Czechoslovakia: A Release of Animosity

Beneath crystal chandeliers inside Hradcany Castle, on a high hill over looking Prague, the party and government leaders of Czechoslovakia gathered to observe the 50th anniversary of their independence from Austro-Hungarian rule. The moment was solemn — and cautious. "I beg you not to demonstrate," Josef Smrkovský, President of the National Assembly, had pleaded with the students of Prague's Charles University. "Would it be surprising if tanks appeared? If you demonstrate, we might all be sorry." Most of the university heeded the warning, marking the day quietly with a philosophy-department "teach-in"...

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