Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Nosek, Václav (1892–1955)

Czechoslovak communist official, minister of the interior (1945–1953), and minister of labor (1953–1955). Born on 26 September 1892 in Velká Dobrá (in the Kladno Region), Gustav Nosek was by training a miner. Active early in Social Democratic Party politics, he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPCz) at its inception in 1921. During 1924–1938, he served as secretary of the communist unions and was a member of the CPCz Central Committee during 1929–1936. During World War II, he was one of the party's leaders in exile, serving in London as vice chairman of the government-in-exile during 1942–1945.

Upon his return to Czechoslovakia, Nosek became a member of both parliament and the CPCz Central Committee, posts he held until his death. He is perhaps best known for his activities as interior minister during 1945–1953 and especially during the struggle for power in early 1948. As interior minister, he controlled the Czechoslovak police forces. In February 1948, he used his authority to remove eight non-communists from leading positions in the Prague police force and replaced them with CPCz members.

When a government decree demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed officers went unheeded, noncommunist government officials submitted their resignations in protest. This signaled the beginning of the government crisis that ended on 25 February 1948, when the CPCz essentially took control of the state. In the following years Nosek's influence waned, particularly after 1950, when the new ministry of national security assumed responsibility for the police forces. Nosek left his post in 1953. He died on 22 July 1955 in Prague.

Bradley F. Abrams


Further Reading
Kaplan, Karel. The Short March. London: Hurst, 1987.
 

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