Central and Eastern Europe, International Journalism and PR

Warsaw Pact invasion on Czechoslovakia

Forty-eight years ago on the night of 20 upon 21 August 1968 the Warsaw Pact countries following the Soviet orders invaded Czechoslovakia in order to bring to an end the Prague Spring reform movement. The Prague Spring movement intended to end Soviet totalitarian system. The invasion led to the appointment of Moscow-affiliated leaders and the return of Czechoslovakia to the Soviet bloc. 108 Czechs and Slovaks were killed and around 500 wounded in the invasion.

After the invasion, the Soviet-backed hardliners suppressed freedom of travel, speech and political debate in Czechoslovakia until their fall in late 1989 during the Velvet Revolution led by dissident playwrigh, politician Vaclav Havel.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia ended their federation peacefully in 1993 and both states joined the EU in 2004.

Photo: Emil Gallo, a Slovak plumber, standing in front of a Warsaw Pact tank and baring his chest in a gesture of protest during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Taken on Šafárikovo námestie in Bratislava, Slovakia.