photo: ČTK / Novák Tomáš
The armies of the five Eastern Bloc states crossed the Czechoslovak border just before midnight on August 20, 1968, and invaded the state without the knowledge of the then state authorities. In the first sequence, about 100,000 soldiers, 2,300 tanks and 700 aircraft entered the territory of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Gradually, the occupying army grew to 750,000 soldiers. The invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies thus essentially ended the so-called Prague Spring – an attempt by the Czechoslovak communists to establish “socialism with a human face”. A long normalization period then began in Czechoslovakia, which did not end until November 1989.
The stay of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia was legalized by the treaty of October 16, 1968. Two days later, the document was approved by the National Assembly, with 228 deputies voting for the treaty, ten abstaining and four voting against – František Kriegel, František Vodsloň, Gertruda Sekaninová-Čakrtová and Božena Fuková.
According to the treaty, “part of the Soviet troops remains temporarily on Czechoslovak territory in order to ensure the security of the countries of the socialist community from the growing revanchist efforts of West German militarist forces.”
At the end of the 1980s, Soviet troops were deployed in 67 garrisons in the Czech lands and 16 garrisons in Slovakia. The number of sites with separated units was even higher. Areas that were fully available to the Soviet army included the military training facilities Mimoň – Ralsko, Libavá, Boletice and Kežmarok. The headquarters were held by the so-called Central Group of Troops in the military area Milovice – Mladá near Prague.
After November 1989 and the fall of the communist regime, one of the first demands of the public was the departure of all Soviet troops. Although the first Soviet troops left Czechoslovakia in May 1989, at that time it was only a planned reduction in the number of USSR forces. The Soviet side first wanted to address the issue of withdrawing its troops as part of the European process, which was rejected by the Czechoslovak government of Prime Minister Marián Čalfa. As early as February 26, 1990, Foreign Ministers Jiří Dienstbier and Eduard Shevardnadze signed an agreement in Moscow on the withdrawal of troops.
At the end of February 1990, when the deportation began, there were 73,500 soldiers and almost 40,000 family members in Czechoslovakia. The combat arsenal consisted of, among other things, 1220 tanks, 2505 combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 1218 cannons and mortars, 76 combat aircraft and 146 combat helicopters.
The last transport with Soviet soldiers and equipment left the territory of the republic on June 21, 1991, and six days later the last Soviet soldier left the republic – the then commander, General Eduard Vorobjov.
In connection with the stay of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia, 296 people were killed and 577 seriously wounded. The total Czechoslovak receivables and requirements in connection with the entry, stay and departure of Soviet troops discussed by the Czechoslovak federal government were estimated at almost 14.8 billion crowns. The state has invested several billion crowns in the liquidation of ecological damage in the territory used by Soviet troops since 1991 and they are still not completed. The most busy localities after the Soviet army include Hradčany Airport in the Českolipsko region, the former military area of Milovice and Jánská in the Děčín region.
Source: Reflex.cz by www.reflex.cz.
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