On August 21, 1968 citizens of former Czechoslovakia awoke to see tanks and foreign troops in their cities.
The night before, the troops of the Warsaw Pact countries (USSR, East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary), crossed the country’s borders to start an occupation that was to last practically till after the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. The invasion was a response to the democratisation tendencies within what came to be known as the Prague Spring movement, led by Alexander Dubček.
The dramatic situation led the government to pass an order by the defence minister for the army not to resist the occupants. The government issued the Call for all the Czechoslovak people, stating that the troops had entered the country against the will and without the awareness of the government, the TASR newswire wrote.
On the first days of the occupation people came out to the streets and squares of the cities to resist the occupants. The invasion resulted in 108 killed (29 in Slovakia), 266 heavily injured and 436 lightly injured citizens as of September 3, 1968, according to TASR.
Slovaks are holding official remembrance events today in several places around the country. Prime Minister Robert Fico visited the grave of the Prague Spring movement leader Alexander Dubček in the morning. He said that it is a pity the movement was stopped because Slovakia and the Czech Republic could have been much more advanced by now. He said he was glad we embarked on the road to democracy in 1989 and Slovakia is now considered “democratic, free, and safe”.
21. Aug 2017 at 13:54 | Compiled by Spectator staff