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50 YEARS AGO
On the night of 20 August 1968, Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia in tanks to halt a campaign of liberal reforms billed as “socialism with a human face”. The reformist Communist party leader Alexander Dubček was ousted. The intervention, accompanied by photographs of Soviet tanks in Prague, led to western condemnation and a split with some western Communist parties.
The Czechoslovakians did not fight the Russians. Instead, they stood in front of the tanks, and put flowers in the soldiers' hair. Jan Palach burned himself to death in protest.
The invasion also left more than 80 dead, many from gunshot wounds, according to internal Czechoslovak reports released 20 years later, in the twilight of communism.
Listen to IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF THE 1968 INVASION OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA by PETER MACHAJDÍK