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Czechoslovakia and helsinki

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  • 1. Czechoslovakia, 1968 and the Helsinki Accords, 1975
  • 2. Times were changing
    • 12 years after brutal suppression of Hungary, Czechoslovakia posed a similar threat to Soviet domination.
    • In the 1960’s a new mood developed in Czechoslovakia .
    • Over the course of 20 years, the people became unhappy with Soviet control.
    • Alexander Dubcek replaced Stalin’s leader of choice in 1967
  • 3. Alexander Dubcek
    • Dubcek was a committed Communist, but felt it had become restrictive.
    • He proposed: “Socialism with a human face”.
    • This meant, less censorship, more freedom of speech and reduction of the secret police.
    • No intention to pull out of Warsaw Pact or Comecom.
    Alexander Dubcek
  • 4. The Prague Spring
    • With the relaxation of censorship, intellectuals began to barrage Communist leaders over corruption and their useless running of the country.
    • Ministers were humiliated live on television and radio.
    • This time was known as ‘The Prague Spring’.
    Ludvik Vanculik, a leading figure in the reform movement.
  • 5. Soviet Response
    • These ideas from Czechoslovakia caused serious concern for other Communist countries.
    • They argued with Dubcek
    • Performed military exercises on its border.
    • Thought about economic sanctions – though they feared this would make them seek help from the West.
    Walter Ulbricht (East German leader) and Wladyslaw Gomulka (Polish leader)
  • 6. Invasion
    • 20 th August, to the amazement of the Czechs, Soviet tanks moved in.
    • There was little violent resistance.
    • Dubcek socialism with a human face had not failed, but proved unacceptable.
    • Brezhnez worried the precedent Czech reforms would have on other European countries.
  • 7. The aftermath
    • Dubeck was demoted and eventually expelled from Communist Party.
    • Brezhnez doctrine over essentials of Communism:
      • One-party system
      • Member of Warsaw Pact.
    • Mood of Czech people after invasion shifted from optimism to despair.
    • Ideas potentially reforming Communism silenced.
  • 8. Task
    • Explain the impact of invading Czechoslovakia (2 nd paragraph under “Czechoslovakia, 1968 p.106)
    • Explain what the Helsinki Accords were and how they impacted on life within the Soviet Union, p.106-7.

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