Alexander Dubček ("DOOB-check") was a Slovak politician and briefly the leader of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in 1968-69. He tried to institute what he called “socialism with a human face,” including democratic reforms such as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement, and the potential for a multi-party government.

This brief period of liberalization became known as the “Prague Spring,” and lasted from January to August of 1968, but ended suddenly with the invasion by the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies -- Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Poland. Somewhere between 175,000 and 500,000 troops entered the country. The invasion was swift and total: 500 Czechoslovaks were wounded and 108 killed.

During the period that followed, known officially as “normalization,” the leader of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Gustáv Husák, replaced Dubček, became president, and reversed all Dubček’s reforms.

In section 27 of Part Two (page 75), Tereza is likened to Dubček, and to occupied Czechoslovakia, in her romantic enslavement to Tomas.