Prague Spring


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Prague Spring

  1. 1. End of a Dream The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia – August 1968
  2. 2. Map of Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic (CSSR)
  3. 3. Reform Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek
  4. 4. The Prague Spring - 1968 <ul><li>In January 1968, the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR) elected a young Slovakian moderate Communist by the name of Alexander Dubcek to lead the Czechoslovak state. </li></ul><ul><li>He immediately began to reform the entire Communist Party apparatus and over a period of eight months abolished censorship, opened the borders and allowed freedom of assembly as well as independent writers and trade unions to flourish. </li></ul><ul><li>The population reacted with complete enthusiasm by supporting Dubcek’s initiatives. Instead of fleeing abroad, they stayed in the country and discussed, debated and wrote how the people could reform Communism and give it a “human face”. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prague and the Vltava (Moldau)
  6. 6. St. Charles Bridge on the Vltava (Moldau)
  7. 7. The Invasion <ul><li>On the night of August 20 th 1968 Soviet forces supported by Communist satellite states invaded the reformist Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR) in order to put a stop to the reform movement. They arrested Dubcek and flew him to Moscow where he was tortured and forced to recant his heresy from Stalinist orthodoxy. </li></ul><ul><li>The Soviets and their associates feared that the reformist movement could spread to other fraternal Communist states in Eastern Europe and hence question Soviet hegemony in the region. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to justify its intervention, the Soviet leadership told their armed forces that they were intervening against Czech Fascists who were attempting a Putsch with assistance from CIA agents and West German Neo Nazis. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Soviet forces arriving in the night of August 20 th 1968
  9. 9. Soviet troops confronting angry Czechoslovak civilians
  10. 10. Czechoslovaks wake up in amazement to Occupation – 21 August 1968
  11. 11. Thousands of Czechoslovak citizens confronted Soviet tanks
  12. 12. The masses surrounding Soviet tanks on Wenceslaus Square
  13. 13. “ To the entire people of Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic!”- A message from the CSSR Presidium informing the populace of the invasion and calling for calm
  14. 14. Bewildered Soviet troops surrounded by Czechoslovak crowd – Nowhere were Fascists , CIA agents or West German Neo Nazis to be found
  15. 15. Soviet tanks surrounded by unarmed Czechoslovak civilians
  16. 16. Students and demonstrators try to question evasive Soviet soldiers
  17. 17. Young Soviet soldiers are confused with the actual situation in the CSSR
  18. 18. Young Soviet soldiers pause alongside Czechoslovak civilians
  19. 19. Young Soviet soldiers caught up in the confusion of the early hours
  20. 20. Czech students writing protest posters
  21. 21. Civilians climb on Soviet tanks claiming them as trophies
  22. 22. Czech girl showing that there was no Fascist coup attempt
  23. 23. Czechoslovak civilians climb on Soviet tanks at Wenceslaus Square as symbolic peaceful conquest of the invading forces
  24. 24. Soviet troops with anti-aircraft guns occupying Jan Hus Square
  25. 25. Czechoslovak students defying Soviet forces by placing signs and posters protesting the invasion and demanding the return of Dubcek
  26. 26. “ I am with you!” - Protest Poster showing the kidnapped Dubcek was still present in the minds of his people
  27. 27. Czech students protest on a terrace of the National Museum overlooking Wenceslaus Square
  28. 28. Soviet tanks on Wenceslaus Square with National Museum in the background
  29. 29. “ Is this friendship? – Departure of the Occupier, Sovereignty, Neutrality”
  30. 30. Czechoslovak demonstrator demanding neutrality for her country
  31. 31. Road signs were defaced in order to confuse the invading forces
  32. 32. The Fairy Tale of the Five Brothers in front of the frightened Czech Republic
  33. 33. Czechoslovak protestors and journalists climb on Soviet tanks and claim them by waving Czechoslovak flags over them
  34. 34. Civilians demanding a reason for the invasion
  35. 35. Civilians climbing on tanks and confronting Soviet soldiers
  36. 36. Students surround Soviet soldiers and criticize their intervention
  37. 37. Defiant students burn Soviet propaganda leaflets and posters
  38. 38. Protestors jeering at the Soviet occupiers
  39. 39. Czechoslovak protestors whistling at the Soviets occupiers
  40. 40. The crowds in a stand off with the Soviet occupying forces
  41. 41. Signs begin to appear for the Soviets to leave Czechoslovakia
  42. 42. Czechoslovak demonstrators used trucks to spread leaflets and block tanks
  43. 43. The Soviets responded by crushing everything in their path
  44. 44. Passive resistance turns into violent confrontation as Molotov cocktails are thrown at Soviet tanks
  45. 45. Czechoslovak student claims victory over a Soviet tank
  46. 46. Soviet soldier aiming machine gun at an unarmed civilian after his tank had been hit by a Molotov Cocktail
  47. 47. Protestor taunts Soviets to shoot him. His body was later found in an alley.
  48. 48. Czech demonstrator on top of a Soviet tank while another burns beside it
  49. 49. Soviet tanks charging through the crowd in the smoke filled streets
  50. 50. Soviet attack at the Czechoslovak National Radio station
  51. 51. Aftermath of the street battle between Soviet armed forces and Czech civilians
  52. 52. Poster criticizing censorship after Soviet take over of National Radio and TV
  53. 53. Czechoslovak protestors throw rocks at Soviet tanks
  54. 54. Tending to the dead and the wounded
  55. 55. Protestors stain Czech flags with blood and show them to Soviets and the press
  56. 56. Demonstrators showing the Soviets the blood stained Czechoslovak flags
  57. 57. Civilians carrying out the dead and the wounded
  58. 58. Satire of the brutal repression of the Soviet “Liberator” of 1945 towards the Czechoslovak Republic in 1968
  59. 59. Burial of the first victims of Soviet repression
  60. 60. Mourner overcome by grief at the burial procession
  61. 61. Mourners at the public burials of fallen protestors
  62. 62. Czechoslovak civilians showing blood stained flags to indifferent Soviet soldiers
  63. 63. Soviet troops on top of tanks indifferent to the anger of the crowd
  64. 64. A frustrated Czechoslovak soldier demands a reason for the Soviet invasion
  65. 65. Soviet tanks in a moment of pause before further orders
  66. 66. Massive protests against the violence and repression of the Soviet occupation
  67. 67. Civilian demonstrations against the foreign oppressor
  68. 68. Independent press showing population condemning Soviet invasion
  69. 69. Empty streets for an announced Pro-Soviet rally
  70. 70. 150 000 Czechoslovaks fled their country as the borders were left open
  71. 71. AFTERMATH <ul><li>August 27 th 1968 Reform Party Secretary Alexander Dubcek was released and returned to CSSR but only after he and his reform associates were forced to sign a statement on August 25 th in which they renounced to their political, economic and social reforms. </li></ul><ul><li>August 30 th 1968 – 14 th Party Congress of CSSR declared invalid and all reforms are declared null and void . Censorship is reintroduced and independent writers and trade unions are banned. The borders are closed. </li></ul><ul><li>In protest to the Soviet occupation and lack of support from West, 20 year old Jan Palach sets himself on fire in downtown Prague. </li></ul>
  72. 72. 20 year old Jan Palach who protested the Soviet occupation by setting himself on fire in public in January 1969
  73. 73. Memorial Collage dedicated to Jan Palach
  74. 74. Memorial site of Jan Palach’s self-immolation in Prague
  75. 75. The temporary Soviet occupation lasted until 1991. By then the countries of East Central Europe had toppled their respective Communist regimes in 1989 and had dissolved the Warsaw Pact in 1991.