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Humpday History Highlight

By RT | August 20, 2008

Sometimes events from history seem to closely resemble present circumstances.

When the Russians rolled into parts of Georgia, I thought back to the Cold War and the stories I heard about the Soviets forcefully taking up residence in countries like Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The troubles in Czechoslovakia began when Alexander Dubcek took over as secretary general of the nation’s Communist Party in January 1968. It was immediately apparent that Dubcek wanted a major overhaul of Czechoslovakia’s political and economic system-he called his particular ideology “Socialism with a human face.” He called for greater political freedom, including more participation by noncommunist parties. Dubcek also pressed for economic policies that would ensure less state control and more reliance on free market economics. Finally, he insisted on greater freedom from Soviet domination, although he reiterated his nation’s allegiance to the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet bloc’s counterpart to NATO.

Dubcek’s policies shocked the Soviets and leaders in other Eastern European nations. Throughout early and mid-1968, negotiations took place between Dubcek and representatives from Russia and other Soviet bloc nations in an attempt to have the Czechoslovakian leader soften his reforms. Dubcek refused, and tensions with the Soviet Union steadily increased. Meanwhile, the sudden atmosphere of freedom that Dubcek was encouraging took root, and Czech citizens embraced and celebrated the new tolerance for free exchange of ideas and open discussion in what came to be known as the “Prague Spring.” On the night of August 20, 1968, more than 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops crossed into Czechoslovakia and headed for the capital city of Prague. In just over a day, the entire country was occupied; within a week nearly three-quarters of a million foreign troops were in Czechoslovakia. Anti-Soviet riots broke out in Prague, but these were viciously crushed and thousands of Czechs fled the country.

The Soviet action in August 1968 shocked the West. Not since 1956, when Soviet troops intervened in Hungary, had the Russian government resorted to such force to bring one of its communist allies into line with its own policies.

I think about the Georgians who have managed to break away and who want independence. The arrogance displayed by the Russians worries me. It is a “we have nothing to lose” attitude.

(H/T: History Channel)

Topics: HHH, Slovakia | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Bloviating Zeppelin Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Many in Poland believe Ukraine is next. Estonia, Latvia and Belarus are also quaking in their boots.


  2. RT Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    It’s all just very scary, and I don’t think a lot of people are taking it seriously enough.

  3. fuzzysdad01 Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 2:15 am

    We should have let Patton take out the Russians in 1945!

  4. RT Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I’m sure we’d have a very different world right now if he had been allowed to have done so.

  5. Reverse_Vampyr Says:
    August 21st, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Now that the Russians are literally digging in and show no sign of leaving Georgia, I find it sad that we sit by and do nothing. I also wonder if we’d behave differently if we got a lot of our oil from them. As a nation which supposedly defend democracy, we sure are doing a piss-poor job with regards to this situation.