Prague Spring

Photo: Ladislav Bielik - Safarikovo Namestie, Bratislava

Photo: Ladislav Bielik - Safarikovo Namestie, Bratislava. Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968.

Prague Spring – It was called the Prague Spring, because many of the Dubcek government’s “socialism with a human face” reforms started to take place and be felt in the spring of 1968. Dubcek had attempted to lead a group of reformers that wanted a different brand of socialism.

I despise all socialism, but you know, you take what you can get. A less brutal socialism is a step in the right direction.

Dubcek had read a passage from Lenin during his studies in Moscow that had described how Russia would start the socialist revolution, but a more developed country to the West would bring progress to it. Dubcek believed Czechoslovakia might be able to be the country Lenin had imagined, so Dubcek and a group of politicians around him sought to bring about that more human form of socialism they envisioned.

The Russian party bosses didn’t like this gentler socialism in Czechoslovakia and invaded, along with the armies of 4 other satellite states (Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Bulgaria) in August of ’68. To be invaded by the Russians could have been expected. Anything could have been expected of the Russians. To have been invaded by the other oppressed nations was a greater insult to the people of Czechoslovakia. After all, an experiment was being attempted that could lead to greater freedom for the entire region.

Dubcek, the leader of an allegedly sovereign state, was taken at gunpoint, drugged, and brought to Moscow where he was put back in line before being sent back to Prague and put on the radio for a “puppy dog with his tail in between his legs” style speech. From that point on, he was systematically excluded from circles of power in Czechoslovakia until he was finally expelled from the party and made a forest service mechanic in Bratislava.

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