Prague Spring

(1968) Brief period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia under Alexander Dubček.

In April 1968 he instituted agricultural and industrial reforms, a revised constitution to guarantee civil rights, autonomy for Slovakia, and democratization of the government and the Communist Party. By June, many Czechs were calling for more rapid progress toward real democracy. Although Dubček believed he could control the situation, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, alarmed by the threat of a social-democratic Czechoslovakia, invaded the country in August, deposed Dubček, and gradually restored control by reinstalling hard-line communists as leaders.

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 brief period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia under Alexander Dubček (Dubček, Alexander) in 1968. Soon after he became first secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party on Jan. 5, 1968, Dubček granted the press greater freedom of expression; he also rehabilitated victims of political purges during the Joseph Stalin (Stalin, Joseph) era. In April he promulgated a sweeping reform program that included autonomy for Slovakia, a revised constitution to guarantee civil rights and liberties, and plans for the democratization of the government. Dubček claimed that he was offering “socialism with a human face.” By June many Czechs were calling for more rapid progress toward real democracy. Although Dubček insisted that he could control the country's transformation, the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and other Warsaw Pact countries viewed the developments as tantamount to counterrevolution. On the evening of Aug. 20, Soviet armed forces invaded the country and quickly occupied it. As hard-line communists retook positions of power, the reforms were curtailed, and Dubček was deposed the following April. (See also Czechoslovak region, history of (Czechoslovak history).)

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Universalium. 2010.

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