From Prague Spring to Soviet winter: 50 years since the Warsaw Pact invasion

From Prague Spring to Soviet winter: 50 years since the Warsaw Pact invasion


August 21st, 1968 stunned Prague residents are woke to the sight of tanks and soldiers parading through the streets of the capital. In the space
of one night the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies had just successfully
invaded Czechoslovakia. Some people thought it was an army exercise because
there were a lot of those at the time but I knew something was wrong because I
had experienced it all before. The so-called Prague Spring movement
spearheaded by the country’s leader Alexander Dubcek had been getting out of
hand. The movement was critical of Stalin-era
communism and sought to achieve socialism with a human face as Dubcek
abolished censorship, legalized strikes and made the economy more liberal. In order to stop what it perceived as a dangerous development, and after it
issued several unheeded warnings, the Soviet Union began to plan a secret
invasion. 50 years ago today some 200,000 soldiers and tanks entered
Czechoslovakia in the largest military operation in europe since World War II The invasion was met with mass protests and street clashes in which over a
hundred people were killed but the resistance was swiftly crushed. Residents
would have to wait until 1991 for Soviet troops to finally leave Prague after 27
years in the country.

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