Part 3: Communist Leaders in Czechoslovakia
From ideology to Prague Spring and Soviet Invasion
Communist party won the elections in Czechoslovakia after World War II. In 1948, they established a cruel totalitarian regime dictated from Moscow. Strange times came about. On one hand, thousands of people believing the ideology were rebuilding the state. On the other hand, thousands of others were imprisoned or even sentenced to death. Liberalisation of the 1960's was ended by the infamous 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, which halted people's dreams for freedom for another two decades.
Did you know?
- Stalin forced Czechoslovakia to refuse the Marshall plan and sent grain in 1947 after the dry summer, despite famine in the Soviet Union.
- Communists armed workers and peasants in 1947 and formed People's Militias. President Beneš agreed to communist plan to prevent violence and civil war in February 1948. That is how the communist totality started.
- Christmas 1952 in the Czechoslovak radio: "Baby Jesus has grown up, he wears a long white beard. He is not naked in the barn anymore, but wears a red coat. Instead of one star, he comes from the East surrounded by red stars at collective farms and factories."
- The invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 was the largest military operation of the Warsaw Pact. Half a million soldiers, 6000 tanks and 800 aeroplanes took part.
- Alexander Dubček, the leader of the reforms during Prague spring, was sent to Turkey as ambassador for a while to make his escape easier and to make him a traitor at the same time. Then he was passed around like a hot potato.