And then, on the night of 20/21 August the Prague Spring is crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion: 200,000 Communist troops, mostly Soviet but also Polish and East German, flood the country. The resulting protests and rallies against the invasion, mostly by young people, are violent and bloody. Hundreds die in clashes; self-immolation, in public and before the eyes of the world, brings home the horror and the depth of feeling in the Czech people.
It is the end of the Prague Spring, the reformation of Czechoslovakia having ended in ruins. But despite the brutal crushing of Czech hopes and dreams, the events of 1968 lay the foundations for future change. It will take another two decades but it is, ultimately, where the unraveling of the Communist bloc begins.