Remembering the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia today, there is massive media coverage of the Warsaw Pact invasion of the then Czechoslovakia – at the time, being liberalised by Alexander Dubcek – on the night of 20/21 August 1968.

I remember the event very well. I was 20 at the time and becoming very interested in politics and current affairs. In Britain, it was a quiet news period and the invasion was covered extensively.

I have just given a short interview to Czech Radio about my recollections of the invasion. I was asked why there is so little coverage today in the British media (there is something in the “Guardian” and a bit on the BBC website).

I suggested that the British see the Czech Republic and Slovakia today as essentially democratic and members of both the EU and NATO, so that communist days in those countries no longer resonate. And, of course, we are currently obsessed with Brexit. But, for many Czechs and Slovaks, they remember the invasion with great sorrow and still harbour fears of Russian influence.

Also I think all of us need to appreciate that the struggle for democracy is never done, it is never over. It continues today – in the case of Central & Europe especially in countries such as Poland and Hungary, but also in the case of Western Europe and the United States with the growth of populist parties and movements.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>