1968: Events in Czechoslovakia
In 1968, people in Czechoslovakia began criticising the communist leadership of their country.
They were unhappy because the economy was not doing well and there was a poorer standard of living compared to countries in western Europe where people’s wages were much higher.
Key People involved
The new leader of Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek.
Brezhnev, the new leader of the USSR
Demands of the protesters:
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press
Set up new political parties
Why did the USSR invade?
The USSR and its leadership were very concerned about the reforms
They were worried that the ideas would spread through East Europe
Czechoslovakia was a very important industrial area
It was an important trading partner of COMECON and important member of the Warsaw Pact.
Eastern European countries were worried that Czechoslovakia might become allied with the USA and Western Europe.
Other members of the warsaw pact got involved, including...
How did the people respond to the invasion?
The Czechs did not resist the invasion but carried out some peaceful protests.
How did the West react?
Western countries criticised their actions of the USSR (so did other communist eastern European countries)
Consequences for Czechoslovakia:
There were no violent clashes, although 79 people died during the invasion.
Soviet forces threw reformers out of the communist party, but they were not imprisoned or executed
The new pro-Soviet leader, Husak, reversed all the reforms.
Brezhnev announced that the Soviet Union would not allow any communist country in Eastern Europe to abandon communism.
What were the consequences for the USSR?
They were criticised by China and their relationship with China quickly deteriorated after the invasion as China criticised the USSR for how they treated Eastern European countries.