Alphonse Massamba-Debat was born in Nkolo, French Equatorial Africa in 1921 to a Bakongo family. In 1940, he joined the anti-colonial Chadian Progressive Party, and he joined the Congolese Progressive Party upon returning to the French Congo in 1947. In 1957, he left a teaching career to become Minister of Education under Fulbert Youlou, and he became a leader of the National Movement of the Revolution party. After Youlou was overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1963, Massamba-Debat became the new President, and he attempted to implement Marxist socialism in the Republic of the Congo. Massamba-Debat aligned towards the Soviet Union and China and allowed for communist guerrillas to operate out of his country, and he formed popular militia units in 1966 with help from Cuban soldiers. From June to July 1966, Massamba-Debat's loyal soldiers and the Tropas put down an uprising by the military after Massamba-Debat attempted to centralize the military, and Massamba-Debat gave in to some of the coup leaders' demands in order to retain power. However, Massamba-Debat was overthrown in a military coup led by Marien Ngouabi in 1968, and he was imprisoned and executed in 1977 after being accused of participating in Ngouabi's assassination.