Starting with a description of the history of Czechoslovakia and the communist takeover of power in 1948, this volume describes the birth and development of the Prague Spring in 1968 and an attempt to reform the communist system from within. It recounts the hostility this process encountered from the USSR and its allies within the Warsaw Pact, and the split in the Kremlin over solutions for the resulting ‘Czechoslovak problem’. The crisis that subsequently developed throughout the spring and summer of 1968 led to the military intervention. While paying special attention to the military and strategic aspects of the Czechoslovak crisis, this volume also provides a blow-by-blow account of its impacts upon the Czechoslovak armed forces and the Warsaw Pact. The subsequent military operation – codenamed Operation Danube – is described in all of its components, including the airborne and ground aspects, and the political operation that supported it. Within only 24 hours, the Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces secured the entire territory of Czechoslovakia, de-facto overrunning the local armed forces in the process. The Czechoslovak population organised non-violent resistance, thus highlighting the political aspects of the intervention. Guiding the reader meticulously through the details of the forces involved, their organisation and equipment, Operation Danube offers a uniquely in-depth account of the invasion of Czechoslovakia and is profusely illustrated with more than 100 photographs, maps, and exclusive colour artworks.
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