It has been thirty-five years since Soviet troops began entering Czechoslovakia late on August 20th and early August 21st in a carefully orchestrated invasion designed to crush the period of political and economic reforms known as the Prague Spring, reforms led by the country's new First Secretary of the Communist party Alexander Dubcek. A movement viewed by Leonid Brezhnev and other Soviet hard-liners in Moscow as a serious threat to the Soviet Union's hold on the Socialist satellite states, they decided to act. In the first hours on the 21st
Milan Kazda is a documentary film-maker. In August 1968, when Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, he was chief producer at a regional film studio in his home town of Plzen. Along with colleagues he decided to capture on film the traumatic experience of Soviet tanks rolling into the city, courageously going out into the streets to film. The film that resulted remains one of the most powerful documents of the tragedy of 1968. Not surprisingly Milan Kazda was afterwards banned from working in film for over twenty years, and only after 1989 did
35 years ago just before midnight on 20th August 1968 Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia, bringing the brief reforms of the Prague Spring to an abrupt and violent end, shattering the dreams of the reformist leader Alexander Dubcek and millions of Czechs and Slovaks. Dubcek had grown up in the Soviet Union, believed passionately in the ideals of communism, and was sincere in his dream of "socialism with a human face". But Dubcek was also naïve. He never dreamed that his beloved Soviet Union would resort to invading his homeland, to halt the
All the dailies lead with the court case of the former communist official Karel Hoffman who was sentenced to four years in prison by a Prague court yesterday for his part in crushing the 1968 reform movement in Czechoslovakia by the armies of the Warsaw Pact. LIDOVE NOVINY, MLADA FRONTA DNES and HOSPODARSKE NOVINY are using an almost identical headline: "First person sentenced for August 1968".
In this week's edition of our weekly special on the history of Czech Radio - marking the station's 80th anniversary - Martin Hrobsky looks at the role radio played during the Prague Spring. It was 1968 in Czechoslovakia and optimism was in the air: students, workers, and intellectuals alike were calling for change in a political and economic system that was no longer meeting the needs of the people. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia knew this, and once a number of innocent reforms were carried out, the winds of change could not be
Angela Spindler-Brown is one of the hundreds of thousands of people who left Czechoslovakia in 1968, as Soviet tanks rolled into the country. She had been a student at Prague's Charles University, editing the main student magazine. In exile in London she remained a journalist, writing and working in television. She is married to an Englishman, hence her rather un-Czech sounding name, and currently edits the bi-monthly magazine of the British Czech and Slovak Association. Here she talks about one change that has affected her life enormously since
Jana Gonda was a teenager at the time of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Like tens of thousands of Czechs she emigrated with her parents in the months that followed. Today she is back in Prague, as director of the Supraphon record label, after a successful career in Canada. For many émigrés the first impression of life abroad is a disappointment or a moment filled with apprehension, but for Jana Gonda life in exile began very differently. Her first weekend in Canada was like a dream come true. As she now recalls, she was thrown straight
It was August 21st 1968, the world was turning upside-down in Czechoslovakia. The reform movement, which became known as the Prague Spring, was brutally crushed by the Soviet Union and her Warsaw Pact allies. In the days that followed the streets of every major city in the country, especially Prague and Bratislava, filled with people protesting the aggression, pleading with their occupiers to turn around and go home. Vaclav Zabransky left Czechoslovakia not long after the invasion, he now is a successful business man living in the United States.
A commemorative ceremony was held outside the Czech Radio building at Vinohradska street on Wednesday, August 21st to mark the 34th anniversary of the Soviet led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Some 150 people came to pay homage to the victims of the invasion and to recall the days when Warsaw Pact tanks rolled into Prague to crush the Prague Spring reform movement. At the end of the ceremony, people laid flowers under a plaque bearing the names of 15 people, among them several radio editors, who were killed in the street skirmishes.
August 21st is the anniversary of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, without question one of the bleakest days in the country's history. The invasion marked the end of the tentative reforms of the Prague Spring - which had given hope to so many - and the beginning of many years of stultifying repression by the Communist regime.
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