Archive: History | 1968 1968

Czech Radio marks fortieth anniversary of Soviet-led invasion

21-08-2008 17:50 | Dominik Jůn

Photo: Štěpánka Budková August 21st, 2008 marks 40 years since Warsaw pact troops moved into Czechoslovakia, crushing the reform movement known as the Prague Spring. The invasion shocked many Czechs who came to the defence of the Czechoslovak Radio building (now Czech Radio) on Vinohradská Street. Dominik Jun was there in the run up to the commemoration and filed this report.   More

Warsaw-Pact invasion recreated at National Museum

21-08-2008 17:50 | Rosie Johnston

Photo: Štěpánka Budková Exhibitions have been taking place all over Prague recently to commemorate the Warsaw-Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. But perhaps the biggest of all the displays was unveiled on Thursday, exactly 40 years after the Soviet tanks rolled in. ‘… And the tanks arrived’ sees Prague’s National Museum – to this day a symbol of the occupation – returned to the way it looked in 1968. For one month only, a 1960’s-style kiosk, vintage cars, and of course, a Soviet tank stand outside the museum.   More

Jiří Dienstbier remembers a fateful day

21-08-2008 17:36 | David Vaughan

Jiří Dienstbier, photo: Kristýna Maková Because August 21 is the fortieth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the radio played such a central role in the events of those dramatic days, in this edition of From the Archives we shall be hearing the memories of one of the key journalists involved in those dramatic events. Jiří Dienstbier was one of Czechoslovak Radio’s star reporters at the time. Later he was to become one of the best-known dissidents of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and after the Velvet Revolution he was the country’s first post-communist foreign minister. On the morning of August 21 1968, he was one of several radio journalists, playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Soviet occupiers, as the Soviets tried to silence the radio station. In some of the recordings that survive, you can hear quite distinctly tanks and machine-gun fire in the background.   More

40th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia

21-08-2008 17:04 | Jan Velinger, Daniela Lazarová, Jan Richter

Czech Radio building bombed by Russians in 1968 This August 21st marks 40 years since the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, an invasion meticulously planned by the Soviet Union to crush the period of economic and political reforms known as the Prague Spring. Within hours of late August 20th and early August 21st some 2,000 tanks as well as an estimated 200,000 troops had poured in. It was the beginning of the occupation which changed the course of Czechoslovak history.   More

Dora Slabá on “paper tiger” of Prague Spring and invasion that crushed it

20-08-2008 15:40 | Rob Cameron

All this week we’re broadcasting memories of those who lived through the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, which began around 11pm on August 20th 1968. Today we hear from one of our predecessors here at the Radio Prague English Section, Dora Slabá. August 20th 1968 was a normal working day for Dora, who worked as a presenter. When she went home that day she had no way of knowing that she would never come back to Radio Prague. She begins by describing the atmosphere on that perfect summer day in 1968.   More

Photographer of Soviet-led invasion remembers events 40 years on

19-08-2008 15:55 | Rosie Johnston

Photo: Libor Hajský It was 40 years ago this Thursday that Warsaw-Pact troops invaded the former Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the hope and reform of the so-called ‘Prague Spring’. All this week, Radio Prague will be commemorating the invasion by broadcasting the testimonies of those who were there. For today’s programme, Rosie Johnston spoke to Libor Hajský, a junior photographer at the Czech Press Agency on August 21, 1968 – the day that Soviet tanks rolled into Prague.   More

An illusion of normality: Liz Skelton remembers Radio Prague after the invasion

17-08-2008 | David Vaughan

Liz Skelton When Soviet tanks rolled into Prague in the night from August 20-21 1968, the Czechoslovak Radio building was one of the first places that they tried to bring under control. In the process the building was damaged, several people were killed and dozens injured. Broadcasts went on in secret for several days, keeping the world informed of what was really happening, initially from within the building itself, and then from other locations in the city, using mobile studios and transmitters.   More

Czechs and the Russian Bear

29-07-2008 11:11 | Dominik Jůn

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, photo: CTK In early July, three days after the Czech Republic and the Bush Administration signed a controversial agreement on a future anti-ballistic missile radar base, Russia drastically reduced the supply of oil flowing into the country. The move prompted fears that the Czech Republic had become the latest post-communist country to face what some view as extortion from its former big brother – one strongly opposed to the placement of the US radar base on Czech soil. The crisis soon passed, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordering a full restoration of supplies. Yet the incident underscored tension both above and beneath the surface between the Czech Republic and Russia – one which harks back to a painful 40 year experience as a Soviet satellite. Now, almost twenty years on, have those relations begun to heal, or do Czechs still remain bitter towards Russia? I hit the streets of Prague to gauge some opinions:  More

The two-thousand words that started the Prague Spring

27-06-2008 15:14 | Dominik Jůn

Friday marks the 40th anniversary of the “Two-Thousand Words”, a declaration that was one of the first and most important steps of the national revival referred to as the Prague Spring. The manifesto, which appeared in several publications, posed important questions for the future of democratic reforms in communist Czechoslovakia.   More

Surviving images of Warsaw-pact invasion displayed at new exhibition

26-06-2008 15:22 | Rosie Johnston

Photo: Libor Hajský The climate in Prague in the spring of 1968 was one of liberalization and reform. Laws were passed to abolish censorship and cultivate ‘democratic socialism’. As communist Czechoslovakia opened itself up to the West, the USSR looked on with increasing disapproval. On the night of August 20, Soviet-led troops invaded Prague to bring an end to the reforms. Some of the photos of the turmoil that ensued have just gone on display in Prague.   More



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