Manage episode 246935974 series 2377952
"They may crush the flowers, but they can't stop the spring." -Alexander Dubcek, 1968
Hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered in the streets of Prague, Czechoslovakia, as the country's politburo finally decided there was nothing more they could do. Having witnessed change in Poland, East Germany, and Hungary already come to pass, they knew it was only a matter of time before they were next. In one swift action, the entire politburo resigned, deciding to rip the band aid off quickly, and without further harm. Across town, members of the opposition Civic Forum were in the midst of a press conference when news of the resignations reached them. The room erupted into cheers and applause, and one man even opened champaign in celebration
Alexander Dubcek, former General Secretary of Czechoslovakia, had tried 20 years prior to bring reform to the country. His efforts were crushed beneath the tracks of Soviet tanks, and he was allowed to retire back into obscurity. Now, on that late November evening, the people were once again chanting his name. As he stepped onto a balcony, he was overcome with emotion and unable to speak. Improvising and a massive smile on his face, Dubcek walked to the balcony rails and curled his arms slowly towards the crowd, effectively embracing the them. The Czech and Slovak people were all entwined in an embrace that night. Without a shot being fired, or a molotov flying, Czechoslovakia had become free.
Nad Tatrou sa blyska (Lightning Over the Tatras), Slovanian National Anthem
Kde domov muj(Where My Home Is), Czech National Anthem