The international service of Czech Radio 
27-10-2020, 00:38 UTC

August 1968
August 21st of 1968 is a black day in Czech history. People still recall waking up on that fateful morning to find that Soviet-led Warsaw Pact tanks had rolled into the county crushing all hope of implementing the democratic reforms of the Prague Spring. Shocked citizens took to the streets in protest of the invasion. Over 100 people were killed and 500 injured in skirmishes with the invaders, many of whom had no clear idea of what they were doing here and even where exactly they were. One of the key battles was for the control of Czech Radio, similar to the one that took place at the end of the Second World War.
Fifteen Prague citizens and radio employees lost their lives in the clash with Soviet armed forces, who eventually seized the building. Although radio broadcasting continued from other locations, the public and media revolt was soon suppressed. In the following period, also known as the "normalisation", hundreds of employees were forced to leave the radio because of their political views, and thousands of people across the country were sacked for speaking their minds. Communist apparatchiks took over and those who did not flee the country were forced to toe the party line or live as outcasts harassed by the dreaded secret service. People closed up, trusting none but their closest family and friends. Some thought it would be a couple of years before things turned for the better, but the communist regime was to stay in power for another twenty years.
It was the beginning of a dark chapter in the country’s history which has left scars that will take years to heal. Radio Prague will mark the upcoming anniversary with a number of special programmes, remembering the events of 1968 and talking to eyewitnesses about how the Soviet-led invasion impacted their lives.
Archive materials from August 1968:
Radio Prague broadcast from August 25th, 1968
Radio Prague broadcast from August 25th, 1968
US President Lyndon B. Johnson urging the Soviet Union to withdraw its troops from occupied Czechoslovakia August 21, 1968
Deutsche Welle English language broadcast from August 21st, 1968 : report on a demonstration outside the Soviet Embassy in Bonn.
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: interview with Reuben Falber, Assistant General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: BBC correspondent Dennis Blakely reporting on the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia from Moscow
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: Moscow Radio reporting on the invasion of Czechoslovakia as “brotherly assistance” made at the request of the Czechoslovak government
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: US President Lyndon B. Johnson condemning the Soviet-led invasion
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: Jan Muzik, the Czechoslovak representative at the United Nations addressing the UN Security Council meeting on August 21st
BBC broadcast August 21, 1968: Lord Caradon, the British representative at the United Nations addressing the UN Security Council meeting on August 21st
BBC broadcast August 24, 1968: Czech students explaining how they had argued with Russian soldiers in the streets of Prague in an attempt to get them to return home

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The photos were provided by
the Institute of Contemporary History

The exposition in the National Museum:
Exhibitions have been taking place all over Prague recently to commemorate the Warsaw-Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. But perhaps the biggest of all the displays was unveiled on Thursday, exactly 40 years after the Soviet tanks rolled in. '… And the tanks arrived' sees Prague's National Museum – to this day a symbol of the occupation – returned to the way it looked in 1968. For one month only, a 1960's-style kiosk, vintage cars, and of course, a Soviet tank stand outside the museum.The exhibition itself is a good mix of multimedia and artifacts from the time. The exhibition runs until September 30.

August 1968 by Josef Koudelka
The Old Town Hall in Prague has launched an exhibition of photographs by famous Czech photographer Josef Koudelka. The exhibition, entitled Josef Koudelka – Invasion 68 commemorates the 40th anniversary of 21 August 1968 – the day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Many of the exhibited photos have not been published yet; the snapshots were smuggled to the West and Koudelka acknowledged his authorship as late as in 1984.
The photos by Josef Koudelka that were published
in the journal Respekt in August 1990