Very few people outside Slovakia ever heard of Alexander Dubček prior to his elevation to the position of the First Secretary of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia in January 1968. A few years later, after a shortlived prominence, his name fell into oblivion, appearing only occasionally as a symbol of the “Prague Spring” and “socialism with a human face.”
The amount of writing relevant to the short career of Dubček and the developments in Czechoslovakia in 1968 is tremendous; yet it is not possible to write a “definitive” study on the “Prague Spring” and Dubček's role in it, for the story of those events is still unfolding. Also, interpretations of the Dubček phenomenon will continue to vary due to bias of authors and the lack of hard evidence. Finally, the archives of the Communist parties of the Soviet bloc countries and private papers of Communist party officials are not accessible. It is not possible, for political, personal, security or other reasons, to obtain the one particular piece of evidence — the one vital letter, memorandum of conversation, revealing diary, or a note of personal communication — which would explain conclusively why Dubček rose and fell.