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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)

  • August 20, 1968

    Secret Decree of the Council of Ministers of the PR of Bulgaria for the Participation of Bulgarian Troops in the Warsaw Pact Operation in Czechoslovakia

  • August 20, 1968

    Report No. 10 from Generals Pavlovsky and Kovalov to Brigadier General Florian Siwicki

    General Pavlovsky writes to the Commander of the Polish Second Army, Brigadier General Florian Siwicki. He lists preliminary steps in Operation Danube where the troops enter from Poland into Czechoslovakia.

  • August 20, 1968

    On the Troops’ State of Readiness

    Report given out by the Polish Army General Staff regarding the state of Polish combat troops for the intervention in Czechoslovakia. States that the armies are in full readiness and are ready to move toward Czechoslovakia at any time. An overview of the area in Czechoslovakia that they are invading is also given at length.

  • August 21, 1968

    Letter from the Central Committees of the Bulgarian, East German, Hungarian, Polish, and Soviet Communist Parties regarding the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia

    Letter from the Central Committees of the Communist Parties of East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union explaining the need for intervention in Czechoslovakia. The letter lays out the rationale behind the Brezhnev Doctrine.

  • August 22, 1968

    CIA-State Consultations on Czechoslovak Crisis

    Consulted by Cord Meyer, Deputy Undersecretary of State Charles Bohlen approves RFE’s cautious approach to covering the Soviet invasion and also agrees to use of RL transmitters to reach Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia

  • August 22, 1968

    Prague Embassy Urges Caution on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America

    In Prague Embassy Dispatch No. 3079, Ambassador Jacob Beam urges the US Radios to provide factual reporting and neither encourage nor discourage Czechoslovak youth opposed to the invasion

  • August 22, 1968

    Report on the Polish Second Army, August 22, 1968 at 7:00 AM

    Report states that Polish Second Army divisions are in good spirits and believe their mission to intervene in Czechoslovakia is a just cause. Report states that despite the good will of Polish soldiers, they face hostility from the Czech army and citizens alike. Report then states what actions should be undertaken.

  • August 24, 1968

    Report on the Polish Second Army division taking part in Operation Danube

    Report states there are no problems with the morale and political state of soldiers and officers of the Second Army, though the soldiers have faced open hostility from Czech citizens. Overall relations between Czech Army and Polish divisions are negative.

  • August 24, 1968

    Telegrams from Romanian Embassy, Beijing, to Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22-24 August 1968

    A series of three telegrams reporting on a reception held at the Romanian Embassy in Beijing on August 23, 1968. Premier Zhou Enlai attended the event and gave a speech condemning the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • August 25, 1968

    Report from Political Board of Polish Second Army

    Report on the use of propaganda materials and how they have been distributed in Czech cities and villages. It also lists several incidents of hostility expressed by Czech soldiers/citizens towards Warsaw Pact soldiers.

  • August 26, 1968

    Report from the Second Army's Political Department at 19:00 hours

    Document continues reporting on relations between Czech citizens and Warsaw Pact armies as well as the state of Polish Second Army. Report describes propaganda dissemination in villages and cities as well as how unfriendly relations between Czech and Polish soldiers remain.

  • August 26, 1968

    Report from Polish Second Army’s Political Department at 7:35 hours

    Report praises soldiers of the Polish Second Army for their political maturity and high spirits but says that relations between Czech citizens and soldiers of Second Army are not amicable. On August 25th, the political branch of Second Army led a propaganda operation designed for Czech society and soldiers.

  • August 28, 1968

    Cryptogram No 10456 from Polish Embassy in Bucharest, Ambassador Ochęduszko's Meeting with the Soviet Ambassador

    Polish Ambassador Ochęduszko reports on a conversation with the Soviet ambassador in Bucharest, Alexander Vasilievich Basov. Basov informed him about a conversation he had with Nicolae Ceaușescu on August 25 in which Basov complained about Romanian press which criticized the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. Ceausescu continued to insist that military intervention was a mistake.

  • August 29, 1968

    P. Shelest Reports on Informer Activity in the Ukraine

    P. Shelest submit a summary of informer reports for the CC CPSU on people who have "expressed unsavory views about events in the CSSR."

  • August 30, 1968

    Cipher Message 3235-8/223, Warsaw to Minister of National Defense of the Polish People's Republic Division General Cde. W. Jaruzelski

    Because the Warsaw Pact has recently conducted a large number of military exercises and the costs of doing so, and given the present military occupation of Czechoslovakia, Soviet Marshal Yakubovsky proposes postponing the October joint military exercise to the following year. Yakubovsky solicits Polish General Jaruzelski's opinion on the matter.

  • August 30, 1968

    P. Shelest Writes to the CC CPSU on a Radio Liberty Broadcast

    P. Shelest writes a letter about an appeal in Ukrainian broadcast on Radio Liberty regarding the troubles in Czechoslovakia.

  • August 30, 1968

    Cipher Telegram 3234-8/220, Warsaw to Minister of National Defense of the Polish People's Republic Division General Cde. W. Jaruzelski

    Following the successful completion of the first stage of the joint military exercise in Czechoslovakia, Soviet Marshal Yakubovsky gives orders to Polish General Jaruzelski concerning the second stage. Four specific orders are given: the Polish military leadership must maintain friendly relations with the political bodies and civilians of occupied Czechoslovakia; maintain military preparedness; ensure the maintenance of proper living conditions for the Polish troops; and maintain adequate food supply and medical support for the Polish troops.

  • September 03, 1968

    P. Shelest on Romanian Reactions to the Unrest in Czechoslovakia

    P. Shelest reports on observations by small delegations of Ukrainian workers to Romania.

  • September 03, 1968

    Note Number 291 from the Department of Asia-Oceania, 'China and the Events in Czechoslovakia'

    The Department of Asia-Oceania analyzes shifts in Chinese foreign policy toward Eastern Europe following the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and connects the apparent changes in Beijing's diplomacy to the Sino-Soviet split and the Vietnam War.

  • October 04, 1968

    Report Regarding the Implementation of the Second Phase of Operation Danube

    Chief of General Staff and Deputy Minister of National Defense General Chocha describes what steps need to be taken now that the Army is transitioning into the second phase of the "Danube" operation.