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Occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968

By on 17 December 2012
Occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968

Czechoslovakia (CSSR) has a rich history but not everyone knows the main milestones. Let´s have a look at one of those important events – year 1968, when the Warsaw Pact troops invaded our land.

The Warsaw Pact was a military pact of European countries of the Eastern bloc, which existed from 1955 to 1991. It was created under the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance signed on the 14th of May in 1955 by Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union in Warsaw. It is stated that the contract was a response to permit the West Germany to enter NATO.

The aim of the Warsaw Pact was to coordinate policy and create a collective security system in Europe (f. e. the military cooperation such as the defense of the independence, etc.).[one_fourth last=”no”][pro_ad_display_adzone id=”7″][/one_fourth][three_fourth last=”yes”]It disappeared after the collapse of the USSR and the end of the East Germany (GDR). On the 25th of February in 1991 it was decided to dissolve the Warsaw Pact troops (in Budapest) and on the 1st of July in 1991 the appropriate protocol was signed in Prague (Čermínský Palace).

As the main cause of the invasion of the Soviet troops into our country is considered so called ”Prague Spring”. The main cause of the invasion of Soviet troops into our country is considered the Prague Spring. It was a period of reforms in Czechoslovakia for political relaxation that started on the 5th of January in 1968, when Alexander Dubček became the first secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC), and continued until the night of 20th to 21st of August, 1968, when Warsaw Pact troops set foot on our territory to stop those already initiated reforms.[/three_fourth]

After the Central Committee of the CPC led by Dubček approved so called Program of Action of CPC, protests and reform movements rose against him in Czechoslovakia, gradually gaining more and more momentum. The result of all this was the Soviet intervention in 1968, which also ended this period of reforms.[one_half last=”no”][pro_ad_display_adzone id=”4″][/one_half][one_half last=”yes”][pro_ad_display_adzone id=”3″][/one_half]USSR, alarmed by the events around Dubček´s reforms (fearing the weakening of the Eastern bloc because of the huge discontent of CSSR citizens), had previously tried to stop or at least limit the changes in Occupation of Czechoslovakia through a series of warnings. Although CPC guaranteed a suppression of ”anti-socialist” tendencies several times, it has failed. Therefore the USSR took military alternative into account and in the night of 20th to 21st of August in 1968 the Warsaw Pact armies crossed the border into Czechoslovakia. They were the armies of the USSR, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and East Germany (which, however, except for a few specialists, didn´t eventually exceed). Albania and Romania didn´t participate in the invasion (they strongly protested against the invasion).

Airports were occupied the first. Then in the morning Czechoslovak Radio broadcasted the Proclamation of All the people of Czechoslovakia:

All the people of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic!

Yesterday, on the 20th of August, 1968, around 23:00 o’clock in the evening, the troops of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of Poland, the German Democratic Republic, the People’s Republic of Hungary and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria crossed the border of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. This was done without the knowledge of President of the Republic, President of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the authorities.

During the day after radio broadcasted already in secret. 6 300 tanks (with invasive stripes) and 200-500 000 armed men came to the streets.

By the 4th of November, 1968, armies of Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary left the Czechoslovakia. Soviet troops remained here until 1991 (around 150 000 people) in thirty-three locations. Whole military facilities (Ralsko, Milovice), barracks (Rokytnice v Orlickych horach, Czech Wilson) and some civilian buildings (hospitals etc.) were under their administration.

The occupation has resulted in many deaths (108 Czechs and Slovaks, 98 Soviets) and 300 000 people emigrating from the Republic.

As one of the consequences of the Soviet invasion can be considered the burning of Jan Palach, who committed a suicide by self-immolation in the upper part of the Wenceslas Square in Prague on the 19th of January, 1969, to protest against the occupation. Although he was taken to the hospital, he died of extensive burns three days later.

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