With the Soviets tanks set once again to invade another country,1968 in Czechoslovakia proved to be a wild school year for many students. In his recording, one student describes life to be completely different than when he had went to bed, and among the uncertainty that he would be able to ever finish schooling, he apologizes for his shaky speech. The students final words in the audio clip were: “Please excuse my bad grammar, with the Russian tanks under my windows I just can’t concentrate well enough” Appeal by Czech Students to the World. While the Corps here at Tech has likely woken many Students during their early morning physical training, imagine the feeling of waking to the rumble of tanks rolling around Drillfield Drive.
Following the replacement of First Secretary Antonin Novotny with Alexander Dubcek, the reforms for “Socialism with a human face” had pushed much too far for the Soviets to be comfortable with and decided to take action to halt the decentralization. Unarmed students who had taken to the streets in peaceful protest for reform had by this time become a global trend. Earlier in the year protests occurred in France, and within days of the Soviet invasion of Prague there were more in the United States. The struggle for reform is met with violence on many occasions. In Prague, “The Soviet soldiers are filled with determination to fulfill their internationalist duty and to help the Czechoslovak brothers rout the counterrevolutionaries and uphold the socialist system.” Eventually, the Soviets had succeeded to cripple reformists with the removal of Dubcek in the following year.
The events in Prague were part of a broader western youth movement for reform which were met by the soon to be Brezhnev Doctrine– a guideline for intervention to preserve socialism.
Permanent Link to Image and Sound:
“An Unknown Hero” http://www.soviethistory.org/images/thumb.php?year=1968&fname=praga5.jpg
Appeal by Czech Students to the World (August 22, 1968). http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&show=audio&SubjectID=1968czechoslovakia&Year=1968&navi=byYear
Seventeen Moments, “1968: Crisis in Czechoslovakia”. http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1968czechoslovakia&Year=1968&navi=byYear
Val. Goltsev, “IN THE STREETS OF PRAGUE“. Current Digest of the Russian Press, The (formerly The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press), No. 34, Vol.20, September 11, 1968, page(s): 22-22 http://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13759624