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The Boy Who Attacked A Tank

Written by: George Chittenden : 18 Jul 2019

This photo was taken in the summer of 1968 in the city of Prague, in Czechoslovakia, which is now the Czech Republic. In the photo we can see a Soviet soldier who is heavily armed chasing a young man who had just thrown a stone at a tank in an act of defiance. This image was captured during a period known as the Prague Spring, when the city faced some liberalisation. It was down to a man named Alexander Dubcek who became the first secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. He attempted to introduce huge changes to the country including autonomy for Slovakia, a revised constitution to guarantee civil rights, plans for the democratisation of the government and granting the press greater freedom of expression.

The changes were immediately apparent with young men growing their hair and young women wearing shorter skirts. In July Moscow had witnessed enough and demanded that he re-imposed strict communist control over his people. Eventually the Soviet Union rolled two-thousand tanks and half a million troops in with disastrous consequences. Eleven Soviet soldiers and seventy-two Czechoslovakian civilians were killed. Dubcek was quickly replaced with the pro-Soviet Gustav Husak.

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