Prague Spring

invasion of CzechoslovakiaSoviet invasion of CzechoslovakiaCzechoslovakiaSoviet invasion1968Prague Spring of 1968Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia1968 invasion of Czechoslovakiaoccupation of Czechoslovakia1968 Occupation
The Prague Spring (Pražské jaro, Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.wikipedia
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Alexander Dubček

Alexander DubcekDubčekDubcek
It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms. As President Antonín Novotný was losing support, Alexander Dubček, First Secretary of the regional Communist Party of Slovakia, and economist Ota Šik challenged him at a meeting of the Central Committee.
He attempted to reform the communist government during the Prague Spring but was forced to resign following the Warsaw Pact invasion in August 1968.

Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakiainvasion of CzechoslovakiaOperation Danube
It began on 5 January 1968, when reformist Alexander Dubček was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ), and continued until 21 August 1968, when the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact invaded the country to suppress the reforms.
The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ).

Slovakia

SlovakSVKSlovak Republic
After national discussion of dividing the country into a federation of three republics, Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia and Slovakia, Dubček oversaw the decision to split into two, the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic.
Attempts to liberalize communism in Czechoslovakia culminated in the Prague Spring, which was crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

Jan Palach

Palach
It became a high-profile example of civilian-based defense; there were sporadic acts of violence and several protest suicides by self-immolation (the most famous being that of Jan Palach), but no military resistance.
His self-immolation was a political protest against the end of the Prague Spring resulting from the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies.

Václav Havel

Vaclav HavelHavelPresident Havel
The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
After participating in the Prague Spring and being blacklisted after the invasion of Czechoslovakia, he became more politically active and helped found several dissident initiatives, including Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

novelnovel of the same namethe film adaptation
The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí) is a 1984 novel by Milan Kundera, about two women, two men, a dog and their lives in the 1968 Prague Spring period of Czechoslovak history.

Prague

Prague, Czech RepublicPrague, CzechoslovakiaPraha
The Prague Spring reforms were a strong attempt by Dubček to grant additional rights to the citizens of Czechoslovakia in an act of partial decentralization of the economy and democratization. Novotný then invited the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, to Prague that December, seeking support; but Brezhnev was surprised at the extent of the opposition to Novotný and thus supported his removal as Czechoslovakia's leader.
It was the Prague Spring, which aimed at the renovation of institutions in a democratic way.

Czechoslovakia

CzechoslovakCzechCzechoslovakian
The process of de-Stalinization in Czechoslovakia had begun under Antonín Novotný in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but had progressed more slowly than in most other states of the Eastern Bloc.
A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded Czechoslovakia.

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

CzechoslovakiaCommunist CzechoslovakiaČSSR
The Prague Spring (Pražské jaro, Pražská jar) was a period of political liberalization and mass protest in Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II.
With the exception of the Prague Spring in the late-1960s, Czechoslovakia was characterized by the absence of democracy and competitiveness of its Western European counterparts as part of the Cold War.

Normalization (Czechoslovakia)

normalizationnormalisationNormalization period
After the invasion, Czechoslovakia entered a period known as "normalization": subsequent leaders attempted to restore the political and economic values that had prevailed before Dubček gained control of the KSČ.
It was characterized by the restoration of the conditions prevailing before the Prague Spring reform period led by First Secretary Alexander Dubček of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) earlier in 1968 and the subsequent preservation of the new status quo.

Eastern Bloc

Soviet blocCommunist BlocSocialist Bloc
The process of de-Stalinization in Czechoslovakia had begun under Antonín Novotný in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but had progressed more slowly than in most other states of the Eastern Bloc.
That year, the communist victory in former French Indochina following the end of the Vietnam War gave the Eastern Bloc renewed confidence after it had been frayed by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia to suppress the Prague Spring.

Ota Šik

Ota SikŠik, Ota
As President Antonín Novotný was losing support, Alexander Dubček, First Secretary of the regional Communist Party of Slovakia, and economist Ota Šik challenged him at a meeting of the Central Committee.
He was the man behind the New Economic Model (economy liberalization plan) and was one of the key figures in the Prague Spring.

Pavel Kohout

In June 1967, a small fraction of the Czech writer's union sympathized with radical socialists, specifically Ludvík Vaculík, Milan Kundera, Jan Procházka, Antonín Jaroslav Liehm, Pavel Kohout and Ivan Klíma.
He was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a Prague Spring participant and dissident in the 1970s until he was not allowed to return from Austria.

Josef Smrkovský

Josef Smrkovsky
When the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) Presidium member Josef Smrkovský was interviewed in a Rudé Právo article, entitled "What Lies Ahead", he insisted that Dubček's appointment at the January Plenum would further the goals of socialism and maintain the working class nature of the Communist Party.
Josef Smrkovský (26 February 1911 – 15 January 1974) was a Czechoslovak politician and a member of the Communist Party reform wing during the 1968 Prague Spring.

Milan Kundera

KunderaKundera, MilanKundera, Milan.
The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In June 1967, a small fraction of the Czech writer's union sympathized with radical socialists, specifically Ludvík Vaculík, Milan Kundera, Jan Procházka, Antonín Jaroslav Liehm, Pavel Kohout and Ivan Klíma.
Kundera, along with other reform communist writers such as Pavel Kohout, was partly involved in the 1968 Prague Spring.

Karel Kryl

The Prague Spring inspired music and literature including the work of Václav Havel, Karel Husa, Karel Kryl and Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
When the Warsaw Pact armies occupied Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, to suppress the Prague Spring reform movement, Kryl released his first album.

Velvet Revolution

fall of communism1989fall of the communist regime
Czechoslovakia remained controlled by the Soviet Union until 1989, when the Velvet Revolution peacefully ended the communist regime; the last Soviet troops left the country in 1991.
This blacklisting included children of former entrepreneurs or non-Communist politicians, having family members living in the West, having supported Alexander Dubček during the Prague Spring, opposing Soviet military occupation, promoting religion, boycotting (rigged) parliamentary elections or signing Charter 77 or associating with those who did.

Czech Social Democratic Party

ČSSDSocial Democratic PartySocial Democrats
Radical elements became more vocal: anti-Soviet polemics appeared in the press on 26 June 1968, the Social Democrats began to form a separate party, and new unaffiliated political clubs were created.
At the time of the Prague Spring, a reformist movement in 1968, there were talks about allowing the recreation of a Social Democratic party, but Soviet intervention put an end to such ideas.

Gustáv Husák

Gustav HusakHusákGustav Husák
Gustáv Husák, who replaced Dubček as First Secretary and also became President, reversed almost all of the reforms.
His rule is known as the period of the so-called "Normalization" after the Prague Spring.

Cold War

The Cold WarCold War eraCold-War
Hungary's János Kádár was highly supportive of Dubček's appointment in January, but Leonid Brezhnev and others grew concerned about Dubček's reforms, which they feared might weaken the position of the Communist Bloc during the Cold War.
The USSR crushed the 1968 Prague Spring liberalization program in Czechoslovakia, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War (1955–75), which ended with the defeat of the US-backed South Vietnam, prompting further adjustments.

1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état

Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948Communist coup d'étatCommunist coup
On the 20th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's "Victorious February", Dubček delivered a speech explaining the need for change following the triumph of socialism.
That notion would be reinforced during the Prague Spring, when party archives were opened and showed that Stalin gave up the whole idea of a parliamentary path for Czechoslovakia when the Communist parties of France and Italy stumbled in 1947 and 1948.

The Two Thousand Words

Two Thousand Words2000 Words manifestoThe Two Thousand Words Manifesto
On 27 June Ludvík Vaculík, a leading author and journalist, published a manifesto titled The Two Thousand Words.
It was signed by intellectuals and artists on June 17, 1968, in the midst of the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia that began in January 1968 with the election of Alexander Dubček and ended with the Soviet invasion in August, followed by the Czechoslovak Normalization.

František Kriegel

The KSČ leadership, however, was divided between vigorous reformers (Josef Smrkovský, Oldřich Černík, and František Kriegel) who supported Dubček, and conservatives (Vasil Biľak, Drahomír Kolder, and Oldřich Švestka) who adopted an anti-reformist stance.
František Kriegel (10 April 1908 — 3 December 1979) was a Czechoslovak politician, physician, and a member of the Communist Party reform wing of Prague Spring (1968).

Alexei Kosygin

KosyginAlexei N. KosyginAlexei Nikolaevich Kosygin
At the meeting, from 29 July to 1 August, with attendance of Brezhnev, Alexei Kosygin, Nikolai Podgorny, Mikhail Suslov and others on the Soviet side and Dubček, Svoboda, Oldřich Černík, Smrkovský and others on the Czechoslovak side, Dubček defended the proposals of the reformist wing of the KSČ while pledging commitment to the Warsaw Pact and Comecon.
However, the onset of the Prague Spring in 1968 resulted in a severe backlash against his policies that enabled Brezhnev to eclipse him as the dominant figure in the Politburo.

Leonid Brezhnev

BrezhnevLeonid I. BrezhnevLeonid Ilyich Brezhnev
Hungary's János Kádár was highly supportive of Dubček's appointment in January, but Leonid Brezhnev and others grew concerned about Dubček's reforms, which they feared might weaken the position of the Communist Bloc during the Cold War. Novotný then invited the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, to Prague that December, seeking support; but Brezhnev was surprised at the extent of the opposition to Novotný and thus supported his removal as Czechoslovakia's leader.
The Soviet Union did not accept all kinds of reforms, an example being the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 in response to Alexander Dubček's reforms.