The Invasion of Czechoslovakia by the USSR –

Everything changed the night of August 20–21, 1968the troops that made up the Warsaw Pactburst into the silence of the night of a sleeping city, Prague. This was the beginning of an invasion of a country that wanted to separate itself from the iron curtain and that longed to opt for freedom and democracy. Freedom and democracy that the other side was already enjoying and that in Czechoslovakia had had its response in the Prague Spring. On August 21, 1968, any attempt at liberalization of a socialist country that never wanted to be was stopped. In this article we have called The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the USSR, we want to count how the events unfolded, what their background was and what consequences it would bring.

To fully understand this historical moment, we must begin by explaining what it was. the Warsaw Pact. He was a Treaty of Friendship, Collaboration and Mutual Assistance, and that was how it was officially called, although popularly, it received the name of the city where it was signed, warsaw on May 14, 1955.

This alliance was of a military nature and was made up of eight countries Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the USSR. This alliance was really born as a response to the Alliance that the Western countries had signed, where the German Federal Republic could rearm. This alliance was North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In the Warsaw Pact, countries committed themselves for 20 years to provide military assistancein the event that any member of the pact was attacked or felt threatened by a foreign force.

That night from August 20 to 21the troops of 5 member countries of the Warsaw Pact, led by the Soviet commanders, They invaded the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia. The reason, to stop the political reforms that Alexander Dubček, leader in the Prague Spring, it intended to carry out liberalization reforms that the Soviet Union did not like.

In this invasion intervened in addition to the USSR, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the German Democratic RepublicAlthough the latter did not cross the border with Czechoslovakia, countries such as Albania (withdrew from the pact in 1962) and Romania remained on the sidelines.

The invasion was named after the Danube and had a force of between 500,000-750,000 soldiers. The result of the attack was 500 Czechoslovak civilians injured and about 100 dead. All reformists were arrested and the authority of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was strengthened.

Tough talks were held where neither Moscow nor Prague managed to iron out their discrepancies. It was then that the Soviets, under the command of Leonid Brezhnev, decided to bring together the member countries of the Warsaw Pact to carry out a military operation against the regime Dubčekthus ending the Prague Spring.

The troops that night of August 20, 1968, crossed the borders of Czechoslovakia. Tanks took to the streets. Nobody knew what was happening, after all they were allied armies, but with the first signs of shooting, and the first deaths in the street, they soon realized the seriousness of their situation.

While the street signs were changed in order to disorient the invading troops, hundreds of banners appeared in the streets denying a counterrevolutioninviting the invaders to leave the country.

The entire period of political liberalization that had been brewing during the Prague Spring had suddenly come to an end. With a contingent of approx. 600,000 soldiers and 2,300 tanks invaded the country.

They occupied Ruzyně International Airport, of the capital, with the purpose of being able to deploy more troops if necessary. The Czechoslovak Army was confined to its barracks, their weapons were confiscated, until dawn came. With the first light of day, Czechoslovak citizens woke up with a country taken over and occupied.

the ending balance 72 Czechoslovaks were killed, 266 seriously wounded, and 436 slightly wounded. After this invasion, different groups of civilians would appear in the streets, creating a kind of resistance, unorganized and very scattered, despite the call that Alexander Dubček he did to his people so that they would not offer resistance.

To substantiate the invasion and despite the fact that the Chekoslovak Presidency had communicated that the government was unaware of the entry of the Pact troops, the information that was provided by the Soviet Union, It was a “kind of request”without signature, by the Czechoslovakian government requesting military aid from the Warsaw Pact.

Later the Soviets, explained their need to apply the Brezhnev Doctrine, for which the Soviet Union had everything the right of intervention within a country belonging to the so-called Eastern Bloc, if this country began to turn towards a capitalist path. A right of intervention to return to righteousness, any member that may go astray.

After this invasion, the immediate consequence was a population exodus trying to leave, it is estimated that some 300,000 did succeed. Censorship and political persecution were imposed, a totalist regime was established for normalization, which remained in power for 20 years, led by Gustáv Husá.

Scheme that just like it started with a “revolution” in the Prague Spring, Now I’d end up with another “The Velvet Revolution”. A pacifist movement was in charge of opening the doors to democracy, a door that was closed in 1968 and that in 1989 was definitively closed for Socialism.

The countries on the other side of the Eastern Bloc, Western countries seemed not to react in the face of the situation that was being experienced, in a country that cried out for freedom and democracy, but had been silenced. They simply expressed with a slight critical voice the fact of the invasion.

The same night that the Invasion took place, some countries like Canada, France, Paraguay, Denmark, United Kingdom and United Statescalled for an emergency meeting with the United Nations Security Council.

When the Czechoslovakian ambassador, presented his complaint in the face of the Soviet invasion, the Soviet ambassador replied that he simply they had offered their fraternal helpbefore a series of antisocial forces that had been distributed throughout the country.

The UN resolution, was very light, a condemnation for the invasion and an immediate withdrawal of the Pact troops was requested. After the vote the result was:

  • 10 Members supported the proposal
  • 3 Members abstained
  • 2 Members opposed. Hungary and the USSR, which also had veto power.

After this vote, another one arose at the request of Canada, it was about sending delegates from the United Nations to Prague in order to soften the situation and obtain the release of Czechoslovak leaders that they were caught.

Interestingly, the Warsaw Pact was renewed again in 1985, its renewal was for another 20 years, but something was about to change, something that would absolutely invalidate this new renewal.

In 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall, the political transformations that had begun in the 1980s, the change in society that demanded new goals and a shift towards democracy, were the triggers for the USSR to order the departure of all Soviet troops from the Warsaw Pact countries, including the Democratic Republic of Germany, which after 1989 abandoned the alliance to unify with the Federal Republic of Germany, in October 1990.

All military activities ceased in March 1991 and in July, all the member countries of the Warsaw Pact agreed to its dissolution.

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