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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

A collection of primary source documents from around the world related to the 1968 Prague Spring and the subsequent Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The documents were originally obtained from the Central State Archive of Social Organizations of Ukraine, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History, and the National Archives of the Czech Republic, among other archives. The collection traces development of the democratization movement, the eventual military intervention, and the aftermath of the Soviet invasion. See also the Digital Archive collection on the Warsaw Pact. (Image, tanks in Prague)

  • May 25, 1968

    Summation of Informers from the Transcarpathian Oblast, Ukrainian SSR

    A report summarizing various conversations from the Transcarpathian Oblast, submitted by Ukrainian KGB Chief A. Zabchenko

  • May 30, 1968

    Report on Statements by Ukrainian Journalists in the CSSR

    P. Shelest reports to the CPSU CC about the observations of Ukrainian journalists inside Czechoslovakia during the developing 1968 crisis.

  • July 04, 1968

    Informational Note on Subversive Materials Arriving from the CSSR

    P. Shelest complains about subversive publications from the CSSR arriving in the Ukraine, mostly as a part of regular subscriptions.

  • June 04, 1968

    Report on the Trip by a Delegation of Soviet Workers to the CSSR

    V. Shcherbyts'kyi reports to P. Shelest on events and observations from a USSR workers' delegation traveling in the CSSR.

  • June 06, 1968

    P. Shelest Reports on Miloš Krno's Evaluation of the Czechoslovak Crisis

    P. Shelest reports to the CPSU CC on Slovak writer Miloš Krno's evaluation of events in Czechoslovakia.

  • July 08, 1968

    Report on and Translation of the Appeal of Action Committee for a Democratic and Socialist Czechoslovakia

    P. Shelest provides a translation of a subversive document from Czechoslovakia.

  • July 17, 1968

    Memorandum from P. Shelest to CPSU CC

    First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party Shelest reports on the vist of a delegation of workers from Czechoslovakia to Ukraine. There was much discussion of the ongoing Prague Spring, including criticism of the Soviet Union from some delegation members.

  • July 10, 1968

    Memorandum from P. Shelest to CPSU CC

    First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party Shelest reports on a conversation between the Ukrainian secretary of the Transcarpathian Oblast with the first secretary of Czechoslovakia's East Slovakia regional committee. They discussed possible changes to Czechoslovakia's federal structure and Soviet concerns about the ongoing Prague Spring.

  • July 14, 1968

    Message of the SSSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Soviet Embassy in Poland regarding the Reaction of Some Communist Parties to the Information from the Central Committee of CPSSS of July 11 about the Situation in Czechoslovakia

    Romania warns against international intervention, while Bulgarian officials argue that Romania's argument disavows the Warsaw agreement. Urbany closes by recommending peaceful and, if need be, other means to prevent upheaval.

  • July 17, 1968

    Speech by P. Shelest at the CPSU CC Plenum

    First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party Petro Shelest speaks at a CPSU Plenum on the situation in Czechoslovakia, characterizing the Prague Spring as "a grave, right-wing opportunist danger in a fraternal Communist party and the growth of anti-socialist, counterrevolutionary forces in socialist Czechoslovakia."

  • July 18, 1968

    Report, P. Shelest to Communist Party of Ukraine Central Committee

    Report delivered by First Secretary Petro Shelest to an expanded meeting of the Ukrainian Communist Party Central Committee and the Kyiv Oblast committee on 18 July 1968. A CPSU Central Committee plenum had been held the previous day to endorse the Soviet delegation’s decisions at a multilateral meeting in Warsaw on the Prague Spring.

  • July 21, 1968

    Shelest's Account of His Secret Meeting on Lake Balaton with Vasil Bil'ak, 20-21 July 1968

    Excerpt from diary of the First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Petro Shelest. Shelest recounts his secret meeting with the Slovak Communist Party leader, Vasil Bil'ak, on the shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary. The meeting took place late in the evening of 20-21 July, exactly a month before the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • July 22, 1968

    Memorandum from P. Shelest to CPSU CC, On Czechoslovak Delegation's Visit to Ukraine

    First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Petro Shelest, reports on the visit of a delegation from Czechslovakia to Chernihiv oblast in northern Ukraine. During the visit, delegation members and Ukrainian officials argue about the Prague Spring and whether the democratization process at work was a positive force or a threat allowing anti-socialist elements an active role in Czechslovak society.

  • July 24, 1968

    P. Shelest Reports on a Meeting Between Ukrainian and Slovak Party Officials

    Petro Shelest reports to the CC CPSU on a meeting between Cde. V. G. Dykusarov and a secretary of the KSC’s East Slovakia regional committee, Cde. Jaromír Hetteš. Cde. J. Koscelanský, who usually appears on behalf of the Slovaks, was on vacation.

  • July 27, 1968

    Directive of the Ministry of Defense for Exercise ‘OVERCAST SUMMER-68’

    Directive describes how the military exercise Overcast Summer-68 ["Pochmurne Lato"] will transpire on August 1 on the border of Poland and Czechoslovakia from 28 July to 5 August 1968 and states the logistics of the exercise. Information includes what groups will be used, their commanding generals, equipment, and first aid materials. The document also details how communications between all parties involved will function, as well as signal words and numbers that are to be used under various situations. Directive is signed by Minister of Defense and General of Divisions, Wojciech Jaruzelski.

  • July 29, 1968

    Note on the Farewell Visit of the Polish Ambassador to the DPRK, Comrade Naperei, with Comrade Jarck on 26 July 1968 between 11:00 and 12:30 hours

    The German and Polish ambassadors in North Korea review clashes along the DMZ, the capture of the USS Pueblo, and the connections between Prague Spring and events in Korea.

  • August, 1968

    Letter from Czech Communist Politicians to Brezhnev Requesting Soviet Intervention in Prague Spring

    In August 1968 a small group of pro-Moscow hardliners in the Czechoslovak Communist Party, led by Vasil Bilak, wrote two letters requesting urgent assistance from the Soviet Union to thwart the imminent "counterrevolution" in Czechoslovakia. Both letters were addressed to Leonid Brezhnev, the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU), and both were written in Russian to ensure that they would be read promptly. The first (and more important) letter was signed by Bilak and four of his colleagues: Drahomir Kolder, Alois Indra, Oldrich Svestka, and Antonin Kapek. Brezhnev later used the letter as a formal justification for the impending military invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • August 03, 1968

    Shelest's Account of the Transfer of the 'Letter of Invitation'

    Excerpt from diary of the First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Petro Shelest. Shelest describes arrangements to receive a letter from Vasil Bil'ak, a written appeal for urgent military assistance from the Soviet Union to thwart an imminent "counterrevolution" in Czechoslovakia.

  • August 08, 1968

    Attaché Note from Prague on Events in Czechoslovakia from 28 July to 5 August 1968

    Memorandum from Chief of General Staff II General Oliwa to Chief of General Staff and Deputy Minister of National Defense, General Chocha. General Oliwa is sending a note from the Military Attaché in Prague assessing the events in Czechoslovakia from 28 July to 5 August 1968. The status of the party and public opinion on the party in Czechoslovakia is highlighted throughout.

  • August 17, 1968

    Stenographic transcript of meeting of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party

    Ceausescu relates his recent meeting with Dubcek in Prague in August 1968. His talks with Dubcek focused primarily on the events that had unfolded in Czechoslovakia over the last several months.