Czechoslovak politician Josef Smrkovský was born on 26 February 1911 in a small town Velenka to a farmer’s family.

During his youth he was already involved in the communist movement and he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1933.

During the Second World War he worked for the illegal communist resistance to Nazi occupation. As a member of the Czech National Council he arranged an agreement for the Nazi units in Prague to surrender.

After the war he worked as a chairman of the Land Property Fund. In 1946 he was elected a member of the National Assembly. During the February 1948 he supported the communist coup and then worked in the Ministry of Agriculture.

In 1951 he was arrested and convicted to life imprisonment for cooperation with a „conspiring centre“ around Rudolf Slánský. He was released in 1955. After the release he held some smaller functions in different ministries. In 1968 Smrkovský contributed to the reform movement and was named chairman of the National Assembly in April 1968. Together with Alexander Dubček became one of the most popular politicians of that time.

After the Warsaw Pact invasion to Czechoslovakia in August 1968 Smrkovský was deported to Moscow where he signed the so-called Moscow Protocol. After his return to Czechoslovakia he was suspended from the Communist Party and broadly condemned.

He died in 1974 and was buried under police control.