Description of the event

On January 5th, 1968 Aleksander Dub?ek becomes Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, in the place of the retiring premier Novotny. Immediately promotes a rapid and strong attenuation of the strict rules imposed by the placing in the Soviet sphere of influence. He makes this without ever putting under discussion the socialist ideology: writers and the intelligentzia persecuted are rehabilitated, the censure is strongly reduced and is elaborated a different idea of the Communist Party, on the ground of which are accepted minoritary currents at variance with the line of the majority. The social and institutional order is completely revised in a democratic way. The completion of this project (called “Socialism with a human face”) is given by the reaffirmation of the freedom of the press.
The political and intellectual fervour which is passing through Czech society in that period, called “the spring of Prague”, could not be indifferet to the USSR, unwilling to set aside the political line of the “limited sovereignity” in the countries of the “Warsaw Pact”. The Soviet leader Leonid Breznev doesn’t show himself willing to accept any minimal deflection from the social, political and economic model imposed by the USSR to his satellite states.
After several warnings and ammonitions, “Warsaw Pact”’s armoured divisions (without Roumanian troops) cross Czech borders, to impose with weapons the normalization. This happens after bloody encounters and demonstrations, most of all in Prague, where a young student called Jan Palak burns himself in the main square of the city.
The return of the normality is marked by the capture and transfer to Moscow of the Czech Prime Minister Dub?ek, replaced by Gustav Husák, who warrants a total alignment to the directives coming from Moscow. Dub?ek can re-enter the political scene only in 1989, after a pacific and bloodless revolution has overthrown the communist regime. He becomes immediately President of the Parliment, but dies three years later.