Understanding the Prague Spring
On January 5, 1968, Alexander Dubček came to power in Communist Czechoslovakia, and began a series of reforms, later called the "Prague Spring." His new policies centered around the idea that Communism could be more liberal and responsive to the people, and achieved by increasing freedom of the press, emphasizing consumer goods, and the suggesting a multi-party government instead of a Communist dictatorship. On August 21, 1968, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia to end the liberal policies of the Dubček government. The following excerpt is from a CIA intelligence report, which laid out the basic causes of Dubček's rise to power, and discussed why the Warsaw Pact could effectively stop him. Though the Prague Spring of 1968 was a short-lived reaction against the Warsaw Pact, many of these preconditions for revolution against Communism would emerge again in the 1980s, especially following the Soviet disarmament policies in Eastern Europe.
Central Intelligence Agency, "Czechoslovakia: The Problem of Soviet Control," 16 January 1970, CIA CIA Library (accessed June 27, 2007).