The departure of novotny was in many ways a great opportunity for Czechoslovakia. The man who was the symbol of the 1950s, the obstacle to reform in the sixties, was out of the way at last. It might be feasible for a more advanced Slovak people to gain the measure of dignity and autonomy they had failed to gain fifty years before. Czechoslovakia might emerge a happier place whose prosperity would reflect greater credit on the socialist camp. There was something in it for most people. Non-communist victims of the trials were promised swift and total rehabilitation. The old and the disabled were promised a more equitable pension system and the young an expanded housing programme. Conditions in the countryside were also better in the spring of 1968 than they had been for a year or two, and the peasants’ loyalties were in any case divided by their working separately on state, co-operative, and private farms.