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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)

  • September 05, 1968

    Yurii Andropov, Nikolai Shchelokov, and Mikhail Malyarov to the CPSU CC

    This memorandum, signed by Yurii Andropov, the chairman of the Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB); Nikolai Shchelokov, the Minister of Public Order (whose ministry was renamed the Ministry of Internal Affairs in late November 1968); and Mikhail Molyarov, the Procurator of the USSR, was sent to the ruling Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) eleven days after the demonstration in Red Square against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The document lays out the basic facts of the case as viewed by the KGB and the CPSU. The document mentions the names of the eight activists who were in Red Square as well as two who helped with planning but were not actually in Red Square, Inna Korkhova and Maiya Rusakovskaya. Natal’ya Gorbanevskaya, one of the eight, was detained but released because she had recently given birth. However, a year later she was arrested in connection with her involvement and sentenced to a harsh term in a psychiatric prison.

  • September 07, 1968

    CSSR Embassy Peking, 'Position of the Chinese People’s Republic regarding the Occupation of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Comments in CPR Press and the Attitude of CPR Organs toward Our Representative Office in Peking'

    Account of the CPR's position regarding the Soviet occupation of the CSSR through press statements and statements by officials.

  • September 07, 1968

    Report from the Political Department of Polish Second Army on the emotional-political condition of the soldiers taking part in Operation ‘Danube’

    Report states the morale of soldiers taking part in Operation Danube is still good. But there is still no change in the unfriendly relations between Czech people and Warsaw Pact soldiers. The report describes how the Czech people are under the influence of revisionist and reactionary propaganda. It also details the conflict between Czech soldiers and Polish soldiers. It also gives an update of propaganda being broadcast through Czech radio stations.

  • September 18, 1968

    Report on and Copy of Pro-Czech Propaganda in the Ukraine

    Report on and transcript of an anonymous propaganda leaflet found among Ukrainian students, on the situation in Czechoslovakia.

  • September 20, 1968

    Yu. Andropov to the CPSU CC

    This memorandum from KGB Chairman Andropov to the CPSU Politburo follows up on the initial report from Andropov, Shchelokov, and Malyarov. The document highlights the “malevolent views” of the group that held an unauthorized demonstration in Red Square on 25 August 1968, singling out Pavel Litvinov, Larisa Bogoraz, Viktor Fainberg, and Vadim Delaunay for particular opprobrium. Andropov stresses that the KGB will intensify its crackdown on opposition figures who try to “spread defamatory information about Soviet reality.”

  • September 30, 1968

    Gen. Djurov’s Report on the participation of Bulgarian troops in the Warsaw Pact operation in Czechoslovakia, 30 September 1968

    The Minister reports on the progress of the allied operation and on the strength of the Czech resistance.

  • October 11, 1968

    Stenogram of a Session of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia

    Discussion in the Moldavian Communist Party Central Committee on the effects of Romanian mass media on the Moldavian population following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia

  • October 26, 1968

    P. Shelest Reports on a Visit by an Official Party-State Delegation from the CSSR

  • November 05, 1968

    Report Relayed by Andropov to the CPSU Central Committee, 'Students and the Events in Czechoslovakia'

    KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov presents a secret, 33-page report to the CPSU Central Committee about the mood of Soviet college students. The report had been completed sometime before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and had been circulating within the KGB. It is not clear precisely who drafted the report, but Andropov’s cover memorandum and the report itself indicate that the author was a college student in Odessa who had recently finished his degree.

  • November 15, 1968

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, 15 November 1968

    The Hungarian Embassy provides a brief on a visit by the Japanese Communist Party to North Korea.

  • November 20, 1968

    Telegram Number 2206/09, 'NATO Ministerial Council'

    French diplomat Lucien Paye assesses Chinese foreign policy in the aftermath of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and speculates that China wishes to exploit differences within the NATO camp.

  • November 26, 1968

    Note on the events at the Seminar of Red Cross Journals from Socialist Countries, held in Prague, 19-22 Nov. 1968. Cover note from Anton Moisescu, President of the Romanian Red Cross, to Nicolae Ceausescu, Secretary General, CC RCP.

    Note about the experiences of N. Palade, Chief Editor of the Romanian Red Cross journal "Sanatatea" at the Socialist bloc seminar of Red Cross journals. The information note discusses Czechoslovak reactions to the Soviet-led invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia and especially of Prague. Palade describes his reception by the Czechoslovak officials and the current attitude of the Czechoslovak population vis-à-vis the Soviet Union and the other East Bloc countries, describing the pessimism that seized the population after the August 1968 invasion.

  • December 16, 1968

    KGB report to Central Committee on Radio Liberty Policy guidelines

    The KGB informs the Central Committee of RL policy guidelines concerning programs dealing with the USSR. While the first paragraph indicates “Free Europe,” the content of the note makes clear that Radio Liberty is meant. The original memorandum on which the note was based [a copy could not be located in the RFE/RL archives for comparison] was probably taken from Radio Liberty headquarters in Munich.

  • March 29, 1969

    Report on Visit of Soviet Ambassador Stepan Chervenenko to Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry

    Conversation between Soviet Ambassador Chervenenko and Czechoslovak State Secretary Václav Pleskot. They discuss the recent Ice Hockey World Championship and the anti-Soviet political protests which took place following Czechoslovakia's defeat of the Soviet Union. Tensions were high following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and protesters in cities across Czechoslovakia attacked the offices of Aeroflot, the Soviet Army, and the Soviet embassy.

  • March 30, 1969

    Letter, Soviet Deputy Head of the Department of the Central Committee P. Ivanshutin, on Czechoslovak Protests following Czechoslovak-Soviet Hockey Game

    Letter describing anti-Soviet protests in Czechoslovakia following the defeat of the Soviets in the Ice Hockey World Championships.

  • March 31, 1969

    Czechoslovak Interior Minister Jan Pelnář, Report on Security Situation in Czechoslovakia on Night of 28-29 March 1969

    Detailed report prepared by the Czechoslovak Federal Ministry of Interior listing anti-Soviet protests that took place in the evening of March 28-29 following the defeat of the Soviets by the Czechoslovak national team at the hockey world championships in Stockholm.

  • April 01, 1969

    Record of Conversation, Czechoslovak Defense Minister Martin Dzúr and Soviet Defense Minister Andrei Grechko, Prague

    Top Czechoslovak and Soviet military officials discuss the recent anti-Soviet protests in Czechoslovakia following the following the defeat of the Soviets by the Czechoslovak national team at the hockey world championships in Stockholm. Defense Minister and Marshal of the Soviet Union andrei Grechko warned that Warsaw Pact troops would invade again if the Czechoslovak leadership could not contain the anti-Soviet protests.

  • April 01, 1969

    Minutes of the 18th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on the events of March 28 and 29, 1969

    The Czechoslovakia Executive Committee discusses the anti-Soviet protests of March 28-29 following the defeat of the Soviets by the Czechoslovak national team at the hockey world championships in Stockholm. Segments dealing with procedural or organizational matters and parts where the discussion repeats itself or digresses to other, unrelated issues have been omitted.

  • April 11, 1969

    Report to CPSU Central Committee on Visit of Czech Delegation to Discuss Countering Enemy Propaganda in Czechoslovakia

    This document indicates the continuing influence of German-language and other Western media in Czechoslovakia nine months after the Soviet invasion of August 1968. Czechoslovak officials criticized the heavy-handed Soviet broadcasts of Radio Vltava, and viewed other Soviet proposals to counter Western influence as counterproductive.

  • May 16, 1969

    Note Number 399 from Pierre Cerles to Michel Debré, 'China and Eastern Europe'

    Pierre Cerles provides an assessment of Chinese foreign policy toward Eastern Europe during the 1960s within the context of the Sino-Soviet split, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Cultural Revolution, and China's own internal leadership divisions.