Europe

45 years ago, tanks arrived to Prague

Updated 12:12 PM ET, Wed August 21, 2013
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On August 21, 1968, the Soviet-led invasion by the Warsaw Pact armies crushed the so-called Prague Spring reform and reestablished totalitarian regime in former Czechoslovakia. AFP/Getty Images
100,000 soldiers from the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Bulgaria flooded the country overnight in 2300 tanks and 700 planes. AFP/Getty Images
Within weeks, the number of Warsaw Pact troops in Czechoslovakia rose to 750,000. Most of them stayed until after the 1989 revolution. AFP/Getty Images
Stood against the tanks were unarmed, shocked civilians. Emotional scenes and acts of resistance became common in Prague. AFP/Getty Images
The invasion aimed at stopping the liberalization of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Pictured here are Prague residents throwing burning torches in an attempt to stop one of the Soviet tanks in Prague. AFP/Getty Images
Prague residents hold a bloodstained Czechoslovak national flag. Around a hundred people died in confrontations with the troops and tanks. AFP/Getty Images
People listen to the radio for news about the invasion and the confrontations between demonstrators. The radio broadcast was cut off a few hours into the invasion. AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps the most successful Czech athlete, Emil Zatopek, was involved in the protests against the invasion. Here he is pictured addressing crowds in Prague. AFP/Getty Images
After the invasion, the reform government was forced out and a new, pro-Moscow cabinet was appointed. AFP/Getty Images
Shortly after the invasion began, the armies took control of the whole country and left scenes of destruction. Pictured here are the remains of barricades erected in Prague. AFP/Getty Images
A file photo dated August 31, 1968 of a man standing amidst the damages caused by the confrontations between demonstrators and the Warsaw Pact troops and tanks in Prague. The troops and tanks entered Prague on August 21, 1968 to crush the new found freedom and re-establish a totalitarian regime. AFP/Getty Images
Immediately after the invasion, an estimated 70,000 people fled the country. Eventually, over 300,000 people emigrated. Friends and family of some of the refugees are pictured here at the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. AFP/Getty Images
Hand-written messages asking the troops to return home were common sightings across the country. AFP/Getty Images