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Prague Spring (ePub)

Warsaw Pact Invasion, 1968

Photographic eBooks Colour eBooks Cold War Military 19th Century

By Phil Carradice
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Cold War 1945 - 1991
File Size: 102.9 MB (.epub)
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 95
ISBN: 9781526757012
eBook Released: 1st August 2019


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Cold War nadir: January 1968 and in Czechoslovakia the new Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek has made it clear that this is the opportunity to loosen the Soviet stranglehold on the country. As the Prague winter slowly eases into a Prague spring, it really does seem as if Dubcek has judged it right. Reforms in oppressive censorship laws, improved housing, a lessening of totalitarian oppression, Dubcek promises and delivers on it all. The new regime in Czechoslovakia does not seek to destroy communism but it does want to choose its own political destiny.

And then, on the night of 20/21 August the Prague Spring is crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion: 200,000 Communist troops, mostly Soviet but also Polish and East German, flood the country. The resulting protests and rallies against the invasion, mostly by young people, are violent and bloody. Hundreds die in clashes; self-immolation, in public and before the eyes of the world, brings home the horror and the depth of feeling in the Czech people.

It is the end of the Prague Spring, the reformation of Czechoslovakia having ended in ruins. But despite the brutal crushing of Czech hopes and dreams, the events of 1968 lay the foundations for future change. It will take another two decades but it is, ultimately, where the unravelling of the Communist bloc begins.

As someone who remembers the events and the stories displayed on the evening news here in the UK, I found it fascinating to read the detail of the events surrounding the story. It is 51 years ago now, and 30 since those countries got the freedoms they craved. For so many people therefore these stories are only history, not conditions they had to endure. I am quite sure that many youths today would find it hard to accept that their parents/grandparents did not enjoy the freedoms they have today, and they were hard fought for. Well worth reading and a good addition to this Cold War book series.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The Cold War series that this new book joins is building into a fine and unique series exposing the history of the Cold War conflict. The importance of the Prague Spring may have ended in failure for the Czech people, but its importance in the eventual fall of the Soviet Union cannot be underestimated – Very Highly Recommended

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It does help you understand the pressures on BOTH sides of the Cold War- with hot wars in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia boiling over. Carradice also does a good job putting you in touch with the culture of the time- so you can put together a "Mixtape" that even includes"The Plastic People of the Universe" the Czech Rock band that were emblematic of the reform movement. A good resource.

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GoodReads, Martin

As featured on The Penniless Press

The Penniless Press

An excellent book that should be read to understand an event that led, even if the journey was long, to what was the fall and failure of the communist ideology.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

About Phil Carradice

Phil Carradice is a poet, novelist and historian who has published over 80 books. The most recent of these publications are 'Hitler and His Women' and 'A Hundred Years of Spying' (both for Pen & Sword. He broadcasts regularly on TV and radio, presents the BBC Radio Wales programme The Past Master. He is a renowned teacher and tutor of creative writing.

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