak Army
Years of service 1915 (Austria-Hungary)
1916 – 1950 (Czechoslovakia)
Rank CsArmy1960armadni general Shoulder.png General of the Army
Commands 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps in the USSR
Battles/wars World War I
Russian Civil War
  • Battle of Zborov
  • Battle of Bakhmach

World War II

  • Battle of Sokolovo
  • Battle of Kiev
  • Battle of the Dukla Pass
  • Prague Offensive
Awards Military Order of the White Lion
Cross of St. George
Order of Suvorov
Legion of Honour
Legion of Merit
Order of the Bath

Ludvík Svoboda  (25 November 1895 – 20 September 1979) was a czechoslovak legionaire in world war I and Commander of Czechoslovak army in Russia in World war II. Later he became a president (1968-1975)

Early Life

Ludvík Svoboda was born in Hroznatín in Moravia in district Třebíč. He joined the Austro-Hungaryan army when he was 20 in the year 1915.They were sent east to fight against Russia. He was captured and then he joined the Czecholovak legion in Russia. He fought in battles at Zborov and Bakhmach. When he came back he was hero and then his military carreer started in the new Czechoslovak army in 1921.

World War II

In the early 1930's he taught in the military academy in Prague. After the Munich betrayal in spring 1939 he was in an underground organization named National Defence (Obrana národa). He started with the cooperation with Soviet Union (SSSR). In the start of June he moved to Poland and established a Czechoslovak legion, but when the SSSR invades Poland from the east, he was captured and sentenced to die. His contacts in Moscow freed him.

With connection to Moscow he started to free people from the gulag and used them in his legion. He became a commander of the Czechoslovak army in the east. The first battle of his was in 1943 in the battle of Sokolov in the Ukraine. His position was leader of 1st Czechoslovak corpses. In this battle Czech hero captain Jaroš died. Then he fought in the battle of Dukla Pass. He became a general in 1945 and was named a Hero of the Eastern front.


After the ending of the Antonín Novotný regime, in the period known as the Prague Spring, Svoboda was elected President of Czechoslovakia on 30 March 1968, on the recommendation of Alexander Dubček, the First Secretary. He was an acceptable candidate both for Czechs and Slovaks, and as a war hero and a victim of the purges of the early 1950s. People saw him as a new light for democracy and reform. But he was afraid of the Soviet Union because he saw all the crimes that they made.

He was respected by nations, because he took war hostages from gulags and saved them. Until he signed the Warsaw pact and the Russians invaded in the 1969. He was puppet of KSČ. He said he didn't trust the leadership of the political party. He tried to meet important people in the factories and normal people, but his political status went lower and lower. He even tryied to help poor east Slovakia.

When he was elected for the 2nd time he had a heart attack and had to retire. His succesor was G.Husák.

Rest of his life

He spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair in his house in Prague with wife Irena. After his death in 1979 he had big national and military funeral. His funeral was not organized, but thousands of people came to show respect.

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