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- 1 2018-12-07T16:25:10-08:00 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed Gallery | The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia Jan Hamara 25 This gallery brings together all historical images, that are connected in some way to the dissolution or history of the Czechoslovakia structured_gallery 2018-12-11T16:15:37-08:00 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed
- 1 media/VelvetRevolutionWP-1024x512.jpg 2018-12-06T15:26:18-08:00 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed Former flag of Czechoslovakia and current flag of the Czech Republic. Jan Hamara 10 This annotation talks about the flag of former Czechoslovakia. image_header 2018-12-06T16:23:10-08:00 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed
- 1 media/image-13.jpg 2018-12-07T14:52:28-08:00 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia Jan Hamara 9 The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968 image_header 2018-12-09T15:10:17-08:00 08/20/1968 - 08/21/1968 Summer 1968 Jan Hamara dbb9b4e12a0a9cd10529d07c16b0755ad03ddfed
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The Prague Spring (1968)
The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech and travel.
The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to halt the reforms.
Dubček carried the reform movement a step further in the direction of liberalism. After Novotný's fall, censorship was lifted. The press, radio, and television were mobilized for reformist propaganda purposes. The movement to democratize socialism in Czechoslovakia, formerly confined largely to the party intelligentsia, acquired a new, popular dynamism in the spring of 1968 (the "Prague Spring"). Radical elements found expression; anti-Soviet polemics appeared in the press; the Social Democratsbegan to form a separate party; and new unaffiliated political clubs were created.
Party conservatives urged the implementation of repressive measures, but Dubček counseled moderation and re-emphasized KSČ leadership.
In addition, the Dubček leadership called for politico-military changes in the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact and Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The leadership affirmed its loyalty to socialism and the Warsaw Pact, but also expressed the desire to improve relations with all countries of the world, regardless of their social systems.
A program adopted in April 1968 set guidelines for a modern, humanistic socialist democracy that would guarantee, among other things, freedom of religion, press, assembly, speech, and travel, a program that, in Dubček's words, would give socialism "a human face." After 20 years of little public participation, the population gradually started to take interest in the government, and Dubček became a truly popular national figure. A Polish Warsaw Pact armored unit in Czechoslovakia, 1968.
The internal reforms and foreign policy statements of the Dubček leadership created great concern among some other Warsaw Pact governments. As a result, the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries (except for Romania) mounted a Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia during the night of 20–21 August 1968. Two-thirds of the KSČ Central Committee opposed the Soviet intervention. Popular opposition was expressed in numerous spontaneous acts of non-violent resistance. In Prague and other cities throughout the republic, Czechs and Slovaks greeted Warsaw Pact soldiers with arguments and reproaches.
The Czechoslovak Government declared that the Warsaw Pact troops had not been invited into the country and that their invasion was a violation of socialist principles, international law, and the UN Charter. Dubček, who had been arrested on the night of 20 August, was taken to Moscow for negotiations. The outcome was the Brezhnev Doctrine of limited sovereignty, which provided for the strengthening of the KSČ, strict party control of the media, and the suppression of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party.
The principal Czechoslovak reformers were forcibly and secretly taken to the Soviet Union, where they signed a treaty that provided for the "temporary stationing" of an unspecified number of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia. Dubček was removed as party First Secretary on 17 April 1969, and replaced by another Slovak, Gustáv Husák. Later, Dubček and many of his allies within the party were stripped of their party positions in a purge that lasted until 1971 and reduced party membership by almost one-third.
On 19 January 1969, the student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, an action shocked many observers throughout the world.
Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany and Hungary – on the night of 20–21 August 1968
08/20/1968 - 08/21/1968
Approximately 250,000 Warsaw pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.
The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.
Leonid Brezhnev and the leadership of the Warsaw Pact countries were worried that the unfolding liberalisation in Czechoslovakia, including the ending of censorship and political surveillance by the secret police, would be detrimental to their interests. The first such fear was that Czechoslovakia would defect from the bloc, injuring the Soviet Union's position in a possible war with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Not only would the loss result in a lack of strategic depth for the USSR, but it would also mean that it could not tap Czechoslovakia's industrial base in a potential war. Czechoslovak leaders had no intention of leaving the Warsaw Pact, but Moscow felt it could not be certain exactly what Prague's intentions were.
At approximately 11 pm on 20 August 1968, Eastern Bloc armies from four Warsaw Pact countries – the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary – invaded Czechoslovakia. That night, 250,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 2,000 tanks entered the country. The total number of invading troops eventually reached 500,000.
The invasion was well planned and coordinated; simultaneously with the border crossing by ground forces, a Soviet airborne division captured Ruzyne International Airport in the early hours of the invasion. It began with a special flight from Moscow which carried more than 100 plain clothes agents. They quickly secured the airport and prepared the way for the huge forthcoming airlift, in which An-12 transport aircraft began arriving and unloading Soviet Airborne Troops equipped with artillery and light tanks.
As the operation at the airport continued, columns of tanks and motorized rifle troops headed toward Prague and other major centers, meeting no resistance.
During the attack of the Warsaw Pact armies, 137 Czechs and Slovaks were killed and hundreds were wounded. Alexander Dubček called upon his people not to resist. He was arrested and taken to Moscow along with several of his colleagues.