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Soviet Union intervenes in Czechoslovakia Soviet Union intervenes in Czechoslovakia
by The Ovi Team
2017-08-20 10:19:24
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August 20th 1968; In the face of rising anti-Soviet protests in Czechoslovakia, Soviet troops (backed by troops from other Warsaw Pact nations) intervene to crush the protest and restore order. The brutal Soviet action shocked the West and dealt a devastating blow to U.S.-Soviet relations. The troubles in Czechoslovakia began when Alexander Dubcek took over as secretary general of the nation's Communist Party in January 1968. It was immediately apparent that Dubcek wanted a major overhaul of Czechoslovakia's political and economic system—he called his particular ideology "Socialism with a human face." He called for greater political freedom, including more participation by noncommunist parties. Dubcek also pressed for economic policies that would ensure less state control and more reliance on free market economics. Finally, he insisted on greater freedom from Soviet domination, although he reiterated his nation's allegiance to the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet bloc's counterpart to NATO.

Dubcek's policies shocked the Soviets and leaders in other Eastern European nations. Throughout early and mid-1968, negotiations took place between Dubcek and representatives from Russia and other Soviet bloc nations in an attempt to have the Czechoslovakian leader soften his reforms. Dubcek refused, and tensions with the Soviet Union steadily increased. Meanwhile, the sudden atmosphere of freedom that Dubcek was encouraging took root, and Czech citizens embraced and celebrated the new tolerance for free exchange of ideas and open discussion in what came to be known as the "Prague Spring." On the night of August 20, 1968, more than 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops crossed into Czechoslovakia and headed for the capital city of Prague. In just over a day, the entire country was occupied; within a week nearly three-quarters of a million foreign troops were in Czechoslovakia. Anti-Soviet riots broke out in Prague, but these were viciously crushed and thousands of Czechs fled the country.

 

 

 

 


    
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