Czechoslovakia: Closer to Normal

For weeks, newspapers and radio broadcasts were filled with vituperation against Alexander Dubcek and the rest of Czechoslovakia's liberals. Ever since the Soviet invasion 13 months ago, the country's progressive leaders have had their influence stripped away gradually.

Now, plainly, the regime's conservative rulers were ready for the step that they had delayed for fear of popular reaction — a wholesale purge. When the 180 members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party assembled last week in the ornate baroque Spanish Hall overlooking Prague, the whole country knew that their first...

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