Spring associates many things in Prague (Part Two)

Prague streets were full of tanks during the invasion Spring time is associated with time of renewal and new life being born (plants and animals), and of the cycle of life once again starting. It can also be used more generally as the start of better times. That is the case of so called Prague Spring.

Prague Spring is a term used for a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia in the year 1968. At that time, Czechs and Slovaks were already for many years under strong communist rule. But with the new leader of the Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek, reforms started to appear. It was an attempt to create the “Socialism with human face”. Whether this is possible at all, I leave up to you.

Reforms included such freedoms which seem quite natural to us now – just like the abolition of censorship and allowing political organizations. These reforms were extremely popular among the public, pressuring for further liberalization and democratization. This liberalization took place from January to August and is thus called Prague Spring.

Reforms in Czechoslovakia, however, were not popular in the Soviet Union. It irritated the USSR so much that Prague Spring ended by invasion of armies from five Warsaw Pact countries! Soviet tanks ranging in number from 5,000 to 7,000 occupied the streets. What followed has been called “Normalization”, meaning that all previous reforms were called back, some measures were even strengthened. Thousands of people fled the country.

Prague Spring was about hope for better future. This hope, however, had been lost for over 20 years.

Mar 21, 12:35 (Filed under: Culture )

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