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TOPIC: czechoslovakia

This Happened

This Happened — August 20: Warsaw Pact Troops Invade Czechoslovakia

The Soviet Union led Warsaw Pact troops in an invasion of Czechoslovakia on this day in 1968.

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Identity And Dissolution, A Czech Farewell To Milan Kundera

A week has passed since the passing of the Czech-born author of the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera in his Paris apartment. Having emigrated to France in 1975 after being ostracized for criticizing the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, his relationship with his homeland would remain complicated for decades.


PRAGUE — Milan Kundera's lifelong dream has finally been fulfilled. He disappeared behind his literary work, became invisible, and left in his wake only a shelf of beautifully crafted books that serve as the ideal portrait of the author — a portrait reflecting his journey, with Laughable Loves on one side and The Festival of Insignificance on the other.

Through novels like The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, through essays titled The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, Milan Kundera left behind half a century's worth of authorial work and a legacy unparalleled in modern Czech literature.

He left behind an extensive library, translated in some 50 languages. Perhaps only Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk — the most translated novel of Czech literature — tops this remarkable feat.

Born on April 1, 1929, in the Czech city of Brno, Milan Kundera, a resident of France since the age of 46 and a globally renowned author by the 1980s, possessed a remarkable ability beyond his evident literary talent: the ability to provoke.

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Should We Even Be Talking With Putin?

The leaders of key EU countries have been on the phone with Vladimir Putin since the war in Ukraine began. Weighing the costs, benefits...and morals...of leaving the door open to a man who brutally invaded a sovereign nation — and taking Munich 1938 as a starting point.

WARSAW— Should world leaders get on the phone with Vladimir Putin, who bears full responsibility for unleashing a criminal war? Why listen to demands from a man letting Russian soldiers in Ukraine commit murder, rape, pillage, bomb cities and destroy food supplies?

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There are many outraged voices, saying a hard and clear: No. France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Olaf Scholz, and Austria's Karl Nehammer are being accused of naivety, of trying to appease the dictator. It is as if the leaders had forgotten the Munich Conference of 1938, when the West threw Czechoslovakia at Hitler's mercy, are naively hoping to prevent war with the Third Reich.

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Stalin's Cursed Statue

It took more than five years to build Prague's gigantic Stalin Monument, which was eventually unveiled in 1955. And only seven years later: BOOM, the Soviets dynamited what they thought was an outrageous display of Stalin's cult of personality. We were lucky enough to see it in all its might when we went to then Czechoslovakia, just a couple of months before it was destroyed.