Prague Spring

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What are the similarities between Czechoslovakia and Hungary?
They were both satellite states, had struggling economies, a decline in living standards and were run by the secret police which brutally crushed opposition.
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What made which communist party leader very unpopular?
Political repression + economic problems made Antonin Novotny (leader in 1957) unpopular
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Why did Novotny experience widespread opposition?
As when he did introduce change, it was slow and lesser to other soviet satellite states. Also, CZ began to experience economic stagnation which added to the country’s climate of disappointment. Calls for greater freedom.
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Who challenged Novotny’s leaderships?
Alexander Dubcek, leader of Slovakian Communist Party who invited Leonid Brezhnev (leader of USSR) to visit Prague. Following the visit Dubcek became the communist party leader on 5th January 1968 and thus the most powerful man in Czechoslovakia.
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Why was Dubcek a natural choice to lead Czechoslovakia?
As he was a committed communist who was on friendly terms with Leonid Brezhnev who took over the as leader of the USSR after the fall of Khrushchev in 1964?
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What did Dubcek want?
To get rid of the most repressive aspect of communist rule, reform the economy, allow more cultural freedom & hoped that this would revitalise CZ politics & the social life – popular form of communism (‘socialism with a human face’).
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What was the Prague Spring?
The phrase used to describe the liberal changes introduced by Dubcek from April 1968.
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What was Dubcek’s aim?
To allow ‘the widest possible democracy in the social and political life of Czechoslovakia’
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Who welcomed and took full advantage of the reforms?
Students, intellectuals, workers and younger members of the Czech communist party. Artists and writers i.e. Milan Kundra and Vaclav Havel wrote books, plays & essays critical of Soviet style Communism.
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Who were shocked by the Prague Spring?
Older Czechoslovakian Communists, Soviet premier Brezhnev and his allies across Eastern Europe.
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Why did the Prague Spring make things very difficult for Brezhnev?
He regarded Dubcek as a friend whom also hadn’t made an attempt to leave the Warsaw Pact or damage the USSR, but secret Soviet intelligence reports suggest that Dubcek’s reforms would lead to a weakening of Soviet control of Czechoslovakia and in the
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By late August 1968 Brezhnev had had enough and ordered a full scale invasion of the Czechoslovakia to overthrow Dubcek. Describe the lead up to this.
From April to July 1968 Brezhnev was in constant contact with Dubcek and attempted to persuade him that the reforms had gone too far, but Dubcek didn’t take the hint & took no action to control political opposition in CZ.
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What was the Brezhnev doctrine?
According to the doctrine the USSR had the right to invade any country in Eastern Europe whose actions appeared to threaten the security of the whole of the Eastern Bloc.
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How did Brezhnev justify his actions?
During August 1968 the Soviet media showed Czechoslovakia as a massive threat to the USSR. Brezhnev went further and put forward the Brezhnev doctrine. He argued that Dubcek’s actions threatened to undermine the Warsaw Pact and communist control in E
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What happened in October 1968?
All reforms reversed & temporary Soviet military occupation announced. Dubcek arrested & taken to Moscow where Brezhnev tearfully told him he had betrayed socialism.
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What was the Moscow Protocol?
Dubcek forced sign it which forced him to commit the Czech government to ‘protect socialism’ by reintroducing censorship & removing political opposition. Gradually, all Czech leaders were purged and the new leader, Gustav Husak, re-established a stro
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What was America’s reaction?
Publicly condemned the invasion but didn’t offer military support.
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How did Brezhnev know that America wouldn’t offer any military support?
As they had an unspoken deal that the USA wouldn’t intervene in Czechoslovakia as long as the USSR didn’t intervene in Vietnam.
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What was the reaction of Western Europe?
Condemned invasion but provided no military support. Italian + French communist parties outraged & formally declared themselves independent of Soviet Communist Party.
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What were the consequences of Western Europe’s reaction to the invasion by the USSR?
Rival forms of European Communism – Soviet communism in the East and Euro communism in the West. This showed that Soviet communism had lost authority and support as a result of the invasion.
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What was the Eastern European reaction?
Discontent in EE. Yugoslavian and Romanian governments condemned invasion & distanced themselves from the USSR, then formed alliances with China (world’s other major communist power) further dividing the communist world.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What made which communist party leader very unpopular?


Political repression + economic problems made Antonin Novotny (leader in 1957) unpopular

Card 3


Why did Novotny experience widespread opposition?


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Card 4


Who challenged Novotny’s leaderships?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Why was Dubcek a natural choice to lead Czechoslovakia?


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