Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia

Crowds of protesters surround Soviet tanks during the first days of the invasion of Czechoslovakia
Crowds of protesters surround Soviet tanks during the first days of the invasion of Czechoslovakia

Historical Context

In early January 1968, a reformist politician by the name of Alexander Dubček became leader of the communist state of Czechoslovakia. Dubček was a reformer, who wanted to implement a policy known as 'socialism with a human face' by granting certain rights to Czechoslovak citizens including partial democratisation and deregulation of the economy, as well as looser restrictions on media, travel and speech.

These reforms were not well received by the Soviet Union, of which Czechoslovakia was a satellite state. After months of failed talks, the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies invaded the country on the night of August 20-21, 1968. Some 250,000 troops crushed resistance in the country and Dubček was forced to resign his leadership position.

Soviet troops remained in Czechoslovakia until 1991. The Prague Spring was crushed, and a period of so-called 'normalization' ensued, where the government of the country attempted to reverse Dubček's reforms and remove reformers from the government.

Communism collapsed in Czechoslovakia after the revolutions across Eastern Europe in 1989, and in 1993 the country was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Photo Info


Photographer: Unknown
Location taken: Prague, Czechoslovakia

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1968-08-20 During the night 250,000 Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia in response to the Prague Spring
  • 1968-08-21 Warsaw Pact forces complete their invasion of Czechoslovakia by arresting the Czech leader Alexander Dubček and forcing him to sign the Moscow Protocols

Historical Photos