After Warsaw Pact troops suppressed the “Prague Spring” in a military
intervention that began in the late evening hours of August 20, 1968,
the East German leadership announced to the public that the National
People’s Army [Nationale Volksarmee
or NVA] had participated in this action alongside Soviet, Hungarian,
Polish, and Bulgarian troops. But the two NVA divisions mentioned by the
government had not actually taken part; rather, the NVA’s task had been
to provide logistical support—only a few small units had crossed the
border. The poster shown here, which was photographed on August 21,
1968, expresses the contemporary Czechoslovak response to the invasion:
“German soldiers go home and liquidate Ulbricht, who is a new Hitler!
Your people do not agree with your actions!” Many Czechoslovaks were
uncomfortably reminded of the German occupation and subsequent
destruction of Czechoslovakia in 1938/39. The invasion prompted protests
and displays of solidarity in the GDR, as well. These protests, however,
remained isolated, singular events.