The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Google eBook)

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Günter Bischof, Stefan Karner, Peter Ruggenthaler
Rowman & Littlefield, Dec 29, 2009 - History - 530 pages
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On August 20, 1968, tens of thousands of Soviet and East European ground and air forces moved into Czechoslovakia and occupied the country in an attempt to end the 'Prague Spring' reforms and restore an orthodox Communist regime. The leader of the Soviet Communist Party, Leonid Brezhnev, was initially reluctant to use military force and tried to pressure his counterpart in Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek, to crack down. But during the summer of 1968, after several months of careful deliberations, the Soviet Politburo finally decide that military force was the only option left. A large invading force of Soviet, Polish, Hungarian, and Bulgarian troops received final orders to move into Czechoslovakia; within 24 hours they had established complete military control of Czechoslovakia, bringing an end to hopes for 'socialism with a human face.' Dubcek and most of the other Czechoslovak reformers were temporarily restored to power, but their role from late August 1968 through April 1969 was to reverse many of the reforms that had been adopted. In April 1969, Dubchek was forced to step down for good, bringing a final end to the Prague Spring. Soviet leaders justified the invasion of Czechoslovakia by claiming that 'the fate of any socialist country is the common affair of all socialist countries' and that the Soviet Union had both a 'right' and a 'sacred duty' to 'defend socialism' in Czechoslovakia. The invasion caused some divisions within the Communist world, but overall the use of large-scale force proved remarkably successful in achieving Soviet goals. The United States and its NATO allies protested but refrained from direct military action and covert operations to counter the Soviet-led incursion into Czechoslovakia. The essays of a dozen leading European and American Cold War historians analyze this turning point in the Cold War in light of new documentary evidence from the archives of two dozen countries and explain what happened behind the scenes. They also reassess the weak response of the United States and consider whether Washington might have given a 'green light,' if only inadvertently, to the Soviet Union prior to the invasion.
  

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Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
3
Chapter 2 The Prague Spring and the Soviet Invasion in Historical Perspective
35
PART II CZECHOSLOVAKIA THE SOVIET UNION AND THE PRAGUE SPRING
59
The Prague Spring and Apprehension about a Soviet Invasion
61
Chapter 4 Soviet Society in the 1960s
75
Chapter 5 Politburo DecisionMaking on the Czechoslovak Crisis in 1968
103
Preconditions for the Soviet Invasion and Occupation of Czechoslovakia
145
Normalizing Relations between the Soviet Leadership and the Czechoslovak Delegation after the Invasion
165
Chapter 15 Ulbricht East Germany and the Prague Spring
341
Chapter 16 Hungary and the Prague Spring
371
Chapter 17 Tito the BlocFree Movement and the Prague Spring
397
Neutrality in the Crucible?
419
in Prague
441
Appendix 2 We Are Ready at Any Time to Assist the Czechoslovak People Together with the Armies of the Warsaw Pact
443
Eugene V Rostow to Dean Rusk 10 May 1968
447
Appendix 4 On the Results of the Warsaw Meeting of the Delegations of Communist Parties and Workers Parties from Socialist Countries
449

PART III THE GREAT POWERS AND THE YEAR OF CRISIS IN 1968
191
Chapter 8 The Johnson Administration the Vietnam War and the American Souths Response to the Vietnam War
193
The Johnson Administration and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968
215
Photospread
236
The CIA and the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia
237
Britain the Soviet Union and the 1968 Czech Crisis
249
Chapter 12 Paris and the Prague Spring
271
Chapter 13 France Italy the Western Communists and the Prague Spring
283
PART IV EUROPEAN NEIGHBORS DURING THE PRAGUE SPRING
317
Chapter 14 The USSR the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czechoslovak Crisis of 1968
319
Appendix 5 CC Urging the United States to Halt Hostile US Media Campaign against the Soviet Union
453
Appendix 6 Secret Memorandum by Nathaniel Davis Czechoslovak Contingencies
455
Appendix 7 Memorandum from Ambassador McGhee to the Secretary of State 21 August 1968
457
If He Were to Resign from His Post It Would Be Better for All of Us
461
Appendix 9 Secret and Top Secret Secretary of Defense Staff Meetings 1968
465
Appendix 10 US Propaganda Strengthening NATO
481
Index
483
About the Contributors
505
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

GYnter Bischof is Marshall Plan Professor of History and Director of Center Austria at the University of New Orleans. Stefan Karner is professor of social, economic, and business history at the University of Graz. He is also the director of the Ludwig Boltzmann-Institute for Research on War Consequences in Graz and Vienna, Austria. Peter Ruggenthaler is a researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on War Consequences in Graz, Austria.

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