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C. I.1.d. Czechoslovakia 1968-69

Studies of the Czechoslovak reform movement and resistance to Soviet occupation tend to focus on intellectuals and students. Workers only got involved late in the Prague Spring (partly because they had reason to worry about the impact of economic reforms). But the workers’ council movement, which developed from December 1968 to June 1969, was a significant assertion of autonomous worker power. There was also cooperation between workers and students, for example in a strike in November 1968 against the removal of Josef Smrkovsky as President of the National Assembly.

Fisera, Vladimir, Workers’Councils in Czechslovakia: Documents and Essays 1968-69, London, Alison and Busby, 1978, pp. 200

Golan, Galia, The Czechoslovak Reform Movement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1971, pp. 349

Starts with brief summary of period 1956-1962 and then analyses in detail developments both within the Party and in other social spheres up to 1968, including the role of dissent and public protest.  

Mlynář, Zdeněk, Night Frost in Prague: The End of Humane Socialism, London, Hurst, 1980, pp. 300

Account by Communist Party leader close to Dubcek of internal Party politics leading up to the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, personal account of the Kremlin ‘negotiations’ after the abduction of top leaders, and his resignation from the Party.

Skilling, Gordon, Czechoslovakia’s Interrupted Revolution, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1976, pp. 924

Especially chapters 21-22 (pp. 659-758). Charts the background to and evolution of the Prague Spring, international reactions to it and mounting Soviet and Warsaw Pact pressure, before outlining the August 1968 invasion and popular and official unarmed resistance to it. Skilling also discusses reasons for the gradual end to resistance and acceptance of the replacement of Dubcek by Husak.

Williams, Kieran, The Prague Spring and its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics 1968-1970, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, pp. 286

Windsor, Philip ; Roberts, Adam, Czechoslovakia 1968: Reform, Repression and Resistance, London, Chatto and Windus (for the Institute of Strategic Studies), 1969, pp. 200

The first half by Windsor explores the broad context and reasons for the Soviet invasion; Roberts (pp. 97-143) assesses the resistance drawing on the BBC monitoring service reports and interviews. Key documents relating to the invasion are included in appendices.