Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, officially known as Operation Danube, was a joint invasion of Czechoslovakia by four Warsaw Pact countries (the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary) on the night of 20–21 August 1968. Approximately 500,000 Warsaw Pact troops attacked Czechoslovakia that night, with Romania and Albania refusing to participate. East German forces, except for a small number of specialists, did not participate in the invasion because they were ordered from Moscow not to cross the Czechoslovak border just hours before the invasion. 137 Czechoslovakian civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.
|Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia|
|Part of the Cold War, the Sino-Soviet split, the Albanian–Soviet split, the Romanian–Soviet split, the Yugoslav–Soviet split, and the protests of 1968|
Photograph of a Soviet tank in Prague during the Warsaw Pact's occupation of Czechoslovakia.
|Commanders and leaders|
Ho Chi Minh
Josip Broz Tito
30 Member of GDR in the executive staff; 2 GDR-Divisions in reserve
|Casualties and losses|
96 killed (84 in accidents)|
5 soldiers committed suicide
10 killed (in accidents and suicides)
4 killed (in accidents)
137 civilians killed, 500 seriously wounded|
|70,000 Czechoslovak citizens fled to the West immediately after the invasion. Total number of emigrants before the Velvet Revolution reached 300,000.|
The invasion successfully stopped Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and strengthened the authority of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era was known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.
Public reaction to the invasion was widespread and divided. Although the majority of the Warsaw Pact supported the invasion along with several other communist parties worldwide, Western nations, along with Albania, Romania and particularly China condemned the attack, and many other communist parties either lost influence, denounced the USSR or split up/dissolved due to conflicting opinions. The invasion started a series of events that would ultimately see Brezhnev establishing peace with U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1972 after the latter's historic visit to China earlier that year.
The legacy of the invasion of Czechoslovakia remains widely talked about among historians and has been seen as an important moment in the Cold War. Analysts believe that the invasion caused the worldwide communist movement to fracture, ultimately leading to the Revolutions of 1989, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.