Klement GottwaldKlement Gottwald (November 23, 1896 - March 14, 1953) was a Czechoslovakian Communist politician.
Longtime Secretary-General of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC or CPCz). In March 1945 Edvard Benes who had been elected President of Czechoslovakia 1935-38 and head of a Czechoslovakia provisional government in London since 1941, agreed to form a National Front government with Gottwald. Elected to the first Czech post-war government following the 1946 election Gottwald became Premier of Czechoslovakia.
On May 9, 1948, in a effective coup d'etat parliament had passed a new constitution guaranteeing a "leading role" for the Communist Party in political life. President Benes refused to sign the new legislation and he resigned on June 7, 1948 (he died three months later). On June 14, the National Assembly elected Klement Gottwald as the new President of Czechoslovakia.
A slavish Stalinist he nationalized the contry's industry and collectivised the farms. There was considerable resistance within the government to the Russian influence on Czech politics and Gottwald instituated a series of purges to remove non-Communists from the government. Both Vladimir Clementis, the Foreign Minister and Gustav Husak, the Prime Minister were early targets, dismissed from office for "bourgeois nationalism". Clementis was executed in December 1952 and hundreds of other government officials were sent to concentration camps.
Gottwald died in 1953, just nine days after attending Stalin's funeral. He was succeeded by Antonin Zapotocky, the Premier of Czechoslovakia from 1948 - 1953.