Containment in Czechoslovakia

The crisis in Czechoslovakia in 1968 was exactly that – a crisis. It was a crisis for the Communist party and the Soviet Union because a wave of reform and somewhat anti-socialist feelings were sweeping across the Soviet bloc country of Czechoslovakia. The Prague Spring as this period was later dubbed, was brought on by creative intellectuals and the student youth calling for “complete cultural freedom, economic reform based on the ‘socialist market’, and restrictions on the secret police” according to the Seventeen Moments module.

 

The party leaders in Moscow faced a dire situation in Czechoslovakia, which was undoubtedly the most “Western” of the bloc countries. Taking a page out of the American manual on foreign policy, the Soviet Union scrambled to contain the developing political disaster in Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union along with the Warsaw Pact countries eventually invaded the near-rogue Czechoslovakia with military force and easily ended the reformist sentiment. But in addition to an invasion force to quell a possible uprising, the Soviet Union deployed propaganda (per usual) to contain the spread of reformist ideas. Here is an excerpt from a Pravda article titled “Hostile Campaign over Czechoslovakia found on the Current Digest of the Soviet Press database:

“In the past few days Western bourgeois propaganda has developed its malicious campaign over Czechoslovakia¬†with fresh force. Note is being taken here of the fact that the reactionary press and radio are striving to complicate the situation in Prague, to impede the process of the consolidation and normalization of political life in the country. Pursuing this aim, the bourgeois propagandists are spreading various kinds of lying and provocative rumors and slanderous statements. They deliberately distort events and facts, trying to excite the population and to sow doubts and fears.”

 

The policy of containment was not only used by the United States in response to the spread of communism, it was also used by the Soviet Union to keep communism within its empire.

Link to Pravda article:

http://dlib.eastview.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/searchresults/article.jsp?art=0&id=13653975

2 thoughts on “Containment in Czechoslovakia

  1. The Crisis in Czechoslovakia is a good example of the ideological struggle of the Cold War and demonstrates the Soviet implementation of what would become the Brezhnev Doctrine. It was also part of a globally growing demand for cultural freedom during the late sixties. This post highlights the importance of the Soviet need to maintain the structural integrity of socialism if it were to remain a legitimate opponent. I enjoyed your use of the propaganda within this post.

  2. The Prague Spring was definitely a crisis for the Soviets. Communism was supposed to be a real government for the people but when the people in Czechoslovakia decided that they didn’t want communism anymore and then were put down by the Soviet Army, it hurt the communist movement. One thing you didn’t mention was that Vaclav Havel, a playwrite, was one of the movements leaders and was imprisoned for his participation in the Spring. He would eventually become the leader of Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution that split Czechoslovakia from the USSR.

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