Prague, Czech Republic – The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR) has released an interactive map to shed some light on the victims of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, from August 1968 to August 1969.
The map, available here, provides an extensive overview of the first year of occupation following the crushing of the Prague Spring by troops led by the USSR. It details not only the identity, age and nationality of the victims, but also where they died and in which circumstances.
According to the co-creator of the map, historian Milan Bárta quoted by the Czech News Agency, while most victims died in larger cities during the first stage of the invasion, most of the later victims died in countryside traffic accidents as soldiers were forbidden from entering cities and Warsaw Pact troops were moving around Czechoslovakia.
Another co-author of the map, Vojtěch Ripka, highlighted that the project was designed to pay homage to the memory of the communist regime’s victims while opening up a space for an analytical view of the communist dictatorship of Czechoslovakia.
Out of the 148 victims of the invasion, most were men (123). A majority of victims were Czech (99 people), along with Slovaks (41) and four Hungarians. Roughly half of the them were aged under 30 (78 people).
While 34 people died during protests, car and road accidents accounted for 84 deaths. Fifty people are estimated to have been shot during the invasion.
Exactly 51 years ago, on the night of the 20-21 August 1968, Soviet-led troops from the Warsaw Pact (minus Romania and Albania) invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the so-called “Prague Spring”, a vast program of reform and liberalisation introduced by Alexander Dubcek in the Soviet satellite state.
If you’d like to check out this fascinating tool and learn more about the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, it’s right here!