The Cold War series that this new book joins is building into a fine and unique series exposing the history of the Cold War conflict. The importance of the Prague Spring may have ended in failure for the Czech people, but its importance in the eventual fall of the Soviet Union cannot be underestimated – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Cold War 1945-1991, Prague Spring 1968, Warsaw Pact Invasion FILE: R2983 AUTHOR: Phil Carradice PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 128 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Cold War, Warsaw Pact, Soviet Invasion, Prague Spring, dissent, KGB, USSR, civil casualties, Soviet destabilization
IMAGE: B2983.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y3cndjyz LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The Cold War series that this new book joins is building into a fine and unique series exposing the history of the Cold War conflict. The importance of the Prague Spring may have ended in failure for the Czech people, but its importance in the eventual fall of the Soviet Union cannot be underestimated – Very Highly Recommended The Soviets took advantage of US naivety in drawing boundaries for post war Europe. In the advance into Germany, the Red Army and the NKVD began the process of preparing to annex all of Central and Eastern Europe. That included Czechoslovakia which was the product of attempts in 1919 to produce countries from the defeated German and Austrian Empires. As happens so frequently in such circumstances, the bureaucrats glued together two very different ethnic groups. Under German Occupation, Nazi brutality had held the two groups together in a common desire to expel the Germans. After 1945, the NKVD and then the KGB replaced the SS and Gestapo as the unwitting unifying force. The challenge for Czechs and Slavs was how to make their desire for freedom a reality and the Prague Spring emerged in January 1968 as new Communist Party leader Alexander Dubcek made it clear that it was the opportunity to break free. The USSR responded ruthlessly and crushed the rebellion with many Czech casualties. What was not immediately apparent was that the Prague Spring was the beginning of the end for the USSR By the 1980s, the arms race with the US and her Allies had broken the Russians economically. Whether Glasnost would have emerged without the Prague Spring is arguable. The Soviet structure depended on the suppression of dissent by the KGB in both the USSR and its satellite countries. The KGB depended on propaganda and fear, making the Soviet power seem beyond question. The Prague Spring shook that image of invincibility by the courage of young Czechs in accepting very heavy casualties to demonstrate to the occupying troops that they were not coming to liberate comrades from US subversion, but were an Occupying Force imposing themselves on a people who wanted only to see them ejected. As those troops returned home they carried that message with them. The KGB no longer looked invincible and the propaganda was exposed. As the USSR began to collapse economically and could be seen to be losing the arms and space races, the conditions were being built for a Russian Spring, the dismemberment of the USSR, and the freeing of the satellite countries to make their own way. The efforts Czechs like Vaclav Havel then not only liberated Czechoslovakia, but provided the route for Czechs and Slovaks to peacefully separate and form two countries that respected each other. The only sadness was that in their desire to become good European neighbours, they joined the European Union which was forging ahead to create a new EUSSR and reimpose a centralised socialist state on the formerly sovereign member States. A fine review of the Prague Spring, its inspiration and the conclusion is supported by some fascinating images through the body of text.