...Czechoslovakia 1968, from Helion & Co, via Casemate UK
Title: Operation Danube
Author: David Francois
Publisher: Helion & Company
Number 7 in the Europe @ War series, the Soviet and Warsaw Pact Intervention in Czechoslovakia, 1968. These are events I remember, but now given much better coverage with the story of events from the different points of view. A 72-page soft-cover book that tells the story of the events in Czechoslovakia back in 1968, amidst the context of the Cold War.
Spread across 7 sections, the Introduction leads us into Socialist Czechoslovakia, the Prague Spring, the Five Against Prague, the Road to Invasion, Invasion and finally, Normalisation. The Socialist movement in Czechoslovakia wanted a more relaxed form of the system, and clearly that did not go down well with Russia and their hold over the nations of the Warsaw Pact. There are tables listing the many units of the Czechoslovak armed forces, which formed a significant part of the Warsaw Pact itself. The politics are discussed, and the problems it posed to Russia and President Brezhnev. It led to an invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by an overwhelming combination of forces from Russia, Poland, Hungary and East Germany and faced with no military opposition which quickly took control. The strength of feeling they encountered was obvious, with strikes and peaceful opposition and this is all well described. It is illustrated throughout with plenty of archive images and, as usual with this series, a section of 8-pages of colour artwork, illustrating a good selection of Cold War Soviet ground vehicles, aircraft and uniforms.
Czechoslovakia was 'brought back into the fold' by force, but the whole affair had a major impact on the nations of Eastern Europe and the Warsaw Pact, and influenced the eventual breakup of the Eastern Bloc and the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. From my modellers viewpoint it has plenty of handy ideas and references, while the history and politics of the events I found to be really interesting reading, indicating a much wider impact than the news stories I remember from the time would have suggested.
Thanks to Helion & Co and the distributors, Casemate UK, for this review copy.