Updated:
Original:
Year
1968
Month Day
August 22

Czechs protest against Soviet invasion

In the streets of Prague and in the United Nations headquarters in New York City, Czechs protest against the Soviet invasion of their nation. The protests served to highlight the brutality of the Soviet action and to rally worldwide condemnation of the Soviet Union.

On August 21, 1968, more than 200,000 troops of the Warsaw Pact crossed into Czechoslovakia in response to democratic and free market reforms being instituted by Czech Communist Party General Secretary Alexander Dubcek. Negotiations between Dubcek and Soviet bloc leaders failed to convince the Czech leader to back away from his reformist platform. The military intervention on August 21 indicated that the Soviets believed that Dubcek was going too far and needed to be restrained. On August 22, thousands of Czechs gathered in central Prague to protest the Soviet action and demand the withdrawal of foreign troops. Although it was designed to be a peaceful protest, violence often flared and several protesters were killed on August 22 and in the days to come. At the United Nations, the Czech delegation passionately declared that the Soviet invasion was illegal and threatened the sovereignty of their nation. They called on the U.N.’s Security Council to take action. The Council voted 10 to 2 to condemn Russia’s invasion; predictably, the Soviet Union vetoed the resolution.

The 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia severely damaged the Soviet government’s reputation around the world, and even brought forth condemnation from communist parties in nations such as China and France. Nonetheless, Dubcek was pushed from power in April 1969 and the Czech Communist Party adopted a tough line toward any dissent. The “Prague Spring” of 1968, when hopes for reform bloomed, would serve as a symbol for the so-called “Velvet Revolution” of 1989. In that year, Czech dissidents were able to break the Communist Party’s stranglehold on their nation’s politics by electing Vaclav Havel, the first noncommunist president in 40 years.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Michael Collins assassinated

Irish revolutionary and Sinn Fein politician Michael Collins is killed in an ambush in west County Cork, Ireland. In the early part of the century, Collins joined Sinn Fein, an Irish political party dedicated to achieving independence for all Ireland. From its inception, the ...read more

U.S. wins first America’s Cup

On August 22, 1851, the U.S.-built schooner America bests a fleet of Britain’s finest ships in a race around England’s Isle of Wight. The ornate silver trophy won by the America was later donated to the New York Yacht Club on condition that it be forever placed in international ...read more

International Red Cross founded

The Geneva Convention of 1864 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field is adopted by 12 nations meeting in Geneva. The agreement, advocated by Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant, called for nonpartisan care to the sick and wounded in ...read more

Shootings at Ruby Ridge

In the second day of a standoff at Randy Weaver’s remote northern Idaho cabin atop Ruby Ridge, FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi wounds Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris, and then kills Weaver’s wife, Vicki. Randy Weaver, an alleged white supremacist, had been targeted by the federal ...read more

Battle of Bosworth Field

In the last major battle of the War of the Roses, King Richard III is defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor, the earl of Richmond. After the battle, the royal crown, which Richard had worn into the fray, was picked out of a bush and placed on Henry’s ...read more

Nolan Ryan registers 5,000th strikeout

On August 22, 1989, Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers becomes the first pitcher in major league history to register 5,000 career strikeouts. Ryan would go on to rack up a total of 5,714 strikeouts, over 1,500 more than his closest competition. Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. was born January ...read more

Lincoln replies to Horace Greeley

President Abraham Lincoln writes a carefully worded letter in response to an abolitionist editorial by Horace Greeley, the editor of the influential New York Tribune, and hints at a change in his policy concerning slavery. From the outset of the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed the ...read more

Redcoats land at Long Island

On August 22, 1776, the British arrive at Long Island, between Gravesend and New Utrecht, with “near twenty four thousand men ready to land in a moment,” according to one observer. General William Howe’s large army came to Long Island hoping to capture New York City and gain ...read more

Romania captured by the Soviet Union

On August 22, 1944, Soviet forces break through to Jassy, in northeastern Romania, convincing Romania’s king to sign an armistice with the Allies and concede control of his country to the USSR. As early as 1937, Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore ...read more