The USSR and the Warsaw Pact are now history. It all collapsed at the end of 1991. In other words, most people younger than 35 have no emotional involvement with what we grew up with. They’ve probably never heard of the Berlin Wall or the 1956 Hungarian revolution or the atrocities of communism. Prague is now the capital of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is another country. It all seems like a past so long ago.
Some of us are old enough to remember this week when 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring.”
My father had a friend from Prague who escaped a few months later. He was often at our home listening to news reports on my dad's Telefunken short-wave radio. That's what we used to do before the internet and cable news.
The invasion was a dark day for freedom. Like the Hungarians in 1956, the people of Czechoslovakia were given a taste of Soviet “tolerance.” The “Prague Spring” was all about freedom and reforms, but the Kremlin did not accept it and sent the tanks in.
A sad day for those of us who were watching from the West, especially when Fidel Castro defended the USSR by saying among many things that the country was “….heading toward a counter-revolutionary situation, toward capitalism and into the arms of imperialism.”
We remember today all the people who stood up to Soviet tanks in Prague. And all the other victims of communism.