Exhibition of unique pictures of 1969 Brno protests

25. 8. 2009 0:25
The massive protest against Soviet occupation of Czech lands was dispersed by Czechoslovakia's police, army and armed citizens
Příslušník VB odvádí zadrženého demonstranta
Příslušník VB odvádí zadrženého demonstranta | Foto: Moravské zemské muzeum Brno

Brno - It was not only Prague that saw street protests against the Soviet-led Warsaw troops invading Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968.

Twenty years ago on August 21, 1969 numerous inhabitants of Brno took to the streets to protest against the Soviet occupation that had happened exactly one year ago.

The two-day demonstration was dispersed by Czechoslovak army, police and "paramilitary" forces consisting of armed citizens. During the protests two people were killed and hundreds were injured.

This day is generally perceived as the beginning of the normalization era.

Dubček as the face of 1968 stormy events

The 1968 year's turbulent events are linked above all to one name - Alexandr Dubček, Slovak-born politician who spearheaded the reform process of Czechoslovakia's socialism.

Dubček attempted to liberalize the socialist system, giving it a so called "human face", which eventually made the Soviet Union to interefere.

He remained popular among Czechoslovaks long after he was forcedly removed from power by the proponents of the newly introduced pro-Soviet regime, popularly known as the "normalization era".

"The standpoint of the (Communist party) leadership is such that anyone who dares to actively oppose the party in the streets or something like that, we will mercilessly break apart under all circumstances," said Gustav Husák who soon replaced Alexander Dubček at that time.

Now, the exhibition of unique photographs featuring the heady days of the Brno, Prague and Liberec 1969 protests against the Soviets' presence in the country has opened. The exhibition also shows film footage shot by the Communist Secret Police themselves.

Alexander Dubček had a sincere intention - to reform Czechoslovakia's socialism
Alexander Dubček had a sincere intention - to reform Czechoslovakia's socialism | Foto: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny

"The Brno events were the last moment of Prague Spring (= reform process of Czechoslovakia's socialism), signaling the arrival of the era of normalization," said one of the authors of the exhibition, Milan Bárta of the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes.

The exhibition was organized by the Institute for Study of Totalitarian Regimes as well as by the Security Forces Archive and Moravian Museum.


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