Friday, August 21, 2009

40th 1st year Anniversary

Today is the 40th anniversary of the 1st year anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

On August 20–21, 1968 Soviet forces, with Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland invaded the country to end the liberal reforms of the Prague Spring taking place by the Czechoslovak communist party.

These photos were taken in Brno, August 1969.

Here's a video I found on YouTube that some may find interesting.

During the 1st anniversary, on 21.08.1969, thousands of people went out into the streets to protest the occupation. The army, police and militia were brought out against the demonstrators and it turned violent. During the following days, the participants of the demonstration were severely punished. The "truncheon law" went in to effect and allowed police/security forces to detain people for up to 3 weeks (instead of 48 hours) and allowed people to be dismissed from work or school. A total of 1.526 people were punished under this law.

This week, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes put up three four-sided panels at Náměstí Svobody (Freedom Square). The panels are in Czech and English and detail the events of August 1968/1969. The panels also document what went on in Brno and shows photos of Brno residents that were killed.

Update: The 50th anniversary.


  1. I didn't know before I moved to the C.R. that other countries besides the Russians participated. Did you?

  2. I always thought that it was just the Soviet Union that had invaded. But it makes sense that the other Warsaw Pact nations (except for Romania) joined in too. I mean, the East German government couldn't have been too happy either about the Czech reforms.

  3. Christopher, I was born in Brno in 1966 and my family escaped in 1969, one year after the invasion. My parents had always been very reluctant to talk about those years and I had only seen a few archival photos of the invasion. Watching that video just now, brief as it is, brought a bit of our family history to life for me. Thank you so much for finding and posting that. Keep up the great blog as well... I've been reading it attentively in anticipation of my own potential move back to the "mother country". Continued good luck to you.