Superpower relations and the Cold War - The Prague Spring

  • Created by: MC
  • Created on: 22-11-18 21:53

The Prague Spring

In 1968, discontent within the Soviet Eastern Bloc stirred again. Czechoslovakia wanted more freedom from Moscow, and decided to move away from Soviet influence in a rebellion known as 'the Prague Spring'.

There was opposition to Soviet Control in Czechoslovakia

Tension had been building in Czechoslovakia. It had become a communist state in 1948 and its policies were heavily influenced by USSR.

It was a member of the Warsaw Pact, which discouraged trade with countries outside the Eastern Bloc and promoted Soviet-style communism. Soviet policies such as collectivisation and centralisiation slowed economic progress in Czechoslovakia.

There was growing discontent about the extent of external control over Czechoslovakian affairs. In 1956, students and writers protested at the lack of free speech and free movement in the country.

Dubcek wanted to move away from Soviet policies

In January 1968, Alexander Dubcek became the leader of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. Dubcek wanted Czechoslovakia to follow its own version of communism.

In April 1968, he introduced a series of reforms that went against Soviet-style communism.

Dubcek's reforms:

- Travel to the West was made available for all

- The border with West Germany was re-opened.

- All industry became decentralised. Decentralisation meant that companies were no longer controlled by communist party officials - workers and local authorities were given more power.

- Trade unions and workers were given more power.

- Freedom of speech and opposition parties were allowed.

Many of the reforms were aimed at improving th performance of Czechoslovakia's economy - partly by developing closer relations with the West.

This worried USSR - it didnt want any Western involvement in its Eastern Bloc.

Even though some reforms moved away from Soviet policy, Dubcek was still a communist. He promised that Czechoslovakia would stay in the Warsaw Pact and remain a loyal ally to Moscow.

For four months, Dubcek's new policies were tolerated by USSR, and Czechoslovakia enjoyed relative freedom. This period is known as the 'Prague Spring'

USSR was under pressure to intervene

USSR grew increasingly concerned about


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