August 21, 1968: Warsaw Pact troops crush the Prague Spring.

The short-lived “Prague Spring” (a period in Czechoslovakia during which the country underwent liberal reforms and democratization) began on January 5, 1968, when Alexander Dubček became leader of the country’s Communist Party. His reforms, which were carried out over the following months, sought to create “socialism with a human face”. These included an expansion of individual rights (like freedom of speech and press) and a reduction of the totalitarian aspects of the Party. Despite these reforms, Czechoslovak officials attempted to reassure a concerned Moscow of their loyalty to the Warsaw Pact. Following Hungary’s lead in its bloody 1956 revolution would have been unwise. The United States, still bogged down in Vietnam and unwilling to damage relations with the Soviet Union further by supporting the Prague Spring, remained neutral in the affair.  

Unsure of Dubček and his reformers’ true intentions, the Soviet Union led hundreds of thousands of troops from Warsaw Pact countries, plus thousands of tanks, into Czechoslovakia on the night of August 20, 1968. Over a hundred were killed resisting the invasion (despite Dubček’s urges to civilians not to resist). Others resisted Soviet occupation more peacefully - denying food and water to the troops, graffitiing denunciations of the invaders and declaring support for the reformers, etc. However, protests and resistance lasted for only a week before fizzling out, although the invasion was criticized around the world, even by the people of the Soviet Union.

Dubček, meanwhile, was arrested between August 20 and 21, but he was temporarily allowed to keep his position - until April 1969, when he was replaced (and his policies reversed). He was elected Chairman of the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia twenty years later. 

  1. filigree-bones reblogged this from unhistorical
  2. omahatfernweh reblogged this from unhistorical
  3. quidquobro reblogged this from unhistorical
  4. deedeekingisdead reblogged this from unhistorical
  5. kylegreggy reblogged this from william-elms
  6. shegofromalderaan reblogged this from jablllon
  7. owenr1028 reblogged this from thearmedgentleman
  8. jablllon reblogged this from melontastic-tercah
  9. melontastic-tercah reblogged this from unhistorical and added:
    Reblogging because this is scarily relevant.
  10. marudaiz reblogged this from kanabow
  11. oki-ochinchin reblogged this from kanabow
  12. kanabow reblogged this from jsmvint
  13. gettothestabbing reblogged this from seawisher
  14. jsmvint reblogged this from thearmedgentleman
  15. dranor44 reblogged this from thearmedgentleman
  16. seawisher reblogged this from thearmedgentleman
  17. william-elms reblogged this from thearmedgentleman
  18. thearmedgentleman reblogged this from unhistorical
  19. deprofundisetclamo reblogged this from macarrismo-leninismo
  20. macarrismo-leninismo reblogged this from irishlobster
  21. irishlobster reblogged this from slavshit
  22. thenighthawks reblogged this from unhistorical
  23. xclaywizardx reblogged this from unhistorical
  24. strawberry--butterfly reblogged this from cherrylng
  25. youaremyfavouritewasteoftime reblogged this from unhistorical
  26. thereisnosubstituteforvictor reblogged this from slavshit
  27. eerieriviere reblogged this from unhistorical
  28. sgts1mmons reblogged this from highcapacityassaultclips