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Prague Spring

This article is about the 1968 reform movement in two ways that nonviolence can be and occasionally has
Czechoslovakia. For the music festival, see Prague been applied directly to military or paramilitary threats.
Spring International Music Festival.
After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period of
normalization: subsequent leaders attempted to restore
The Prague Spring (Czech: Prask jaro, Slovak: the political and economic values that had prevailed bePrask jar) was a period of political liberalization in fore Dubek gained control of the KS. Gustv Husk,
Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the who replaced Dubek and also became president, reSoviet Union after World War II. It began on 5 January versed almost all of Dubeks reforms. The Prague
1968, when reformist Alexander Dubek was elected Spring inspired music and literature such as the work of
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslo- Vclav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl, and Milan Kunvakia (KS), and continued until 21 August when the dera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact
invaded the country to halt the reforms.

1 Background

The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by

Dubek to grant additional rights to the citizens of
Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the
economy and democratization. The freedoms granted included a loosening of restrictions on the media, speech
and travel. After national discussion of dividing the
country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia,
Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubek oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Republic and Slovak
Republic.[1] This was the only formal change that survived the end of Prague Spring, though the relative success of the nonviolent resistance undoubtedly pregured
and facilitated the peaceful transition to liberal democracy with the collapse of Soviet hegemony in 1989.

The process of de-Stalinization in Czechoslovakia had

begun under Antonn Novotn in the late 1950s and
early 1960s, but had progressed slower than in most
other states of the Eastern Bloc.[2] Following the lead
of Nikita Khrushchev, Novotn proclaimed the completion of socialism, and the new constitution,[3] accordingly, adopted the name Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
The pace of change, however, was sluggish; the rehabilitation of Stalinist-era victims, such as those convicted in
the Slnsk trials, may have been considered as early as
1963, but did not take place until 1967.[4]
In the early 1960s, Czechoslovakia underwent an economic downturn.[5] The Soviet model of industrialization applied poorly to Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia
was already quite industrialized before World War II and
the Soviet model mainly took into account less developed
economies. Novotn's attempt at restructuring the economy, the 1965 New Economic Model, spurred increased
demand for political reform as well.[6]

The reforms, especially the decentralization of administrative authority, were not received well by the Soviets,
who, after failed negotiations, sent half a million Warsaw Pact troops and tanks to occupy the country. A
large wave of emigration swept the nation. A spirited
non-violent resistance was mounted throughout the country, involving attempted fraternization, painting over and
turning street signs (on one occasion an entire invasion
force from Poland was routed back out of the country after a days wandering), deance of various curfews, etc.
While the Soviet military had predicted that it would take
four days to subdue the country the resistance held out for
eight months, and was only circumvented by diplomatic
stratagems (see below). There were sporadic acts of violence and several suicides by self-immolation (such as
that of Jan Palach), but there was no military resistance.
Czechoslovakia remained controlled until 1989, when the
velvet revolution ended pro-Soviet rule peacefully, undoubtedly drawing upon the successes of the non-violent
resistance twenty years earlier. The resistance also became an iconic example of civilian-based defense, which,
along with unarmed civilian peacekeeping constitute the

1.1 1967 Writers Congress

As the strict regime eased its rules, the Union of
Czechoslovak Writers cautiously began to air discontent,
and in the unions gazette, Literrn noviny, members
suggested that literature should be independent of Party
In June 1967, a small fraction of the Czech writers
union sympathized with radical socialists, specically
Ludvk Vaculk, Milan Kundera, Jan Prochzka, Antonn
Jaroslav Liehm, Pavel Kohout and Ivan Klma.[7]
A few months later, at a party meeting, it was decided

that administrative actions against the writers who openly

expressed support of reformation would be taken. Since
only a small part of the union held these beliefs, the remaining members were relied upon to discipline their
colleagues.[7] Control over Literrn noviny and several
other publishing houses was transferred to the Ministry of
Culture,[7] and even members of the party who later became major reformers including Dubek endorsed
these moves.[7]

Dubeks rise to power


2.1 Literrn listy

However, right after Dubek assumed power, the scholar
Eduard Goldstcker became chairman of the Union
of Czechoslovak Writers and thus editor-in-chief of
the previously hard-line communist weekly Literrn
noviny,[12][13] which under Novotny had been lled with
party loyalists.[13] Goldstucker tested the boundaries of
Dubeks devotion to freedom of the press when he appeared on a television interview as the new head of the
union. On 4 February, in front of the entire nation, he
openly criticized Novotny, exposing all of Novotnys previously unreported policies and explaining how they were
preventing progress in Czechoslovakia.[14]
Despite the ocial government statement that allowed for
freedom of the press, this was the rst trial of whether
or not Dubek was serious about reforms. Goldstucker
suered no repercussions, and Dubek instead began
to build a sense of trust among the media, the government, and the citizens.[13] It was under Goldstcker that
the journals name was changed to Literrn listy, and
on 29 February 1968, the Writers Union published the
rst copy of the censor-free Literarni listy.[12] By August
1968, Literarni listy had a circulation of 300,000, making
it the most published periodical in Europe.[15]

3 Socialism with a human face

Main article: Socialism with a human face

Alexander Dubek

As President Antonn Novotn was losing support,

Alexander Dubek, First Secretary of the regional
Communist Party of Slovakia, and economist Ota ik
challenged him at a meeting of the Central Committee. Novotn then invited Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev to Prague that December, seeking support;[8] but
Brezhnev was surprised at the extent of the opposition
to Novotn and thus supported his removal as Czechoslovakias leader. Dubek replaced Novotn as First Secretary on 5 January 1968.[9] On 22 March 1968, Novotn
resigned his presidency and was replaced by Ludvk Svoboda, who later gave consent to the reforms.[10]
Early signs of change were few. When the Communist
Party of Czechoslovakia (KS) Presidium member Josef
Smrkovsk was interviewed in a Rud Prvo article, entitled What Lies Ahead, he insisted that Dubeks appointment at the January Plenum would further the goals
of socialism and maintain the working class nature of the
Communist Party.[11]

On the 20th anniversary of Czechoslovakias "Victorious

February", Dubek delivered a speech explaining the
need for change following the triumph of socialism. He
emphasized the need to enforce the leading role of the
party more eectively[16] and acknowledged that, despite Klement Gottwald's urgings for better relations with
society, the Party had too often made heavy-handed rulings on trivial issues. Dubek declared the partys mission
was to build an advanced socialist society on sound economic foundations ... a socialism that corresponds to the
historical democratic traditions of Czechoslovakia, in accordance with the experience of other communist parties
In April, Dubek launched an "Action Programme" of
liberalizations, which included increasing freedom of the
press, freedom of speech, and freedom of movement,
with economic emphasis on consumer goods and the possibility of a multiparty government. The programme was
based on the view that Socialism cannot mean only liberation of the working people from the domination of exploiting class relations, but must make more provisions
for a fuller life of the personality than any bourgeois
democracy.[17] It would limit the power of the secret
police[18] and provide for the federalization of the SSR
into two equal nations.[19] The programme also covered


Publications and media

foreign policy, including both the maintenance of good

relations with Western countries and cooperation with the
Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc nations.[20] It spoke
of a ten-year transition through which democratic elections would be made possible and a new form of democratic socialism would replace the status quo.[21]

nalist, published a manifesto titled The Two Thousand

Words. It expressed concern about conservative elements
within the KS and so-called foreign forces. Vaculk
called on the people to take the initiative in implementing the reform programme.[29] Dubek, the party Presidium, the National Front, and the cabinet denounced this
Those who drafted the Action Programme were care- manifesto.
ful not to criticize the actions of the post-war Communist regime, only to point out policies that they felt
3.1 Publications and media
had outlived their usefulness.[22] For instance, the immediate post-war situation had required centralist and
Dubeks relaxation of censorship ushered in a brief pedirective-administrative methods[22] to ght against the
riod of freedom of speech and the press.[31] The rst tan[22]
Since the antagonisremnants of the bourgeoisie.
gible manifestation of this new policy of openness was the
tic classes[22] were said to have been defeated with the
production of the previously hard-line communist weekly
achievement of socialism, these methods were no longer
Literarni noviny, renamed Literarni listy.[12][13]
necessary. Reform was needed, for the Czechoslovak
economy to join the scientic-technical revolution in the Freedom of the press also opened the door for the rst
world[22] rather than relying on Stalinist-era heavy in- honest look at Czechoslovakias past by Czechoslovakias
dustry, labour power, and raw materials.[22] Furthermore, people. Many of the investigations centered on the counsince internal class conict had been overcome, workers trys history under communism, especially in the incould now be duly rewarded for their qualications and stance of the Joseph Stalin-period.[12] In another teletechnical skills without contravening Marxism-Leninism. vision appearance, Goldstucker presented both doctored
The Programme suggested it was now necessary to en- and undoctored photographs of former communist leadsure important positions were lled by capable, edu- ers who had been purged, imprisoned, or executed and
cated socialist expert cadres in order to compete with thus erased from communist history.[13] The Writers
Union also formed a committee in April 1968, headed by
the poet Jaroslav Seifert, to investigate the persecution of
Although it was stipulated that reform must proceed unwriters after the Communist takeover in February 1948
der KS direction, popular pressure mounted to impleand rehabilitate the literary gures into the Union, bookment reforms immediately.[23] Radical elements became
stores and libraries, and the literary world.[32][33] Discusmore vocal: anti-Soviet polemics appeared in the press
sions on the current state of communism and abstract
(after the formal abolishment of censorship on 26 June
ideas such as freedom and identity were also becoming
the Social Democrats began to form a sepamore common; soon, non-party publications began aprate party, and new unaliated political clubs were crepearing, such as the trade union daily Prace (Labour).
ated. Party conservatives urged repressive measures, but
This was also helped by the Journalists Union, which by
Dubek counselled moderation and re-emphasized KS
March 1968 had already convinced the Central Publicaleadership.[24] At the Presidium of the Communist Party
tion Board, the government censor, to allow editors to reof Czechoslovakia in April, Dubek announced a politiceive uncensored subscriptions for foreign papers, allow[25]
cal programme of socialism with a human face.
ing for a more international dialogue around the news.[34]
May, he announced that the Fourteenth Party Congress
would convene in an early session on 9 September. The The press, the radio, and the television also contributed
congress would incorporate the Action Programme into to these discussions by hosting meetings where students
the party statutes, draft a federalization law, and elect a and young workers could ask questions of writers such as
Goldstucker, Pavel Kohout, and Jan Prochazka and ponew Central Committee.[26]
litical victims such as Josef Smrkovsk, Zdenek Hejzlar,
Dubeks reforms guaranteed freedom of the press, and
and Gustav Husak.[14] Television also broadcast meetings
political commentary was allowed for the rst time in
between former political prisoners and the communist
mainstream media.[27] At the time of the Prague Spring,
leaders from the secret police or prisons where they were
Czechoslovak exports were declining in competitiveness,
held.[13] Most importantly, this new freedom of the press
and Dubeks reforms planned to solve these troubles
and the introduction of television into the lives of everyby mixing planned and market economies. Within the
day Czechoslovak citizens moved the political dialogue
party, there were varying opinions on how this should
from the intellectual to the popular sphere.
proceed; certain economists wished for a more mixed
economy while others wanted the economy to remain
mostly socialist. Dubek continued to stress the importance of economic reform proceeding under Communist 4 Soviet reaction
Party rule.[28]
On 27 June Ludvk Vaculk, a leading author and jour- Initial reaction within the Communist Bloc was mixed.
Hungary's Jnos Kdr was highly supportive of Dubeks


saw Pact and Comecon.[20] The KS leadership, however, was divided between vigorous reformers (Josef Smrkovsk, Oldich ernk, and Frantiek Kriegel) who
supported Dubek, and conservatives (Vasil Biak, Drahomr Kolder, and Oldich vestka) who adopted an antireformist stance.[40]
Brezhnev decided on compromise. The KS delegates
rearmed their loyalty to the Warsaw Pact and promised
to curb anti-socialist tendencies, prevent the revival of
the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, and control
the press more eectively. The Soviets agreed to withdraw their armed forces (still in Czechoslovakia after manoeuvres that June) and permit the 9 September Party

Leonid Brezhnev.

On 3 August representatives from the Warsaw Five

and Czechoslovakia met in Bratislava and signed the
Bratislava Declaration. The declaration armed unshakable delity to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism and declared an implacable struggle against
bourgeois ideology and all anti-socialist forces.[41]
The Soviet Union expressed its intention to intervene in a
Warsaw Pact country if a bourgeois systema pluralist system of several political parties representing dierent factions of the capitalist classwas ever established.
After the Bratislava conference, the Soviet Army left
Czechoslovak territory but remained along its borders.[42]

appointment in January, but Leonid Brezhnev and oth- 4.1 Invasion

ers grew concerned about Dubeks reforms, which they
feared might weaken the position of the Communist Bloc Main article: Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
during the Cold War.[35][36][37]
As these talks proved unsatisfactory, the Soviets began
consider a military alternative. The Soviet Unions polAt a 23 March meeting in Dresden in East Germany,
of compelling the socialist governments of its satellite
leaders of the Warsaw Five (USSR, Hungary, Poland,
to subordinate their national interests to those of the
Bulgaria and East Germany) questioned a Czechoslo"Eastern
Bloc" (through military force if needed) became
vak delegation over the planned reforms, suggesting any
known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.[43] On the night of 20
talk of democratization was a veiled critique of other
policies.[38] Wadysaw Gomuka and Jnos Kdr were 21 August 1968, Eastern Bloc armies from ve Warsaw
Pact countries the Soviet Union, the GDR, Bulgaria,
less concerned with the reforms themselves than with
the growing criticisms leveled by the Czechoslovak me- Poland and Hungaryinvaded the SSR.
dia, and worried the situation might be similar to the
prologue of the Hungarian counterrevolution".[38] Some
of the language in Aprils KS Action Programme may
have been chosen to assert that no counter-revolution
was planned, but Kieran Williams suggests that Dubek
was perhaps surprised at, but not resentful of, Soviet

That night, 200,000 troops and 2,000 tanks entered the

country.[46] They rst occupied the Ruzyn International
Airport, where air deployment of more troops was arranged. The Czechoslovak forces were conned to their
barracks, which were surrounded until the threat of a
counter-attack was assuaged. By the morning of 21 August Czechoslovakia was occupied.[45]

The Soviet leadership tried to stop, or limit, the changes

in the SSR through a series of negotiations. The Soviet
Union agreed to bilateral talks with Czechoslovakia in
July at ierna nad Tisou, near the Slovak-Soviet border. At the meeting, with attendance of Brezhnev, Alexei
Kosygin, Nikolai Podgorny, Mikhail Suslov and others on the Soviet side and Dubek, Svoboda, Oldich
ernk, Smrkovsk and others on the Czechoslovak side,
Dubek defended the proposals of the reformist wing
of the KS while pledging commitment to the War-

Neither Romania nor Albania took part in the

invasion.[47] During the invasion by the Warsaw
Pact armies, 72 Czechs and Slovaks were killed (19 of
those in Slovakia), 266 severely wounded and another
436 slightly injured.[48][49] Alexander Dubek called
upon his people not to resist.[49] Nevertheless, there
was scattered resistance in the streets. Road signs in
towns were removed or painted overexcept for those
indicating the way to Moscow.[50] Many small villages
renamed themselves Dubcek or Svoboda"; thus,


Reactions to the invasion

conservative KS members (including Biak, vestka,
Kolder, Indra, and Kapek) did send a request for intervention to the Soviets.[54] The invasion was followed by a
previously unseen wave of emigration, which was stopped
shortly thereafter. An estimated 70,000 ed immediately
with an eventual total of some 300,000.[55]
The Soviets attributed the invasion to the Brezhnev Doctrine which stated that the U.S.S.R. had the right to
intervene whenever a country in the Eastern Bloc appeared to be making a shift towards capitalism.[56] There
is still some uncertainty, however, as to what provocation, if any, occurred to make the Warsaw Pact armies
invade. The days leading up to the invasion was a rather
calm period without any major events taking place in

4.2 Reactions to the invasion

See also: Protests of 1968
In Czechoslovakia, especially in the week immedi-

Prague Spring of 1968

without navigational equipment, the invaders were often


Romanian Prime Secretary Nicolae Ceauescu gives a speech critical of the invasion, in front of a crowd in Bucharest, 21 August

Czechoslovaks carry their national ag past a burning Soviet tank

in Prague.

ately following the invasion, popular opposition was expressed in numerous spontaneous acts of nonviolent resistance.[57] On 16 January 1969, student Jan Palach set
himself on re in Pragues Wenceslas Square to protest
against the renewed suppression of free speech.[58] Civilians purposely gave wrong directions to invading soldiers,
while others identied and followed cars belonging to the
secret police.[59]

Although, on the night of the invasion the Czechoslovak

Presidium declared that Warsaw Pact troops had crossed
the border without the knowledge of the SSR government, the Soviet Press printed an unsigned request allegedly by Czechoslovak party and state leaders for
immediate assistance, including assistance with armed
forces.[52] At the 14th KS Party Congress (conducted
secretly, immediately following the intervention), it was
emphasized that no member of the leadership had invited
the intervention.[53] More recent evidence suggests that

The generalized resistance caused the Soviet Union to

abandon its original plan to oust the First Secretary.
Dubek, who had been arrested on the night of 20 August was taken to Moscow for negotiations. There, he
and several other leaders (including all the highest-ranked
ocials President Svoboda, Prime Minister ernk and
Chairman of the National Assembly Smrkovsk) signed,
under heavy psychological pressure from Soviet politicians, the Moscow Protocol and it was agreed that
Dubek would remain in oce and a programme of moderate reform would continue.

bassador Jan Muzik denounced the invasion. Soviet ambassador Jacob Malik insisted the Warsaw Pact actions
were fraternal assistance against antisocial forces.[64]

The next day, several countries suggested a resolution

condemning the intervention and calling for immediate
withdrawal. Eventually, a vote was taken with ten members supporting the motion; Algeria, India, and Pakistan
Protest banner in Russian reading "For your freedom and ours". abstained; the USSR (with veto power) and Hungary opposed. Canadian delegates immediately introduced another motion asking for a UN representative to travel to
On 25 August citizens of the Soviet Union who did Prague and work toward the release of the imprisoned
not approve of the invasion protested in Red Square; Czechoslovak leaders.[64]
seven protesters opened banners with anti-invasion slogans. The demonstrators were arrested and later pun- By 26 August a new Czechoslovak representative requested the whole issue be removed from the Security
ished; the protest was dubbed anti-Soviet.[60]
Councils agenda. Shirley Temple Black visited Prague
A more pronounced eect took place in Romania, where in August 1968 to prepare for becoming the US AmNicolae Ceauescu, Prime Secretary of the Romanian bassador for a free Czechoslovakia. However, after the
CP, already a staunch opponent of Soviet inuences and 21 August invasion she became part of a U.S. Embassya self-declared Dubek supporter, gave a public speech organized convoy of vehicles that evacuated U.S. citiin Bucharest on the day of the invasion, depicting Soviet zens from the country.[65] In August 1989, she returned
policies in harsh terms.[47] Albania withdrew from the to Prague as U.S. Ambassador, three months before the
Warsaw Pact in opposition calling the invasion an act of Velvet Revolution that ended 41 years of Communist
"social-imperialism". In Finland, a country under some rule.[66]
Soviet political inuence, the occupation caused a major
Like the Italian and French[62] Communist parties, the 5 Aftermath
Communist Party of Finland denounced the occupation. Nonetheless, Finnish president Urho Kekkonen Main article: Normalization (Czechoslovakia)
was the very rst Western politician to ocially visit In April 1969, Dubek was replaced as rst secretary by
Czechoslovakia after August 1968; he received the highest Czechoslovakian honours from the hands of President
Ludvk Svoboda, on 4 October 1969.[61] The Portuguese
communist secretary-general lvaro Cunhal was one of
few political leaders from western Europe to have supported the invasion for being counter-revolutionary.[63]
along with the Luxembourg party[62] and conservative
factions of the Greek party.[62]

Helsinki demonstration against the invasion of Czechoslovakia

Most countries oered only vocal criticism following the

invasion. The night of the invasion, Canada, Denmark,
France, Paraguay, the United Kingdom and the United Memorial to the victims of the invasion, located in Liberec
States requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.[64] At the meeting, the Czechoslovak am- Gustv Husk, and a period of "normalization" began.[67]


Cultural impact

Dubek was expelled from the KS and given a job as a remarks about the Soviet invaders or they would risk viforestry ocial.[19][68]
olating the agreement they had come to at the end of AuHusk reversed Dubeks reforms, purged the party of gust. When the weeklies Reporter and Politika responded
its liberal members, and dismissed from public oce harshly to this threat, even going so far as to not so subtly
professional and intellectual elites who openly expressed criticize the Presidium itself in Politika, the government
disagreement with the political transformation.[69] Husk banned Reporter for a month, suspended Politika indefprograms from apworked to reinstate the power of the police and strengthen initely, and prohibited any political
ties with the rest of the Communist bloc. He also sought
to re-centralize the economy, as a considerable amount
of freedom had been granted to industries during the
Prague Spring.[69] Commentary on politics was forbidden in mainstream media, and political statements by anyone not considered to have full political trust were also
banned.[27] The only signicant change that survived was
the federalization of the country, which created the Czech
Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic in
1969. In 1987, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
acknowledged that his liberalizing policies of glasnost
and perestroika owed a great deal to Dubeks socialism
with a human face.[70] When asked what the dierence
was between the Prague Spring and Gorbachevs own reforms, a Foreign Ministry spokesman replied, Nineteen
Dubek lent his support to the Velvet Revolution of December 1989. After the collapse of the Communist
regime that month, Dubek became chairman of the federal assembly under the Havel administration.[72] He later
led the Social Democratic Party of Slovakia, and spoke
against the dissolution of Czechoslovakia prior to his
death in November 1992.[73]


Normalization and censorship

The Warsaw Pact invasion included attacks on media establishments, such as Radio Prague and Czechoslovak
Television, almost immediately after the initial tanks
rolled into Prague on 21 August 1968.[74] While both the
radio station and the television station managed to hold
out for at least enough time for initial broadcasts of the
invasion, what the Soviets did not attack by force they attacked by reenacting party censorship. In reaction to the
invasion, on 28 August 1968, all Czechoslovak publishers agreed to halt production of newspapers for the day to
allow for a day of reection for the editorial stas.[75]
Writers and reporters agreed with Dubcek to support a
limited reinstitution of the censorship oce, as long as
the institution was to only last three months.[76] Finally,
by September 1968, the Czechoslovak Communist Party
plenum was held to instate the new censorship law. In the
words of the Moscow-approved resolution, The press,
radio, and television are rst of all the instruments for
carrying into life the policies of the Party and state.[77]
While this was not yet the end of the medias freedom
after the Prague Spring, it was the beginning of the end.
During November, the Presidium, under Husak, declared
that the Czechoslovak press could not make any negative

The intellectuals were stuck at a bypass; they recognized

the governments increasing normalization, but they were
unsure whether to trust that the measures were only temporary or demand more. For example, still believing in
Dubceks promises for reform, Milan Kundera published
the article Cesky udel (Our Czech Destiny) in Literarni
listy on 19 December.[33][79] He wrote: People who today are falling into depression and defeatism, commenting that there are not enough guarantees, that everything
could end badly, that we might again end up in a marasmus of censorship and trials, that this or that could happen, are simply weak people, who can live only in illusions
of certainty.[80]
In March 1969, however, the new Soviet-backed
Czechoslovakian government instituted full censorship,
eectively ending the hopes that normalization would
lead back to the freedoms enjoyed during the Prague
Spring. A declaration was presented to the Presidium
condemning the media as co-conspirators against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in their support of
Dubceks liberalization measures. Finally, on 2 April
1969, the government adopted measures to secure peace
and order through even stricter censorship, forcing the
people of Czechoslovakia to wait until the thawing of
Eastern Europe for the return of a free media.[81]
Former students from Prague, including Constantine
Menges, and Czech refugees from the crisis, who were
able to escape or resettle in Western Countries continued
to advocate for human rights, religious liberty, freedom
of speech and political asylum for Czech political prisoners and dissidents. Many raised concerns about the Soviet
Union and Red Army's continued military occupation of
the Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s, prior to the
fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of Communism in
Moscow and Eastern Europe.

5.2 Cultural impact

The Prague Spring deepened the disillusionment of many
Western leftists with Soviet views. It contributed to the
growth of Eurocommunist ideas in Western communist
parties, which sought greater distance from the Soviet
Union, and eventually led to the dissolution of many
of these groups.[82] A decade later, a period of Chinese political liberalization became known as the Beijing
Spring. It also partly inuenced the Croatian Spring in
Yugoslavia.[83] In a 1993 Czech survey, 60% of those surveyed had a personal memory linked to the Prague Spring

while another 30% were familiar with the events in another form.[84] The demonstrations and regime changes
taking place in North Africa and the Middle East from
December 2010 have frequently been referred to as an
"Arab Spring".
The event has been referenced in popular music, including the music of Karel Kryl, Lubo Fier's Requiem,[85]
and Karel Husa's Music for Prague 1968.[86] The Israeli
song Prague, written by Shalom Hanoch and performed
by Arik Einstein at the Israel Song Festival of 1969, was
a lamentation on the fate of the city after the Soviet
invasion and mentions Jan Palach's Self-immolation.[87]
"They Can't Stop The Spring", a song by Irish journalist
and songwriter John Waters, represented Ireland in the
Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. Waters has described
it as a kind of Celtic celebration of the Eastern European revolutions and their eventual outcome, quoting
Dubeks alleged comment: They may crush the owers, but they can't stop the Spring.[88]
The Prague Spring is featured in several works of literature. Milan Kundera set his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being during the Prague Spring. It follows the
repercussions of increased Soviet presence and the dictatorial police control of the population.[89] A lm version was released in 1988.[90] The Liberators, by Viktor
Suvorov, is an eyewitness description of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, from the point of view of a Soviet tank commander.[91] Rock 'n' Roll, a play by awardwinning Czech-born English playwright Tom Stoppard,
references the Prague Spring, as well as the 1989 Velvet
Revolution.[92] Heda Margolius Kovly also ends her
memoir Under a Cruel Star with a rst hand account of
the Prague Spring and the subsequent invasion, and her
reections upon these events.[93]
In lm there has been an adaptation of The Unbearable
Lightness of Being, and also the movie Pelky from director Jan Hebejk and screenwriter Petr Jarchovsk, which
depicts the events of the Prague Spring and ends with
the invasion by the Soviet Union and their allies.[94] The
Czech musical lm, Rebelov from Filip Ren, also depicts the events, the invasion and subsequent wave of


Spring Revolutions (disambiguation)

Constantine Menges

7 References
[1] Czech radio broadcasts 1820 August 1968
[2] Williams (1997), p 170
[3] Williams (1997), p 7
[4] Skilling (1976), p 47
[5], (info from CIA world Factbook)". Photius
Coutsoukis. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
[6] Williams (1997), p 5
[7] Williams (1997), p 55
[8] Navrtil (2006), pp 1820
[9] Navazelskis (1990)
[10] Antonin Novotn Biography. Libri publishing house.
Retrieved 15 November 2014.
[11] Navrtil (2006), p 46
[12] Williams, pp 68
[13] Bren, Paulina (2010). The Greengrocer and His TV:
The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. pp. 23. ISBN
[14] Williams, pp 69
[15] Hol, Ji. Writers Under Siege: Czech Literature Since
1945. Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, 2011, pp 119
[16] Navrtil (2006), pp 5254
[17] Ello (1968), pp 32, 54
[18] Von Geldern, James; Siegelbaum, Lewis. The Soviet-led
Intervention in Czechoslovakia. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
[19] Hochman, Dubek (1993)

The number 68 has become iconic in the former

[20] Dubek, Alexander; Kramer, Mark; Moss, Joy; Tosek,
Czechoslovakia. Hockey player Jaromr Jgr, whose
Ruth (translation) (10 April 1968). Akn program Kograndfather died in prison during the rebellion, wears
munistick strany eskoslovenska. Action Program (in
the number because of the importance of the year in
Czech) (Rud prvo). pp. 16. Retrieved 21 February
Czechoslovak history.[95][96] A former publishing house
based in Toronto, 68 Publishers, that published books by
exiled Czech and Slovak authors, took its name from the [21] Judt (2005), p 441
[22] Ello (1968), pp 78, 12930, 9, 131

See also
Croatian Spring
Hungarian Revolution of 1956

[23] Derasadurain, Beatrice. Prague Spring.

Retrieved 23 January 2008.
[24] Kusin (2002), p 107122
[25] The Prague Spring, 1968. Library of Congress. 1985.
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[26] Williams (1997), p 156

[53] Navrtil (2006), p xviii

[27] Williams (1997), p 164

[54] Fowkes (2000), pp 6485

[28] Williams (1997), pp 1822

[55] ulk, Jan. Den, kdy tanky zlikvidovaly esk sny

Praskho jara. Britsk Listy. Retrieved 23 January

[29] Vaculk, Ludvk (27 June 1968). Two Thousand Words.

Literrn listy.

[56] Grenville (2005), p 780

[30] Mastalir, Linda (25 July 2006). Ludvk Vaculk: a
Czechoslovak man of letters. Radio Prague. Retrieved
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[31] Williams, Tieren. The Prague Spring and Its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics, 19681970. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp 67.
[32] Golan, Galia. Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet
Studies. Reform Rule in Czechoslovakia: The Dubek Era,
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1973, pp 10
[33] Holy, pp 119
[34] Golan, pp 112
[35] Navrtil (2006), p 37
[36] Document #81: Transcript of Leonid Brezhnevs Telephone Conversation with Alexander Dubek, August 13,
1968. The Prague Spring '68. The Prague Spring Foundation. 1998. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
[37] Navrtil (2006), pp 172181
[38] Navrtil (2006), pp 6472
[39] Williams (1997), pp 1011
[40] Navrtil (2006), pp 448479

[57] Windsor, Philip and Adam Roberts. Czechoslovakia

1968: Reform, Repression and Resistance. Chatto & Windus, London, 1969, pp. 97143.
[58] Jan Palach. Radio Prague. Archived from the original
on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
[59] Keane, John. Vclav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six
Acts. Bloomsbury Publishing, 1999, p. 215
[60] Gorbanevskaya (1972)
[61] Jutikkala, Pirinen (2001)
[62] Devlin, Kevin. Western CPs Condemn Invasion, Hail
Prague Spring. Open Society Archives. Retrieved 8
November 2014.
[63] Andrew, Mitrokhin (2005), p 444
[64] Franck (1985)
[65] The Real History of the Cold War: A New Look at the
Past By Alan Axelrod
[66] Joseph, Lawrence E (2 December 1990). International;
Pragues Spring Into Capitalism. The New York Times.
Retrieved 20 February 2008.
[67] Williams (1997), p xi

[41] Navrtil (2006), pp 326329

[68] Alexander Dubcek. Spartacus Educational. Retrieved

25 January 2008.

[42] Navrtil (2006), pp 326327

[69] Goertz (1995), pp 154157

[43] Chafetz (1993), p 10

[70] Gorbachev (2003), p x

[44] Ouimet (2003), pp 3435

[71] Kaufman, Michael T (12 April 1987). Gorbachev Alludes to Czech Invasion. The New York Times. Retrieved
4 April 2008.

[45] Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia. Military. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2007.
[46] Washington Post, (Final Edition), 21 August 1968, p A11
[47] Curtis, Glenn E. The Warsaw Pact. Federal Research
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[48] Springtime for Prague. Prague Life. Lifeboat Limited.
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[49] Williams (1997), p 158
[50] See Paul Chan, Fearless Symmetry Artforum International vol. 45, March 2007.
[51] Civilian Resistance in Czechoslovakia. Fragments. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
[52] Skilling (1976)

[72] Cook (2001), pp 320321

[73] Alexander Dubcek, 70, Dies in Prague (New York Times,
8 November 1992)
[74] Bren, pp 28
[75] Williams, pp 147
[76] Williams, pp 148
[77] Bren, pp 29
[78] Williams, pp 175
[79] Williams, pp 182
[80] Williams, pp 183
[81] Williams, pp 202


[82] Aspaturian (1980), p 174

[83] Despalatovi (2000), pp 9192
[84] Williams (1997), p 29
[85] Lubo Fier. CZMIC. 5 February 2005. Archived from
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[86] Due, Bruce (1 December 2001). Karel Husa, The
Composer in Conversation with Bruce Due. New Music Connoisseur Magazine. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
[87] Biography of Arik Einstein The Solo Years, Mooma (in
Hebrew). Retrieved 15 May 2010.
[88] John Waters, The Events That Transpired it. Spring:
The Events that Transpired it. 11 February 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
[89] Kundera (1999), p 1
[90] The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
[91] Suvorov (1983), p 1


Despalatovi, Elinor. Neighbors at War: Anthropological Perspectives on Yugoslav Ethnicity. Penn

State Press. ISBN 0-271-01979-4. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
Dubek, Alexander; Hochman, Ji (1 January
1993). Hope Dies Last: The Autobiography of
Alexander Dubcek. Kodansha International. ISBN
Ello (ed.), Paul (April 1968). Control Committee
of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Action Plan of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Prague, April 1968)" in Dubceks Blueprint
for Freedom: His original documents leading to the
invasion of Czechoslovakia. William Kimber & Co.
Fowkes, Ben (29 August 2000). Eastern Europe
19451969: From Stalinism to Stagnation. Longman. ISBN 0-582-32693-1. Retrieved 9 October

[93] Margolius-Kovly (1986), pp 178192.

Franck, Thomas M. (1985). Nation Against Nation:

What Happened to the UN Dream and What the U.S.
Can Do About It. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019-503587-9.

[94] ulk, Jan (11 April 2008). The Prague Spring as reected in Czech postcommunist cinema. Britsk Listy.
Retrieved 16 April 2008.

Goertz, Gary (27 January 1995). Contexts of International Politics. Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 0-521-46972-4.

[92] Mastalir, Linda (28 June 2006). Tom Stoppards Rock

'n' Roll"". Radio Prague. Retrieved 23 January 2008.

[95] Morrison (2006), pp 158159

[96] Legends of Hockey, Jaromr Jgr. Hockey Hall of Fame
and Museum. Retrieved 23 January 2008.


Further reading

Aspaturian, Vernon; Valenta, Jiri; Burke, David P.

(1 April 1980). Eurocommunism Between East and
West. Indiana Univ Pr. ISBN 0-253-20248-5.
Bischof, Gnter, et al. eds. The Prague Spring and
the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968
(Lexington Books, 20100 510 pp. ISBN 978-07391-4304-9
Chafetz, Glenn (30 April 1993). Gorbachev, Reform, and the Brezhnev Doctrine: Soviet Policy Toward Eastern Europe, 19851990. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-94484-0.
Christopher, Andrew; Mitrokhin, Vasili (2005).
The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the
Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. ISBN 0465-00311-7. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
Cook, Bernard (10 January 2001). Europe Since
1945: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-81531336-5.

Gorbachev, Mikhail; Mlyna, Zdenk (8 October

2003). Conversations with Gorbachev: On Perestroika, the Prague Spring, and the Crossroads of Socialism. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-23111865-1.
Gorbanevskaya, Natalia (1972). Red Square at
Noon. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 0-03085990-5.
Grenville, J.A.S. (4 August 2005). A History Of The
World From the 20th To The 21st Century. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28955-6.
Hermann, Konstantin (2008). Sachsen und der
Prager Frhling. Beucha: Sax-Verlag. ISBN 0415-28955-6.
Judt, Tony (5 October 2005). Postwar: A History of
Europe Since 1945. Penguin Press. ISBN 1-59420065-3.
Jutikkala, Eino; Pirinen, Kauko (2001). Suomen
historia (History of Finland). ISBN 80-7106-4068.
Kundera, Milan (1999). The Unbearable Lightness
of Being. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-093213-9.

Kusin, Vladimir (18 July 2002). The Intellectual
Origins of the Prague Spring: The Development
of Reformist Ideas in Czechoslovakia 19561967.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52652-3.
Margolius-Kovly, Heda (1986). Under a Cruel
Star: A life in Prague 19411968. New York:
Holmes & Meier. ISBN 0-8419-1377-3.
Morrison, Scott; Cherry, Don (26 November 2006).
Hockey Night in Canada: By The Numbers: From 00
to 99. Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55263-984-3.
Navazelskis, Ina (1 August 1990). Alexander
Dubcek. Chelsea House Publications; Library Binding edition. ISBN 1-55546-831-4.
Navrtil, Jaromr (1 April 2006). The Prague Spring
1968: A National Security Archive Document Reader
(National Security Archive Cold War Readers). Central European University Press. ISBN 963-732667-7.
Ouimet, Matthew (2003). The Rise and Fall of the
Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London.
Skilling, Gordon H. (1976). Czechoslovakias Interrupted Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University
Suvorov, Viktor (1983). The Liberators. London,
Hamilton: New English Library, Sevenoaks. ISBN
Williams, Kieran (1997). The Prague Spring and
its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics, 19681970.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58803-0.

External links
Think Quest The Prague Spring 1968
Radio Free Europe A Chronology Of Events
Leading To The 1968 Invasion
Prague Life More information on the Prague
The Prague Spring, 40 Years On slideshow by The
First Post
Victims of the Invasion A list of victims from the
Warsaw Pact Invasion with method of death
Praha 1968 footage on YouTube



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