( . . .and there went Prague Spring for the next 30 years)
It was a only matter of time. The writing had been on the wall for months. The experiment got out of hand. Communism With A Human Face retreated back to the closet. And Alexander Dubcek, the architect of Prague Spring would be removed from office. On August 20, 1968, the Soviets, along with East Germans and other Warsaw Pact allies, massed troops and tanks on the Czechoslovak border and headed towards Prague.
When the first news broke via Radio Prague, the White House was alerted and President Johnson called an emergency cabinet meeting to figure out what was going on.
The recording here from the first few hours recaps much of the happenings earlier in the evening, including the interruption of an evening session of Democratic Platform hearings with Dean Rusk, chaired by Hale Boggs as the story unfolded and reports kept coming in.
Hale Boggs: “We have here a bulletin which has just been handed to me by the Press from Czechoslovakia saying that Radio Prague announced Wednesday that Soviet troops have crossed the Czechoslovak borders. The broadcast asked Czechoslovak citizens not to take any action against them. The broadcast came at 2 a.m. over the direct network of Radio Prague. There was unusual activity at the airport which justified as apparently a landing”
As the hours drifted into days, it was very clear what the end result was going to be.