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Where Were You When… The Troops of the Warsaw Pact Invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968?

Demonstrators swaying Czech flag rush past a burning Russian tank in front of the building housing Radio Prague, during the continuing protests against the Soviet invasion of their country, August 21, 1968. (Foto: CreativeCommons/CIA)

Reconsidering the past, young Europeans asked people on the streets of Prague: Where were you when the troops of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968?

How Do You Remember That Day? 

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Jaromir Maděryč in Prague (photo: private).

Jaromir Maděryč, 63 years old, Moravia (Czech Republic)

„We were just unpleased of communistic politics, because we didn’t know these before. Our system was better before the Second World War (as my parents told me); so all of us wanted to reset it. We missed it. We wanted to be free. People reacted differently: I, for example, as a young 15 years old-boy, tried to stop Polish tanks, which had entered Czechoslovakia. But of course I didn’t succeed…”


Anonymous, 70 years old, Germany (studied in Czechoslovakia)

„At that time, I thought that nothing would change. It is always like this in history. Powerful states occupy smaller countries. As before the Germans occupied the Czech Republic in Second World War and the Russians – our so-called ‘friends’ – then. (…) In 1968 I was living in Thuringia. Reading the first issues of newspapers, I was not able to find much information on these events. I didn’t know, what was going on.”


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Eric Baucum – in 1968 living on the other side of the iron curtain (photo: private).

Eric Baucum, 54 years old, California (US)

„We were only kids, we were young. But I remember some media coverage. I mean, the US was in the Cold War with Russia. The Czech Spring was actually more positive recognized in the US that time.

We certainly wouldn’t have travelled. I mean, I’d never thought of coming to this part of the world when we knew the Russians were moving forward. It was not necessary, but it was just a fear of being there, when this was happening.”





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In retrospective the events in August 1968 have been frightening to Edward Salhacek (photo: private).

Edward Salhacek, 71 years old, California (US)

„I remember, that the Russians were unquestionably moving forward and trying to strengthen their power over the countries or groups of people. So they have been very aggressive. We became increasingly scared of what could happen to us. In fact, nothing would happen, but as a young person I tought about things that might happen to us, if they were so aggressive. We saw them as the enemy.”





Alexander, 67 years old, United Kingdom (England)

“I had just moved to London for studying when Prague was occupied. I was about 23, quite young. Radio and newspaper were the most important media at these days. Everybody talked about the reaction of the Czechs and the revolution, they transmitted their strength to all Europe.”