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Soviet Invasion Of Czechoslovakia: When The Soviets Arrived To Crush The Prague Spring, 1968

From August 20 to 21, 1968, some 250,000 Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia overnight to halt a blossoming political and cultural liberalization, to stop the Prague Spring and tightening the Kremlin’s grip. Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II, which was started at the beginning of 1968 by Alexander Dubček. Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia to end the reform efforts, with the occupying forces eventually totaling 500,000. “Operation Danube” was the largest military mobilization in Europe since the end of World War II. the Soviets forced Dubcek from power in favor of a more conservative administrator. In the years that followed, the new leadership reestablished government censorship and controlled preventing freedom of movement. Still, it also improved economic conditions, eliminating one of the sources for revolutionary fervor. Czechoslovakia once again became a cooperative member of the Warsaw Pact.

#1 Prague residents surround Soviet tanks in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building.

Prague residents surround Soviet tanks in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building.

This photos was taken in central Prague, during the first day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, on August 21, 1968.

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#2 A view of the Czechoslovakian capital, Prague, from the surrounding hills, August 1968

A view of the Czechoslovakian capital, Prague, from the surrounding hills, August 1968

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#3 A photo taken in Trutnov, Czechoslovakia

A photo taken in Trutnov, Czechoslovakia

This photo was taken during a confrontation between demonstrators and the Warsaw Pact troops and tanks, which invaded the country in August of 1968.

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#4 A shadowy figure watches Soviet tanks advance through the streets of Prague after nightfall in August 1968

A shadowy figure watches Soviet tanks advance through the streets of Prague after nightfall in August 1968

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#5 Prague residents ride on top of a Soviet army tank rolling down Wenceslas Square in central Prague

Prague residents ride on top of a Soviet army tank rolling down Wenceslas Square in central Prague

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#6 Prague residents, carrying a Czechoslovakian flag and throwing Molotov cocktails, attempt to stop a Soviet tank in downtown Prague on August 21, 1968.

Prague residents, carrying a Czechoslovakian flag and throwing Molotov cocktails, attempt to stop a Soviet tank in downtown Prague on August 21, 1968.

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#7 A barricade made from trucks and buses burns in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building, in central Prague, on August 21, 1968.

A barricade made from trucks and buses burns in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building, in central Prague, on August 21, 1968.

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#8 A Soviet army tank rolls over a barricade made from trucks and buses in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building on August 21, 1968.

A Soviet army tank rolls over a barricade made from trucks and buses in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building on August 21, 1968.

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#9 A Soviet tank, burning vehicles, and sullen citizens are seen in Prague on August 21, 1968, as Soviet troops entered the Czechoslovakian capital.

A Soviet tank, burning vehicles, and sullen citizens are seen in Prague on August 21, 1968, as Soviet troops entered the Czechoslovakian capital.

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#10 Original caption: “Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia.

Original caption: “Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia.

Czech youths with the national colors pinned to their chests demonstrate in the streets here following the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The banner they are carrying reads: ‘Never Again with the Soviet Union.’”

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#11 A Soviet tank is out of action after a bridge it was crossing gave way on August 21, 1968.

A Soviet tank is out of action after a bridge it was crossing gave way on August 21, 1968.

One witness said the bridge had been dynamited, but the span may have collapsed due to the heavy weight of the tanks crossing it.

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#12 Soviet army soldiers sit on their tanks in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building, in central Prague, on August 21, 1968.

Soviet army soldiers sit on their tanks in front of the Czechoslovak Radio building, in central Prague, on August 21, 1968.

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#13 A member of the Czechoslovakian army is jeered by locals in Košice, Czechoslovakia.

A member of the Czechoslovakian army is jeered by locals in Košice, Czechoslovakia.

on August 21, 1968, as he addresses them outside the city hall shortly after troops had occupied the town as part of the Soviet invasion.

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#14 Thousands of protesters sit in Wenceslas Square, in downtown Prague, on August 24, 1968, demonstrating against the Soviet invasion

Thousands of protesters sit in Wenceslas Square, in downtown Prague, on August 24, 1968, demonstrating against the Soviet invasion

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#15 Czechoslovakian army trucks take young people around Prague as Soviet tanks had halted on the outskirts of town and began a siege of Czech army barracks.

Czechoslovakian army trucks take young people around Prague as Soviet tanks had halted on the outskirts of town and began a siege of Czech army barracks.

The passengers waved Czechoslovakian national flags and chanted national songs and patriotic slogans.

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#16 Thousands of protesters crowd into Wenceslas Square, in downtown Prague, in August 1968, demonstrating against the Soviet invasion

Thousands of protesters crowd into Wenceslas Square, in downtown Prague, in August 1968, demonstrating against the Soviet invasion

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#17 Czechs jeer a Soviet tank in downtown Prague.

Czechs jeer a Soviet tank in downtown Prague.

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#18 A young Czech lets her feelings be known as she shouts at Soviet soldiers sitting on tanks in the streets of Prague on August 26, 1968.

A young Czech lets her feelings be known as she shouts at Soviet soldiers sitting on tanks in the streets of Prague on August 26, 1968.

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#19 Angry citizens surround a Soviet tank and climb its turret to mock the crew in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, on August 22, 1968.

Angry citizens surround a Soviet tank and climb its turret to mock the crew in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, on August 22, 1968.

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#20 Czechoslovakian refugees flee the country, photographed here at the Austrian border, in autumn 1968.

Czechoslovakian refugees flee the country, photographed here at the Austrian border, in autumn 1968.

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#21 Youths carry a crucifix on their way to the burial of a friend shot by the Soviets on August 27, 1968, in Prague.

Youths carry a crucifix on their way to the burial of a friend shot by the Soviets on August 27, 1968, in Prague.

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#22 A woman weeps at a funeral for one of the victims of the fighting in Czechoslovakia

A woman weeps at a funeral for one of the victims of the fighting in Czechoslovakia

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#23 A lone car passes dozens of Soviet tanks during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

A lone car passes dozens of Soviet tanks during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia.

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#24 Czechoslovakians gather to listen to a transistor radio for news of the Soviet invasion and occupation on August 29, 1968.

Czechoslovakians gather to listen to a transistor radio for news of the Soviet invasion and occupation on August 29, 1968.

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#25 Students in the underground movement make anti-Russian posters on September 3, 1968, in Prague.

Students in the underground movement make anti-Russian posters on September 3, 1968, in Prague.

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#26 Soviet troops march through Prague in September 1968.

Soviet troops march through Prague in September 1968.

After the invasion, a permanent Soviet presence was established in Czechoslovakia to prevent further reforms.

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#27

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#28

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#29

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#30

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#31

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#32

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#33

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#34

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#35

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#36

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#37

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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