Archive for November 2019

“You Can’t Stop the Spring”: The Velvet Revolution

November 25, 2019 @ 10:00 am

"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.

Music:

Nad Tatrou sa blyska (Lightning Over the Tatras), Slovanian National Anthem 

Kde domov muj(Where My Home Is), Czech National Anthem

Filed under Political History, Military History, European, Cold War ·

Edifice of Fear: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 9, 2019 @ 10:00 am

The Iron Curtain across Europe Winston Churchill described was metaphorical rather than physical, at least at the time he made his famous speech. The divide between East and West had become an ideological conflict, Capitalism versus Communism. The defeated Germany was occupied by the Allies of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, Germany was organized into two states, the Federal Republic of Germany in the west, and the German Democratic Republic in the east. Along with this, Berlin found itself two separate entities.

Millions of people fled west to avoid falling under the brutal suppression the Soviets had become known for. This resulted in nearly 20% of the GDR's population falling, which included a large number of the country's intellectual population. It was soon clear to the politburo this could not continued. Seemingly overnight in August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected. With it, the Iron Curtain had a physical representation.

Intro:

Sinews of Peace, Winston Churchill

Outro:

Looking for Freedom, David Hasselhoff

Filed under Pan Historia, Political History, Military History, European, Cold War ·

Pan Historia, and Other Nonsense
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