CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Ten Years of Twilight

The legacy of invasion is cynicism and stagnation

Ten years ago this week, in the biggest European invasion since World War II, about 200,000 Soviet and East bloc troops roared across Czechoslovakia's border and took over the country to prevent a "counterrevolution." Translation: Czechoslovakia was showing signs of growing democratization. So ended, tragically, the eight-month-long Prague Spring, an unprecedented and exhilarating period of cultural and political freedom that had been orchestrated by the Czechoslovak Communist Party of Alexander Dubček. Under Dubček, censorship had been lifted, police files aired and Communist Party officials—for...

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