1968: Prague Spring II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: One of the problems with Communism from the beginning was this insistence of the founders on a single party state. This hybrid can never produce real democracy. The absence of political competition produced a deficit of freedom, economic inefficiency, and corruption.

In April of 1968, Alexander Dubcek, leader of the Czech Communist Party, tried something different, something new, and ultimately, for Czechoslovakia, something disastrous. His program included opposition political parties, greater intra-party democracy, more autonomy for parliament, the right of assembly and association, freedom from secret police, and freedom of the press.

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1968: Prague Spring I

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: Long-suppressed aspirations for democracy in Czechoslovakia opened the way to an experiment - “socialism with a human face.” Elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, however, there was growing concern that the Czechs departure from party orthodoxy might threaten the foundations of the entire enterprise.

On January 5th, 1968, there came to power in Prague a most extraordinary individual. Alexander Dubcek was part of the Communist inner circle. Raised in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, he returned to Czechoslovakia in 1938 and was part of the Czech underground struggle against the Nazis during World War II. His loyal service to the Party was rewarded in 1962 when he became a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee.

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